Let me tell you what Three Under Three looks like. It means we’re potty training and sleep training and introducing solid foods all at the same time. It means we are constantly doing laundry because of spit up, poop explosions, potty accidents, and just general food messiness. It means I clean at 10pm at night before sitting down to write. Three Under Three in one word is tired.
There is this pervasive lethargy that sedates my limbs and lulls my eyes to sleep. I used to constantly buzz around and clean my house, and now I just sit in the chaos, watching as it piles up. And every once in a while, I have a burst of energy where I clean as much as I can while everyone is sleeping, but there are consequences to this.
Picking cleaning over sleep can lead to even greater physical fatigue, but it significantly helps with peace of mind. I find that even if my body is tired, having a clean house can assuage mental fatigue. My house is generally an outward expression of how I feel on the inside, and I’ve found that physically cleaning can actually alleviate my internal struggles.
However, the physical state of Three Under Three has recently offered zero reprieve. At least a couple of times a week, I used to be able to do a really thorough sweep of the house, tidying up clothes, shoes, toys, but within the past couples of weeks, I’ve been barely functioning. This is really difficult for me because I’m a get-ahead type of person. So accepting that I’m in one of the survival phases of motherhood is rough, even though I know we’ll cycle through this like we have all of the others.
It’s amazing how at times we can feel like we’re barely staying afloat, and 48 hours later, everything is wonderful. Kids bring an incredible wave of unpredictability that can be exciting, but it can also be frustrating, frightening, and tearful.
I used to consider myself a pretty controlling person; I think most perfectionists (and recovered perfectionists) would identify similarly. My children have taught me to be more flexible and easy going. I’ve found that riding the wave of change instead of fighting it can be the difference between enjoying my life and being miserable. It can be the difference between laughing with my husband and fighting with him. It can be the difference between maximizing a teaching moment and losing my patience.
Although painful, I’ve found my children slowly chip away at the parts of me that needs buffing. Being their mom makes me a better person, and their hugs and kisses and giggles consistently provide perspective. My kids unknowingly ensure that my priorities are in the right place.
Where are you at today in the cycle of motherhood?