There has been a baby boom happening again. One by one, many of my immediate friends have decided to go for baby #2. They are smart women – they have figured out routines with just one kid. How bad could another one be? They tell me at length about the value they place on their siblings (or how they wish they had one). How kids who have siblings are better leaders, cooperators and all that.
Hey listen, you didn’t have to sell me – I have two kids, remember?
We forgot in the glow of pregnancy, thrill of bringing another soul into the world, one stage. I like to call it “Moms in the Trenches”. I admit, I haven’t been to war. I have been to the trench though, some days I still live there.
The Trench is where:
- #1 kid is not happy with the new sibling and hits the baby.
- You try to figure out how to balance two totally different schedules and still eat hot food, and have a shower.
- One kid falls down the stairs and hits the other one on the way down, now they’re both screaming. Who first?
- Your husband asks “What did you do ALL day?” when he catches you sitting & folding laundry, your first quiet moment of the day.
- Working full-time, laundry, dishes, and bedtime are all you can handle.
- You thought the kids were going back to school, but surprise! they are not
You get the picture. The trenches is where you do that Mom (and Dad) stuff that is yucky, but necessary. It is very pious, we are in the service of our children. The fact that they have food, a warm place to sleep and clean clothes means you’re doing great! If you have even have one of these – seriously, you’re doing great.
Life in the trenches changes each day, it’s not consistent. There are no easy answers. You find solutions that work for you and your family. Maybe it means an hour of quiet time for you a day. Maybe it means you pay for a house cleaner to help you with the mess. It doesn’t matter what solution, it just has to work.
I had to do an exercise recently that was talking about what values we model daily. I chose “pious” from a deck of cards, and I had to come up with positive ways that I had portrayed this value. It was really hard for me to do so. I don’t consider myself a pious person. The value pious is important – as a parent, you’re doing it. We are in service to our children.
One of my colleagues told me my glowing example was when I was at the local community greenhouse celebration. It was the end of the season, and I had walked over my children (and a couple of extras) to pick and celebrate the crop. The kids were a little hairy after the 1.5 km walk. I made sure they each had what they needed, set them up with hot dogs. When we were finished, they were ready for a little quiet time and crabby. Although I would have liked to stay longer, I bundled them up and walked back home.
To me, it was just another day in the trenches. It didn’t work out perfectly, but we got there. I remember feeling anxious, a little stressed. But to the others watching me, it was a superb parenting example. The fact he looked at it like that just floored me.
Think about that! What if every time we think we’re just doing “ok” or “every day”, someone else is wow-ed by your brilliance.
I see these amazing glimmers in the Trench too. The glimmers of the people we’re building in my family, their passions, the things that make them laugh. The moments like My kid calling me out to go bike riding with him, glee of discovering another place to play, and a little kisses and hugs when I need them the most.
Moms, the Trench is a hard place. You want to know you’re doing the right thing. Ultimately, if you got up today and helped your kids, you’re doing the right thing. Stop worrying about the rest of it. It will work out. I challenge you to look for those glimmering moments – even through the tough patches. They are there. Hold them close to your heart and know in a few years, we’ll be looking back on this time wishing we are back in the Trench.