I am relieved that all of this isn't new anymore.
I remember when I only had Clark and every bad day hit me like a wave. I worried so much about doing things "right" that day or week or month, because I thought, back then, that doing things "right" meant that I could be one of those "good moms". Every teensy decision was fact-checked, worried over, and eventually swallowed. Part of this was due to insecurity over my young age (23), and part of it was just new-mom jitters. Someone out there knew if I was doing a "good" job, I was sure of it, and the answer was probably tucked into the pediatrician's file folder.
Now that I have parented through a few stages I can say with total certainty that whether or not I am intentionally striving for balance, balance will always find me. The days my kids eat all organic and play hard and sleep hard and use their brains and grow and shine (good mom!) will be balanced out, whether I like it or not, by plenty of processed junk and television and tantrums (bad mom!). And the housework! There are stretches where I somehow swoop in and keep my house perfectly clean, each and every day, for weeks or months at a time. There are also days (weeks, months) where the thought of plugging in the vacuum cleaner or folding and putting away a single basket of clothes makes me want to throw something.
The thing I try to tell myself, whether things are up or down: the bad days don't mean I'm bad and the good days don't mean I'm good. I'm just here, loving my kids as hard as I can and giving this crazy mom-ing thing my all. On the days it is easy AND on the days it makes me want to throw things. Things will get easier and things will get harder. My job is to do my best.
The other morning I tried to nap with my kids. "Let mommy close her eyes for just ten minutes," I begged. I turned on cartoons and tucked them in next to me with sippy cups and shut my eyes. Fifteen minutes later I woke up (I had been sleeping so hard I was dreaming) to find the kids cracking eggs in my bed. Go ahead and read that sentence again. THEY HAD A CARTON OF EGGS. IN MY BED. THEY WERE CRACKING THEM OPEN. IN MY BED. My brain went blank with frustration. Cue the wanting to throw things feeling. I couldn't help wondering how other moms would handle a situation like that? But I had to shrug the question away and just do what I thought was right. No one can prepare you for this stuff. No one has the same kids, husband, life, personality, etc. etc. No one can do this for me, tell me how to do it, or grade me. So I just did what I thought was right.
These (crazy wonderful smart persistent) little people of mine aren't good or bad either. They are little people. We work through a lot of human nature mixed with some patience and some impatience and good choices and bad choices and loads of amazing breathtaking personality. There are some things that work for us and some things that don't, and it takes a whole lot of needle-in-a-haystack-gut-trusting-straw-grabbing experimentation to separate the two.
I do not feel ready to have this third baby.
I am standing right on the edge and shaking my head, laughing at the idea of jumping off.
I keep thinking, if only I had six more months, but I do not have six more months.
I am 38 weeks pregnant. I may not have six more days.
I think I am writing this post so I can read it next month when life is crazy and my house is not as clean as it is right now and feel reassured.
And maybe (hopefully) it can reassure some of you too.