9.13.2011

in a straight line

I know I should have updated on school but I didn't want to because it wasn't that great of an update.  Clark was crying a lot when I dropped him off.  Banging on the window, screaming his head off, the whole bit.  That never ever happened last year.  It caught me off guard.  I think it is getting better though.  I hope it is getting better.

I know I don't write as much as I used to.  Or as much as I could.  I appreciate that a lot of you stick around anyway.  It's dumb.  I'm happier when I'm writing here.

You know that feeling when you are driving over a bridge and you take ahold of your entire self and freeze it into place with the one goal of not driving off the side?  Don't you always get to the top and start thinking, damn, I should really google the statistics on how many people accidentally drive off the side.  It is probably a lot.  This has to be a thing that happens.  I mean, how do all of these people exercise self control appropriately and continue driving in a straight line?

I feel like that about being a mom too.  Like, being a mom is like driving.  Stick with me.  I feel like I am driving, all the time.  At night when the kids are in bed I am still aware, always on edge. I don't want to drive off the side.  Always double checking and double checking.  I sleep, but only kinda.  I wake up if someone cries seemingly BEFORE THEY EVEN CRY, that is how fast I respond.  When they are awake it never stops.  It is "do not drive off the edge, do not drive off the edge, do not drive off the edge, just keep going in a straight line" all day and every day.  I don't take a break or a nap or a shower or lunch.  I don't because I can't.

And then I think, wait, HOW are other people doing this?  How?  How do they take care of their kids and make three meals and snacks and get the food and keep the bathroom from reeking of poorly aimed urine and change all those diapers and do laundry and keep it from being wrinkled and put it away and vacuum and hands-and-knees clean the ten feet surrounding the high chair that are covered in food bits?  How do they all just keep going, straight ahead, and then... write?  They write too?  They write on their blog, like, a lot?  And tweet?  And chit-chat blah blah networknetwork here are my photos and googles and tumbles!  How on Earth.  I just don't even.  I don't know. 


Maybe it is that my kids are so close in age.  Three kids in 3.5 years is, uh, challenging.  Maybe I have too high of standards.  Maybe my house is too small and our budget is kinda tight.  Or maybe it is just like this for everyone, no matter.  Is it?  Is it like this for you?

45 comments:

  1. Dude.
    I just got a DOG and I am thinking the same way.
    I don't know how you do it; you have actual people, times freaking three.
    Know that you give me strength and that your hard work is a model for my someday-parenting life.

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  2. i'm the wrong one to ask. i only have two. i've showered twice in the last eight days. i just ate ice cream for dinner. at nine.
    yep. wrong one to ask.

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  3. i have blogged, like, 12 times this year or something...and i have high standards for my house, laundry sitting in baskets, toys on the floor, dirty dishes in the sink, a small budget, house, etc. in other words, you are not alone.

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  4. I swerve all over the road. And I crash on a regular basis. It helps that the kids are getting old enough to take the wheel sometimes.

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  5. I seriously hate driving over bridges over water. It's my worst fear, going over the edge. Yipes.

    Oh, my friend. You are so tired. I wish I could help you in some way with this. Just please let yourself take a break when you can.

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  6. Um, I haven't updated my blog in like two months and I totally don't intend to do so any time soon. I stopped using twitter, and I only use facebook to share my pictures of the kids. I just can't do it all, and I'm not sure I want to. Life is long. I mean, I know, technically when you're looking back it seems short, but when you're looking forward it's kind of long. The way I figure it, I can raise my kids and then when they're all in school I'll ease back into writing. Don't get me wrong, I squeeze some in whenever I can, but it's not blog writing. And the house, well, I've learned to be happy if I can at least get one thing done a day (dishes, 1 load of laundry from start to finish, 1 bathroom, etc.).

    So no. I don't think anyone really "does" it. And those that do are probably slacking in some area of their lives.

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  7. My house isn't clean. That's how I do it.

    This is my escape. And honestly, I escape WAAAAY too often. But, that is the honest truth.

