Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Living the Dream

I have four kids. This is what I always wanted to do and I'm loving it. In my rose-tinted version of this dream I didn't notice the crumbs on the floor or the challenge of getting enough food and sleep. It's definitely a challenging dream to live out, but I'm determined to make it work...and to be happy about it too!

[Excuse me a minute while I nurse the baby and tell the kids to stop playing with the cooking utensils.]

That's not to say there's no frustration or tears. [Why are there utensils all over the floor and I did not say you could get out 15 blankets to make a tent in the kitchen!] Right now, for example, I have (another) breast infection. At least my cracked nipples are healing, finally. No, I'm certainly not happy all the time, but times like these pass. [Sorry, kids, for yelling at you when you still didn't clean up your toys. Forgive me?] I prefer to focus on remembering those first milk-drunk smiles (even if they are at three in the morning). I may be laying on the couch pretty much in misery, but what I will remember is the two-year-old's concern ("C-ying, Mommy?") and the three-year-old's sympathetic hug.

My #1 priority is to coordinate naps and quiet time so I can sleep!

Folding laundry is pretty far down on the priority list,
but the other day I did get it done!
Stephen helped.

Three weeks old!

With my other babies I loved have the newborn excuse for laying around and letting housework and other responsibilities slide. But this whole past year I have really enjoyed the order and peace of clean counters and sparkling sinks. I was having fun doing "schoolish-type activities" with the kids. Eli and I had been going for walks together in the morning before the kids woke up (thanks to live-in babysitters!). I really want to get back to all these wonderful little day to day routines!

But between nursing for about six hours a day and trying for eight hours of sleep, oh yeah, and getting food for the other hungry people here besides myself, it's an accomplishment to get everyone dressed, keep them clean and make sure they have clothes to wear. And every time I think I'm feeling good and up to tackling something like school or writing the birth story, I go down with a breast infection...or the kids wake up too early and we learn about good attitudes instead of numbers and colors.

So in the midst of the feedings and the diapers and the naps and the meals and the messes, I'm determining to be happy, because I'd rather be happy than miserable. Every time he smiles in his sleep I tell myself that I love my life. When I catch him staring at me from the crook of my arm, I rejoice. When attitudes explode in the play area, I remind myself that educating their minds can wait, but training their souls will not. It's a great story I'm living, Praise the Lord for choosing me to be in it!

The baby is done nursing now (multi-tasking is the mother's secret for getting anything done) and I hear pans clattering in the kitchen. Somehow I don't think the kids are cooking lunch.


  1. Love the book & baby pics! :)

    I know perfectly well you're not radiant and positive ALL the time, but your family does radiate joy. Probably because *choose* joy. You remind me very much of my best friend Lorna when she had 4 kids in a one bedroom apartment. She chose joy, too, and it will be worth it, really. Did you see the latest Femina post? Probably apropos of you right now:

  2. Well, looky, here the next-newest one is pretty good too!


  3. Beautiful post, Amanda. So true: "When attitudes explode in the play area, I remind myself that educating their minds can wait, but training their souls will not."

  4. He's adorable. I love the book pics too!

  5. I remember when I had just had Ava and I was overwhelmed with 2 other toddlers and I crumbled to the kitchen floor and cried. My two little ones came running in and covered me with hugs and kisses. Suddenly, I felt much better and remembered my priorities were them and not the dishes.

    Love the pictures too!

  6. Thank you for this! Even with my fourth being 5 months old now I still find myself at this place most days. Remembering that it's a better choice to choose my kids rather than the dishes is my goal. I LOVE the pictures!