Thursday, June 17, 2010

And Then There Were Three, But Still Just One Me

Two weeks ago, three days late, after 5 hours of labor, I officially became a mother of three. My daughter finally arrived. Officially a girl, little Stella is beautiful and quite simply perfect for us.
I've done the labor thing twice before and that was pretty much the same as the others, just a little faster. But seeing that little girl...I felt overwhelmed by immediate love and devotion. I loved my boys when they came out but I think with each child I have felt more aware of how amazing my children are, or will be, that seeing her reminded me that I get to love and be loved by another amazing child. I am so blessed.

...And then I came home from the hospital to the very challenging reality that, oh Dear Lord, I have three children that I have to take care the same time. My parents were here to help the first few weeks which was great. I had help with the boys so that I could take a nap and sleep in. I could take Aiden to his first swim lesson 5 days after giving birth. I could maintain a reasonably clean house, which I really enjoy. I could function without losing my mind over the smallest little thing, more or less...there was one rest time where I lost it and took away about half of my kids toys while screaming at them.

Then Friday morning they left me. After days of deteriorating behavior from both boys, my parents rapidly packed up, fueled up, and got the hell away from the ridiculous situation my reproduction has created here. The days before their departure involved Aiden spitting at my Mother, Cole peeing all over himself and the floor while screaming about not having to go to the bathroom, Aiden kicking me and my father, Cole pooping in his underwear and then running around the house while small bits of feces dropped on to my no longer reasonably clean floor. Pretty much anything can send either boy into a fit of screams and irrational behavior that made me feel like I should just abandon any discipline attempts, take the Flip out and start filming for my Nanny 911 audition tape. Clearly there is a serious situation going on here and we are going to need professional help.

I hear that the older children acting out after the birth of a baby is normal. I feel zero comfort from this alleged normality, I feel like a failure as a mother. I feel overwhelmed by even the possibility of being left alone with all three of them. I feel like blaming some of this on my husband but I hadn't quite figured out how to articulate an accusation toward him that made him responsible for this nightmare (other than him being the one that helped to create these currently horribly behaved human beings.)

I feel badly about how my kids are acting, but my anxiety over my children's poor behavior was amplified by my parents' presence, feeling like their judgement over each move I did or did not make was being carefully recorded in their heads for future discussions when my first child is thrown in juvenile detention a few years down the road due to my poor parenting and I am forced to ask my parents for a loan for a good lawyer. I was so embarrassed to have my parents see their grandsons act out so horribly. I am tired, overly emotional and terrified that these boys are going to make having three kids impossible if I had any plans of maintaining sanity and any joy in my life. I'm going to have to sell a child...and I am going to pretend that it would be difficult to choose which one because the fact that I immediately know which child makes me feel like an even worse mother.

So now they are gone. I am alone with all three and I'm surviving...some moments I excuse myself to the bathroom to cry for a few moments from frustration, but surviving. The thing is, the baby isn't a problem at all. She eats, she sleeps, she poops (and never on the floor) and makes little baby noises...all very manageable. But her, on top of the two boys makes things rough. She wants to eat ever 2-3 hours during the day and me sitting down to nurse her is a clear sign to the boys that I am trapped and it would be a good time for them to decide to attack one another, draw marker all over the house or eat as many packs of fruit snacks as they can physically handle before I can move again.

We've been to swim lessons, twice to the pool, twice to the park and yes people....the grocery store, without any problems. I'm apparently an amazing Mom, despite my fear of the boys. It turns out I can handle all three, with the help of a periodic bribe and a few tears from all of us. I have had to implement a zero tolerance policy for any whining, tantrums, fighting, etc. in order to function, which is possibly making things more difficult right now but we're working on things. I have hope for the future. I think I may be able to keep all three alive, and possibly even some day give them a happy childhood. For right now, I am working on, praying for a little grace to not lose my mind every time one of my kids does the slightest thing wrong. It is really challenging, very overwhelming, but I keep telling myself....I am in charge. I am in charge. I am in charge. Someday soon I hope I believe it.

1 comment:

Grandma W said...

Sounds pretty normal to me as I am the mother of four children in less than 5 years. Yes it is normal after the birth of another child and the naughty behavior will subside when they feel they can no longer get a reaction from mom or dad. My husband was either in the Navy and gone all the time, or working for the government and gone all the time. My parents felt they had done their share after having five children so I pretty much all alone to cry in the bathroom. i ALWAYS found a little peace and quiet and to this day "still do". Once you get to feeling stronger and your hormones all fall back into place you will enjoy your children more and be less stressed. I'll pray this happens soon for you. Love your cousin, Janet