To The Mom Juggling Multiple Young Children: I See You!
Not too long ago, that was me. I had a kindergartner, a preschooler, a toddler and a new baby. What the crap was I thinking? Welcome to crazy town!
Here’s a fist bump of solidarity to you, Sister. I was you in a former season of life.
- I see the frazzled look on your face.
- I see your anxiety trying to get all the kids in the car at once.
- I see you try not to lose your shit in the candy aisle of the grocery store.
- I see you figuring out the fastest route to the bathroom for your newly potty trained child.
- I see you at school drop off with your hair unwashed and jammies still on.
- I see you with the stained sweatshirt that has who knows what on it.
I was you and I’m not going to give you some BS advice saying “Things are going to get easier. You’re just in a crazy stage of life.” It’s not true. Things don’t get easier, but they change. In the end, you’re still a mom who’s juggling multiple children. I still see you!
Embrace New Seasons of Life
The other day I walked into the grocery store hand in hand with my five year old. He got one of those little kid carts and he was in charge. While I had to remind him a couple times to slow down, it was a pleasant experience.
Without fail, when we got to the check out, I got a “What a great helper you have there!” I smile and nod, chatting away with the cashier as they give him a sticker and we head out the door.
A simple trip to the grocery store with my youngest is abruptly halted when I see a former version of myself in the parking lot:
- A mom putting the infant car seat into the back of a cart. She goes back to the minivan to get the toddler and buckles him in the seat. All the while telling the preschooler to put their hand on the car to be safe. She then tells her 5 year old to get a move on, so they can get this done. Once everyone is settled in their designated areas, she checks her list and takes a breath to prepare herself for an intense shopping trip.
Speaking from past experience, she will spend at least twice the time I did in there with the same type of list. As I watch them, I notice one of her kids dropped a toy. I walk over, pick it up and give her a smile as I hand it over.
Learn To Keep Your Mouth Shut
I don’t say anything to her cause I know she is on a mission. Right now, she has to be laser focused on the task at hand which in reality is about a million tasks. In the matter of an hour or so, she will juggle the kids and grocery shop all while trying to keep her sanity. The last thing she wants to hear is my story.
Although, I keep my mouth shut, I want to high five her in solidarity in a way that let’s her know: I see you. This stage doesn’t last forever, instead the chaos changes how it looks. I know while you are in the thick of it, it seems like you are a hot mess. But sooner than later, you’ll be the one at the store smiling at the mom juggling her brood with that knowing look on your face.
While it may look like I’m on easy street when I pass you in the parking lot, I’ve been in your shoes and I get it. You know you’ve got this. Even if some days you want to curl up and cry (and you might). One day you will shock everyone at the store by telling them that you have three more kids at home. They will look at you in disbelief because of the easy, breezy way you make this mothering thing look.
Each Season of Life Is Different
FYI, the next stage is a different kind of chaos. The kids might not need you anymore in a physically demanding way. Instead it’s more emotional and about being there for them mentally. You begin teaching them more about life, listen to their endless questions, be a shoulder to cry on, have difficult conversations and are their personal chauffeur.
Sure, I might be able to pee alone (sometimes) and I can take a shower knowing that WWIII isn’t happening downstairs. But these times alone are necessary for me to be ready to tackle the mentally challenging discussions I’m up against. I have to be ready for someone to tell me they hate me and slam a door in my face. I have to be in a calm state of mind when it’s time to discipline a child for a wrong action. It’s a different kind of hard.
You and I both have our own definition of hard. But know that the diapers, naps, potty training, terrible 2,3 and 4’s, middle of the night feedings, marathon nursing sessions are a season. One day you will be the one to get nostalgic in a parking lot just as I did when you see a former version of yourself.
Go ahead, give her a nod, smile, hold the door for the gigantic stroller, pick up a fallen binkie and be on your way. Although you want to stop and tell her everything, you won’t. She knows you see her. And just as she see you, I see my future smiling at me as they walk into the store with teenagers. Fist bump of solidarity, Sister, cause I’m coming for that next season of life!