    I have dishes in the sink, I have floors that really should be vacuumed and mopped. I have laundry to wash and fold and put away.

    Now, I do not neglect my family or my home. I just prioritize ;) It all gets done, but not everyday. I do a lot of my writing after the kids are in bed, or in the morning while they are having breakfast (the little one, the big ones are at school).

    Oh and school...I am sorry Clark is having a hard time. There is nothing worse on a Mama's heart.

    xoxo

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  8. Oh lady, yes. It goes in fits and spurts for me. Like my car on the bridge is totally at a stop sometimes (and then I'm just ALL OVER THE PLACE and NOT keeping up with my house, ETC)

    For some weeks, I don't tweet or FB or hardly post and then something in me NEEDS that connection and I'm back to trying to do that stuff in any spare moment I have...which are usually moments measured in seconds.

    The other thing is, I have help. Just about six hours a week, but still! That's when I type stuff the most. And that person? she does laundry and stuff so if I get behind, yeah...I know I'm very very lucky and I'm very very grateful.

    What I love about your writing is that it seems SO freely written. All the time. And it's still AMAZING, the way you seem to just WRITE it and it comes out so poetically.

    Motherhood=so freaking hard. I'm just like you. Awake and on edge and trying not to go off the edge. (Which makes me sound like I'm talking about going crazy...and maybe I am)

    Love you.

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  9. I read a post that made me laugh so hard:

    A reader had asked a blogger how she did it: worked as a nurse, had 3 teens, and posted every day.

    She answered in a wordless wednesday with this:

    a photo of a blackened toilet.

    It was so funny.

    Heads up, girl: I am barely keeping abreast of the waves myself.

    FInd those like you, and laugh about it.

    Yeah, my house is a mess, but I remember to laugh.

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  10. Hi Erin, this is my first time here at your blog and it is the perfect post for me to see. I have been working on a post this week about all the things I do and how I stay a little sane on certain days. I often, more often than not, feel the exact same way you do, I know that my poor mind never ever gets the rest it needs. When I blog and tweet and network and blah blah blah, 9 out of 10 times I don't have time for it. There are a million other things I should be doing, but tweeting and blogging is my escape. I feel like I am sitting down with a bunch of old friends everytime and learn new things from people daily. Honestly, without all these social media outlets over the past year, I might have just driven off the bridge. Just know that you are not alone in feeling this way. I have an 8 yo on the autistic spectrum and a crazy 16 1/2 month old. I grip the steering wheel really really tight everyday.

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  11. oh erin, i only have two babes and it is hard. so hard. and i think it's made so much harder when you don't have real, in the flesh community to hold your hand and see you through. when i want to punch walls i know it's because there's been no quiet or exercise or whatever else i need to function, and i try to take care of me, too.

    for the record, i look at you and think, dang, how does she manage to look beautiful and leave the house, because those two things are more than i can manage many days:)

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  12. Oh my goodness, I love this post sooooo much! I am the same on bridges, I honestly thought it was just me. Yesterday I was driving over a bridge and I thought, I should ask if anyone else does this, if anyone else thinks how easy it would be to lose track for just a second, to stop paying attention, and just drive right over the edge? But I decided not to, because surely people would think that I am suicidal or something, and it's not that at all, I don't WANT to go over the edge. It would just be so ridiculously easy to do.

    So I'm so glad you wrote this. And of course I can't yet understand the parenting aspect of keeping in a straight line, ever vigilant, but deep inside of me I already understand that this will be me, too.

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  13. I had 3 kids in that time frame. Here's how you do it. One day at a time...and stop trying to be perfect. There's no such thing.

    Also, they're 21, 20 and 18 and they're awesome. It's really hard to screw up so just chill.

    That's my advice. Feel free to email me for a pep talk

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  14. i know the feeling of waking up before the kids even cry. What is that? It makes me feel really strange.

    i try every day to stop wondering how other people do it, but clearly I have not stopped wondering because it's something that's on my mind constantly. i know everyone's situation is different but sometimes I wonder how anyone with kids keeps it together, no matter what their situation. but i'm sitting here writing this right now and maybe shouldn't be. the baby is fussing and david is only wearing a diaper and we need to go somewhere in like 15 minutes and we will definitely not be on time. it's always, always something.

    i try not to wish the days away because I do enjoy this stage but I'm sure it's a lot easier when the kids grow up a little bit and lose that baby/toddler neediness.

