After our five-year struggle with infertility, my husband and I never thought that the next five years would have brought us four baby girls.
I remember when my fourth baby was brand-new. I can still see myself standing in the kitchen, with four children simultaneously crying. I can’t be certain, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that one child was hungry, one was thirsty, one had spilled something, and one had fallen off their chair. My thoughts started going where they had many times before:
“My life is so hard.”
“I need a break.”
“Everyone is demanding something and I don’t have enough to give!”
Thankfully in this instance, I had a realization that I was…over-exaggerating. All of those things were true, but somehow I had gotten in the habit of putting these blanket statements on tough moments. I had clarity that the times when all four of them (five of us) were physically needy and emotionally vulnerable were truly momentary, and fleeting.
I challenged myself to change the playlist in my mind. Instead of, “This is impossible and I’m in total despair!”, I would mentally repeat: “This is a tough five minutes; it will pass”, or “In five minutes, everyone will be fed, calm, content, etc.”
As minor as this likely sounds, it changed that first year for me! I was able to define what parenting was for me, not just in the instances where I was previously summing it all up by throwing my hands in the air. I was now able to call it what it fully is. I stopped thinking about it exclusively in times of exasperation.
Lately I have noticed my girls saying things like, “You never let us…” Or “We always have to…” It can be a day where we have done seven or eight identifiable activities, and they will still say, “We never get to do anything”. These declarations are almost laughable, because they are so narrow-minded and melodramatic. See where I’m going here? Added to my list, number 892, things I want to teach and model to my children, is the idea that we identify the situation for what it is, or how we feel, and we don’t believe these excessive thoughts. Because that would be like, the worst thing ever!!