It’s been a very long three weeks but we made it. My helper is back and I can finally take a bit of a breather. In fact, we will immediately celebrate tonight by going for Coldplay!!
I’ll be dropping all the kids off at my mom’s house and then RUNNING out of there like…
Imma get a whole evening without any babies getting all up in my face yelling “MOMMY LOOK AT ME I WANT…”?? That alone is enough to guarantee that it’ll be a glorious night. Also, sorry guys, mommy will definitely not be looking at you because I’ll be looking at my delicious dinner at a place where people are not allowed to speak above 30 decibels and then after that I will be too busy looking at Chris Martin instead.
I’d like to say in retrospect that the past several weeks weren’t so bad but then I’d be lying. It was pretty bad. I hope I never have to do it again without significant advancements in the field of cloning. Kidding. I’d be totally weirded out if I had a clone, that would never work.
On the bright side, here are some of the things I’ve learnt from having to manage 5 kids alone for 3 weeks.
1. Kids are actually very useful.
No question about it, I would not have survived without the help of these kids who took on everything from babysitting to food prep to packing and even laundry. You know how when you try to get the kids to do stuff and they’re not very good so they end up doing a half-assed job and you have to redo it and you’re like “okay, it would have been so much easier to just do this myself“?
I learnt that sometimes, a half-assed job is better than a no-assed job, and after they get in enough practice, they’ll be able to full-ass the thing, so everybody wins.
2. As are husbands.
Husbands are extremely useful for tagging in when you need to go lie down and cry into your pillow at the end of the day.
3. I can be a better parent when things are in order.
When I was younger, I used to have a very respectable tolerance for mess – an organized mess, I used to call it (which is basically an excuse to not clean my room). My room could look like I just got robbed and it wouldn’t bother me one bit.
These days, for better or worse, I feel my cortisol levels rise when the house in a state of disarray, like my world is spinning out of control. Which makes it very hard to be all “don’t worry about the mess, I’ll just be over here carpe-ing the diem with these babies for 5 hours straight“. If I bought into the whole cleaning can wait, just enjoy the moment with the kids all day nonsense, I’d be living in an actual slum by day 3.
I realized that while it seems counterproductive to pack and repack and rerepack multiple times a day, it makes me feel like a better parent who can seize the day when my world is in order.
4. A little slack goes a long way.
Few nights ago, it was one of those exceptionally rough days. The post dinner mayhem was in full swing, the babies were refusing to shower, Kirsten’s eye was hurting and Tru was all “why do I have to be the one to clean up this ridiculous mess? I didn’t even play with all this stuff!”
“Because I spent years packing up after you and now it’s your turn to do the same, it’s called the circle of packing,” I wanted to say. “And we’re a family, it’s what we do. We clean up each other’s messes.”
But I knew this was a lot to ask from a 9-year-old. He had already done a lot of cleaning up after his siblings the past several weeks, much more than I had expected. So I told him that it’s ok and he could take a break.
“Hey Tru, you can go get a can of 100 plus and read for a bit. Just make sure you’re ready for bed by 8 okay?”
I went about bathing the little ones and getting them in their jammies and when I came out, I saw that Truett had cleaned up the entire house. And it wasn’t a shoddy job either. It was like the gold standard of packing, all the toys were put away neatly and everything was in order.
“Thanks Tru, that was an amazing job! Why did you decide to do it?” I asked.
“I just wanted to help you. And everything was so messy, I couldn’t take it.”
I think I’m just gonna go ahead and keep these kids. :)