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  15. I have a tight budget & three kids tight in age...and I identify with this post enormously.
    I also work full time so throw in a huge heap of motherhood guilt in there and you can see the pit of doom I am sitting in right now.

    That's all I've got. No advice, because really...who am I kidding?
    Solidarity, sister.
    Or something.

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  16. I think we all feel like that at times. One of my Big Battles the past few months is trying NOT to compare my life with others. Because I was generally happy with my life until I started to go, "But how do they... And how come I can't... And when will I ever...?"

    It's like shopping for me. I'm content until I enter Target. And then I WANT. I NEED. Crazy.

    For me, the answer lies in staying grounded in what I know to be true. My kids love me. I love them. Yes, life is hard. But it's hard for everyone in their own way. I fix my eyes on what is true and try not to let the rest sway me to the edge of the bridge.

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  17. Hey,

    I really don't think ur alone in this at all. I have one and am just at the end of myself. Exhausted. Lost. Broken.

    It really sounds like u need rest. And fun. Leave the dishes, leave the hoovering, the laudry (as someone said -prioritise- do the dishes u need for the next meal, the laundry for the next few days), leave the house. Do something fun with the kids, or to a friends for coffee. If u don't look after urself, u can't look after ur kids. We all have lists of a million things that need done, but at the end of the day we are important too, and we deserve to enjoy our lives, we deserve to enjoy our children.

    Hugs and prayers.

    Xxx

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  18. I think it's about priorities. Is it really important to have your house spic and spam clean? Not to me. It's more important to be with my kids and then have some time for me, just relaxing. And for me, I get out of thehouse one night a week with friends. Because I'll go crazy if I'm not "me" and just a mom all the time. It helps balance me.

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  19. I feel your pain, but also feel spoiled.
    I couldn't hack it all after having just one. My husband complained about the laundry never being done, the bathrooms, never being clean and the floors never being vacuumed.
    I told him I couldn't do it and I hired a cleaning service.
    After my second one turned 1, I joined a gym with childcare...so I could take a shower! Seriously, lots of days I put the kids in childcare and take the two hours to shower and catch up on my computer.
    We can't do it all...nor do we need to.
    I took all apps off my phone...twitter, facebook, instagram...even pinterest.
    I only check if my computer is open.
    And, that isn't very often.
    For six months this year I blogged everyday...and it was WORK.
    I don't do that anymore.
    Please take care of yourself first and foremost...if you don't take care of yourself you can't take care of anything else.

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  20. Perhaps it's because you are actually parenting... your are enjoying your kids , capturing their hearts and smiles in your memory. that other stuff can wait , your family will never remember how muched you blogged or did the dishes , but one of these years over the "Thanksgiving table" they'll share memories of all the fun times they had with their mama!

