I’m moving out of the trenches. It’s really happening.
These past few years have been a whirlwind to me. I had 3 kiddos in 3 years and 4 months. (That’s being pregnant 50% of the time in those years!) So, it is safe to say that life has been a bit crazy around here.
I can distinctly remember one shopping trip where I had one kid in the infant carrier (which made it really heavy!), one wiggly kid in a stroller who wouldn’t stay in it, and one kid who was still toddling while walking and could get away faster than you could blink. So I was the mom walking into a store with one strapped on in my ergo carrier, holding the car seat carrier in one hand, and holding on to a toddling hand for dear life walking through parking lots into stores. It was quite the show if you ever saw me out and about in town.
I wish that I had a picture of me grocery shopping at that time to remember the realness of those days. But I always thought it would be weird to ask someone to take a picture of me in Walmart with a cart stacked to the top with groceries burying two littles, and one strapped on me.
This particular trip to town I remember having a list of errands to run that made me have to make about 5 or so stops. It was just the typical errands, Walmart, ATT Store, Hibbets, Post Office, Bank, Office Supply Store, etc…
Did I mention that two of those kiddos were potty training during these spectacular outing events?
I remember heading into Walmart and of course having to make 2 trips to the bathroom all the way across the store within 30 minutes of being in the store. I remember constantly having to remind them not to sing and play so loud. Not everyone at Walmart wanted to hear their extremely loud concert. And lets not forgot that the one in the infant carrier was crying or hungry 95% of the trip. The other two littles couldn’t decide if it would be more fun to sing and dance or play hide and seek in the store.
Not much of my groceries were bought that morning, because there was a big #2 accident that caused us to head to the parking lot and take care of cleanup business. I thought Forget It! We will eat whatever we can find at the house and I didn’t venture back in.
Next I had to head to the ATT store and take care of some business. There are no public bathrooms in this store so naturally as soon as we get in there, both of the potty training littles have to use the bathroom. So I load up the infant carrier and grab two hands and we are escorted to the back bathroom that the employees use.
When we come back out, the two older littles begin break dancing on the floor. I mean backs flat on the ground, spinning 360 degrees and just getting with it to the background music. I’m somewhere between thinking it is really funny and cute and mortified that they are behaving so ridiculously in public. But I do love and admire the innocence and pure fun of childhood. Anways- back to my errands, I’m still holding the crying infant and trying to talk to a representative. Not much is getting accomplished.
So we’ve now gone to two of the places on our list and have spent 80% of the time in the bathroom.
I leave and head to Hibbetts. This stop is necessary. I need new running shoes and am training for a race. Not to mention, I’ve got a little baby and am working on getting the last of that baby weight off. So you see, Hibbetts was not an expendable stop. It might have been more important than groceries, for my sanity. So we head into the shoe store and I’m trying to get shoes while holding a CRYING baby again and trying to wrangle two others. This time I bring in the stroller and infant carrier hoping to keep at least two contained. So that’s me, the mom walking in with an extremely heavy infant carrier on one arm, pushing a huge jogging stroller with the other arm, grabbing a hand of the other with the same hand I’m trying to hold the infant carrier with AND also trying to get this darn heavy door open to get into the store. It was a show for sure!
We get in and I begin to look for the shoes I need. Oh wait- we have to go to the bathroom again! Again, no public restroom, so I load up all the kids and make my way back through the maze of shoes and head to the employee only bathroom to spend another 15 minutes. I’ve probably toured every bathroom in our town!
We head back out of the bathroom and now all I want is a pair of shoes and to GO HOME and Forget the errands. Who needs to be responsible anyway? It’s overrated.
I’m trying to grab my shoes. Its really easy. I get the same pair. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Baby is crying, one kid has escaped from the stroller, and one is running laps in the store. The store attendants think I am one dedicated runner at this point to go through this madness just for some shoes. The sweet attendants offer to hold my crying baby so I can try on a shoe. No Go There. Just more crying to a more deafening level with a shrill scream. So I’m holding a screaming baby with spit up and poop all over my shirt, trying to tie a shoe with one hand.
I get the shoes (after another trip to the bathroom) and get in the car. I close my eyes, tear up my todo list and head home to enjoy this season of life in the trenches with littles (and to potty train at our own bathroom.)
This was a season of needing to do everything for everyone all the time. Bedtime routine would take over an hour after you consider bathing 3 kids, dressing 3 kids, lotioning 3 kids, brushing the teeth of 3 kids, prayers with 3 kids. Oh wait- they have to get up and get a drink. Oh wait they need to tell you one more thing. Most days you would find me exhausted by the end of the day wondering where the time went that day and wondering if I was doing a good job at at all.
But I am realizing that I am moving out of the trenches and moving into a new season of this whole motherhood gig.
It’s a good season, but the last season was good too. Just different.
Here are a few things I wish I could go back and remind myself in the midst of having three in three years.
1. You can NOT do everything you were doing before and expect it to not be stressful. It is impossible to care for three little people under three years old and keep up the lifestyle you once lived. But its okay! You will LAUGH a lot— cry a lot— but also LAUGH a lot and that’s good medicine for the heart.
2. The time will go so fast. You will have to say NO to some social obligations and you will have to let some of your interests slide to the wayside. But it’s OKAY– before you know it you will have time again to enjoy these things with your children.
3. LOVE THE LITTLE YEARS! This is a very small time frame in the big scheme of life. It takes lots of sacrifice, messes, and humbling moments. Change your expectations and Do Not Worry About Tomorrow. Embrace the day with littles, you will have lots of funny stories to tell one day and will come out more refined in the process!
While I do still consider my troops little, I am moving out of the trenches. We are moving past bottles, cooing, crawling and spit up and moving into family game nights, character training, and long silly toddler stories. I do miss the baby stages (even though they were hard– but Oh so Sweet!), but I am also enjoying what we are doing now.
Don’t Cry Because it’s Over—– Smile because it Happened.
Trying to put this quote into practice. I am SMILING about my memories in the trenches with infants and 3 kiddos under 3. But it is hard not to cry about how fast it did happen.