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  21. I've learned, since becoming a parent, that there is a lot other parents aren't sharing. Why do we feel we have to keep up this -so- perfect routine? No, I don't have my kids in preschool, or all those cute little (expensive!) classes. They occasionally eat canned ravioli. I can't always afford organic. They watch cartoons. (Horror!) Have a few toys that were made in China. When my 3 year old goes to the store w/ me, I buy her off with $4 giant balloons if she's good. Some days I yell at my kids and wonder why I ever wanted to be a mom. Some days we all get along like the soul friends that I know we are. We laugh, play, and share and those moments feel so right I feel like I'm dreaming.
    Being a mom is the most amazing, exhausting, emotionally and physically draining, warm fuzzy, forehead slapping, tears because I love them SO much thing I've ever done.
    If I could only actually blog some of the dozens of ideas I have written down, accomplish the tasks on my to do list and find other mom's that won't judge my I-really-don't-know-what-the-hell-I'm-doing-so-let's-have-a-cocktail-and-call-it-a-day parenting style I would be a happy camper. Once I find someone that won't jump me for home birthing, they see the can of ravioli's in my pantry and are suddenly too busy to play. Or they find out I'm thinking about homeschooling and assume I'm hard core "crunchy" and think I'm judging them and suddenly they can't play either.
    It's so disheartening that mom's aren't talking about parenthood how it -really- is. Especially for the new mom's. I hear mom's saying they don't want to tell them much to not "scare" them. Well guess, what, baby is on the way, time to get your mental game plan together! I wish someone would've done that with me. Sometimes I feel like I'm still in high school, but 10 years older and with 2 kids. The drama. Clique's. It can be -really- disheartening! I'm blessed to have a smallish circle of friends that really "get" me, but discouraged that broadening that circle isn't really going well.
    Much love to all the momma's out there, whether you have 1 kiddo or 10! This is hard. Damn hard. Let's stick together and keep each other on the road. Let me DD your sanity for awhile!
    ..........did all of that make sense? Hmmmmm.....time for more coffee : )

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  22. It is. It is like that for me. My three are even spread out over 5 years, and it's like that. We all have those spots that aren't as shiny as we'd like. Or as shiny as we'd like others to think. So we put all the shiniest shiny bits up front and hope they will mask the rest.

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  23. It's all about perspective sweets! I think the majority of us, even those of us with just one child, feel like some days we're Dory, "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming." Tired...no...EXHAUSTED, but somehow we keep our collective crap together for the good of our kids. The house might be a mess, dinner might come from a box, and there might be more tears than smiles some days. A crushing "price" to pay at times. But I think that because we're willing to pay that hefty sum - the end result is so worth it.

    And besides? The perfect houses you see in blogs? I'm willing to bet *someone* just spot cleaned to give the illusion of perfection. The important thing? The smiling babies sitting amidst the chaos.

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  24. I whispered to a friend the other day: we are all crazy. We are all on the verge of "losing it" (or we already lost it) and somedays I hope no one else catches on to me because... yeah.

    And so many times when I am driving I worry one day I will just drive off the bridge.

    (This is not a cry for help, just an honest comment.) :)

    Steph

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  25. I completely understand this. the first part, because I always think about driving off the side of a bridge (or a mountain when we lived in CO) like "what if my arm twitches and i accidentally swerve the car and we go off the cliff?" Total paranoia.

    the second part I get too. I never blog anymore, because I'm trying to be better at keeping the house clean, and making better food for the kids, and dressing myself, and there is never enough time to do everything I need to do, much less the stuff I want to do, and who really wants to hear about my boring life anyway, etc ad nauseum.

    So you are not alone. And you will not go off the bridge.

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  26. I have one daughter, who is awesome and easy, and STILL I think this is the hardest thing ever. 3?! THREE?! I don't know how you've kept them alive this long. It is hard. HARRRRRD. Rewarding? Sure. But some days I think I am off the bridge. Drowning. Lots of days. The laundry never gets folded before it's all wrinkled. I wear the same thing for days, and shower a few times a week. Some days I make an awesome dinner. Sometimes we're lucky to snarf down some takeout. I don't even know what's different from day to day. Sometimes it's easier. Not often. I think I'm beating the system by not drinking much water so I don't have to pee. I don't know why I'm telling you all of this. Maybe I'm just happy you wrote this and to know I'm not alone. PS - You are bright, witty, and gorgeous.

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  27. I so identify with you!! Even the bridge bit. When I start to think about it and freak myself out, I just think of how wonderful, wonderful, wonderful my two little boys are and who cares about anything else. I wear thick socks so i do not feel the crumbs on the floor.

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  28. It is and it isn't. It seems like there are seasons. Whenever there is a one year old in the house {both times!}, I feel like I'm trying not to drive off the cliff. Then there is a season of calm, and I start really sleeping again. And then the functioning starts up again. It's the baby days, I think, coupled with the toddlerness.

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  29. You really struck a chord with this one, clearly, for many of us.

    I can't even keep on the road with all of my focused attention, and I have one kid. and an astoundingly dirty kitchen, bathroom, and self most of the time. Although, if you can find 2 minutes (literally, I took a two minute shower before Casey was late for work today because I was in tears and he made me take one), a shower can totally save the day. I think at some point in parenthood we get to the other side of the bridge, though at this point that thought is pure speculation.

    What I find hardest about motherhood is that it makes me feel like I'm often at the base of Maslow's Hierarchy--focused so hard on just surviving and keeping the baby alive, and sometimes that awareness hurts most. I respect your work, because it's not easy to always be at the wheel, responsible for so much all the time.

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  30. the thing that keeps me sane most days is knowing that no one does it all. the thing about the internet is that you can really portray your life any way you want ... and i think most of us portray it in a good light. no one sees the messy floors, the dirty dishes piled up, the dvd's that have been thrown all over the floor for the 97th time, the 6 blog posts written in one night so that they don't have to be written every single day, the 5 hours of sleep on a good night, the mildewed towels and sheets that have been in the washer for 2 days, the baby still wearing pajamas at 4:30 [but with a clean diaper, lol] ... so, there's my reality. i don't do it all. not even close. and i am losing it daily. i wish i could be more honest about that.

    as for bridges, i sometimes worry that i think about driving off often. not in a, "i should drive off and die" sort of way, but the thought of how easy it would be is always there. i'm glad i'm not the only one who has had that thought before.

    i love this post and how you write your train of thoughts, xxo

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  31. That's a great analogy! While it is not like that for everyone, it is like that for a lot of people, and I'm one of them!
    I have two kids 9so far) and they are 2years, 8 months apart, but we have a one bedroom loft in a downtown metropolitan area. It's tight! I try to organize and reorganize things in fun ways when I have time. It keeps my spirits up!
    I'm new to your blog and I love it!

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  32. I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND!!!!!!! You are not alone!! Thank you for making the rest of us feel like we are not the only ones.

    Andrea

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  33. the only way i do it is drugs (not really.) i have my quiet time when the kids are asleep. i make them stay in their rooms after they've been put to bed so i can recharge my own battery. i also know that i can't do everything, even when i try. my house is the last thing that gets done. and i try to do it just before or after dinner. i set a 10 minute timer & everyone picks up.

    breathe, mama.

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  34. It is absolutely like that for me. Notice how often I post.... There is just too much to do and never enough time

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  35. seasons. yep, it's seasons. no one is doing it all. I'm certainly not.

    I'm barely online anymore. We all have our own things that keep us praying we'll stay on the bridge. And sometimes I want to ditch the car and it's inhabitants and jump off for a glorious swim by myself.

    We'll make it, my friend. If you can, take a nap and a shower and a date with your husband. It goes a long way.

    xoxo

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  36. I had to come back because I was reading through my archives and came across this. http://tiny.cc/r0ccz

    See -- we all feel it. We each have our own unique circumstances, but we all feel like we're just barely staying in the lines.

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  37. Amen. Like a million times over.

    I don't get it either, and I only have one. I do think it gets easier the older they get (though, I bet I won't be saying this in a few years when he will be busier with activities & such...) And I can't imagine having 3 and getting anything done around the house or around myself. Kudos to you. I think you're doing just fine. I know I wouldn't mind if I came over and there was a halo of crumbs under the high chair.

    And I hope drop-off has gotten better in the last week...

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  38. I know that feeling. But for me, it was mental illness. Like depression and anxiety. Medication and therapy really helped. You shouldn't be feeling that anxious.

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  39. You are NOT the only one. I had 4 kids in 5 years, and my youngest has special needs. I often struggle with that feeling that I'm failing everyone, drowning in a sea of overwhelming guilt. So many people present a whitewashed version of their lives, it's easy to think you are the only one who doesn't have it all together. We all struggle in our own ways. You have a heart of gold, it shines through every word you write. You are an amazing mother and your children are blessed to have you. It's ok to struggle, it's a sign of how much you care. Remember, you don't have to be perfect. No one is. Focus on what's most important to you and allow yourself to let some things slide. I love this quote. "When juggling as much as you are, remember that some balls are glass and some are rubber. You can’t drop the glass balls." - Nora Roberts, What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self

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  40. I recently scraped my way out of a weeks worth of food bits under the high chair. I decided enough was enough. I became crazy vigilant about the cleaning and the meal making and the yadayada. Last night I was just too tired to keep up. By tonight it looked like I hadn't done anything in weeks. I am tired. I hate cleaning. I quit Twitter because I couldn't keep up with all the internet stuff. My inbox is ridiculous. And, my reader? Holy cow. I can't believe people still read my blog because it's been like a month since I've read anyone elses. So yeah. I only have two kids, but I relate. Especially to the responding before they even cry. I hope they feel loved. Even if I do serve up cashews dipped in peanut butter with a side of pickles for lunch in a dirty kitchen....like every day. Thank goodness those are Levi's favorite foods.

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  41. Pleased to discover you via Stephanie P. OF COURSE we all have the insanity of little peeps. I'm NOT managing my two under three well now that I am enjoying blogging so thoroughly...I even made a sign for myself to remind me DO THE WORK FIRST. Yet. It is undone as I sit here. It is a Season in our lives and the "days are long, years are short"! Do what pleases you and what must be done. (Must as defined by REALLY must, chipped nailpolish removed before leaving house? Nahhh...food into all mouths...MUST!)

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  42. Me too. I wonder the same exact things. I think that's why I love your blog so much. You ask honest questions. And you tell honest stories about life. Your thoughts feel so unfettered it makes my own make more sense. Does that make any sense?
    Anyhow, I've been entrenched in a similar state lately. My youngest trashed the house as he 'learns' and I'm just behind lagging tired or giving up at every corner most days. And I'll sigh and say aloud, I can't get anything done. And yet, I do when I start to speak aloud what I've done. It's just not the stuff I dream of doing all day. And yet it is. Yes, it is the stuff I dream of doing. But sometimes it feels so much more romantic in my own mind and not in real life.
    Anyhow, my blog has been quiet and life has been busy and I get you on this one. And hey, if it makes you feel better, it's nice to feel like I have a similar blogging three kids busy mom friend out here in blogland that's pondering the same crazy crap.

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  43. something i realized recently was that the ladies who have fantastic blogs, and who have pictures of beautiful, clean homes every day... they aren't showing you the whole picture. they are showing you the corner of the house that they just cleaned. they are showing you the blog post that they actually wrote in the line at the post office.

    on the other hand, they might be showing you the efforts of a hired house keeper, a blog that is written because there are three other people that wrangle the children, or three other people that cook a few meals, clean a few dishes.


    my brother has three children. they are 17, 11, and 9. when they were small, when they were 1, 3, and 6, their mom dropped them off at my parents house every weekend. every weekend. she also dropped them off on school holidays. she couldn't handle them.

    since being an adult myself, having my own home, my own child, my own busy life to manage... i go over to my brother's house and i wonder how they keep it so clean. it's always so clean, and well organized.

    one day, i stopped by on short notice. the house was a disaster! the floors were dirty. my sister-in-law kept apologizing, but it really wasn't bad. it looked like my house.

    it takes so much energy to care for the little ones. when it's really just you doing all of the work, it's work. it's hard work.

    i never cook. i always have a pile of laundry. i always have a pile of dishes. there's always dirt stuck to the bottom of my feet. i also have a job away from home. my husband kind of helps, but he's tired, too.

    and i only have the one. and she's only 10 months old.

    it's a struggle just to remember to eat. it's okay. no one does it all.

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  44. I also have 3 kids only 3.5 years apart (7, 5, and 4). It seems that it's the 3rd one that puts you over the edge. My youngest is my easiest and sweetest and yet I still feel like Dori from Nemo all the time: "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming."
    My middle child has problems similar to Clark (ADHD and attention issues have been mentioned many many many times) and yet he is still easier in many ways than my oldest. I feel like if we survive all of this, we deserve a medal. Good luck and "Just keep swimming."

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