Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chicken Chocolate Soup for a Mama's Soul ('Cause Chicken Just Ain't Gonna Do It This Time, I'm 'Fraid.)

I was up this morning with Peabody at 4:45 AM. For the DAY, people. Y'all know about Peabody's refusals to nap already so I won't go into long and boring detail, I'll just say that he doesn't nap, he gets over-tired, and his night-sleep (and mine) suffers greatly, which makes him more over-tired, which in turn keeps him from napping, and they tell two friends and they tell two friends and so on and so on and so on.

On the bright side, Peabody's gonna fully grasp the concept of the VICIOUS CYCLE by the time he's two.

Anyway, a mighty early risin' this morning, and I don't like to complain because I know, I see, I am deeply in touch with the fact that I am the luckiest woman alive, but I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the massive number of remaining hours-to-go in this particular day, considering there've already been nearly sixty, wait, no, SIX of them.

I read this post by Robin at Pensieve (I even contributed! To her post! Yesterday! Back when I was lucid!) and found it very encouraging. But as there's so much of this day left to go, I'm thinking I may need a few more shots of encouragement to get me through to bedtime.

That's where you come in! You get to give me, in the form of You, a little talktus peppius! I know! Couldn't have come at a better time! You're just the person to do it!

So lay it on me (you).

Those of you who have survived the days of parenting the very littles and are still alive and functioning to talk about it, what would you say that old Yourself? What encouragement would you give her, to inspire her and revitalize her as she plows through the long days and long lists and feeling like she never actually DOES anything but still often goes about her life so tired she can't think straight? That Yourself who feels isolated and lonely despite the fact that she's surrounded by tiny people who need her -- NEED HER NEED HER NEED HER -- 24/7?

Will you write that Yourself a note in the comments? Loads of other women who read here are down in the Little People trenches with me and will love to read your words, as well. I guarantee it.

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  1. Sounds like a day for watchin' everyone's fav videos. Take it easy. Don't try to DO anything else today beyond survive. You will. You are fabulous. Love you!

  2. P.S. - on days like that I wave my white flag and yell "Pajama Party!" (How much fun can we have while lying around being lazy?)

  3. Both mine are in school now...a day I have been waiting for the past 6 years. And oddly enough instead of finding myself excited by it, I'm sad.

    The days of it just being the three of us are over and I miss my little ones. That's why I find myself waxing way too poetic about it on my blog...

    ***big sigh***

    And I don't want to say "enjoy it" because it is hard to enjoy it when you are in the middle of sleep deprivation, cranky babies, bottoms to wipe, lunch to fix, crying, etc...I guess the best advice is to just remember it...

  4. I guess I'd tell myself, Self, live in the moment. Each and every single moment. Don't get ahead, don't go back, stay in the moment, each and every moment. Be the best you can in each moment you have. When you find yourself not enjoying the moment and being all you can be, say a prayer and ask the Lord to bring you back to where you belong, enjoying each and every single moment. Ideal situation for me, at this moment in my life.......

  5. What I wish someone would've told me as my first born never slept:

    Write down the good stuff (even if it's on a napkin that you shove in a drawer...what a surprise treasure waaaay down the road when you find it)...'function' through the regular and/or bad stuff. You're not meant, nor required to do anything but 'be'. You are appreciated. You ARE appreciated!

  6. Well, I certainly can't tell you from experience that it gets better, but that's what I'm counting on! Just know there are plenty of us out here experiencing the same thing, feeling the same way!

  7. It DOES get better. Mine are 8 and 5 now. Both in school. While I certainly don't miss the sleepless nights, or the crying (ok that doesn't go away all that much...., or the constant neediness, I DO miss the cute things they would do at those young ages. Time heals all wounds, and also dulls your pain. You will eventually forget how physically demanding it was, and remember only the fun times. Don't worry about enjoying it right now, because some parts really aren't all that enjoyable. Just know, from those of us with experience, that time really does fly. One day, you will wake up from a full 8 hours of sleep and say "where did my babies go???" They will smile and, like my 5 year old, tell you "they growed up!"

  8. Take a few minutes to remember why you became a mom. That is waht worked the best for me. I took a few minute each day to write in a journal, notepad, scrap paper anything handy. I still have those notes, and it helps as the kids get older.

  9. Some people can function on very little sleep and others (myself included) can not! I used to think I'd go nuts just trying to get through the day. I would be moody and get a bad headache. It's hard to be rational when you're too tired to think straight. If by chance your young man decides to take a nap today, you need to lay down and rest at the same time. I never took this advice myself because I'm an idiot and thought I should fold laundry or something. I know you've tried everything to get him to sleep better but is his room completely dark? This made a big difference with my second kid. The only thing you could see in her room was the VERY TINY night light glow.
    Good luck Megan, I'm rootin' for ya.

  10. hugs!

    I feel even more honored that you came by my blog today. Makes me wonder if you were looking for a pick me up! :)

    girl....everyone gets depleted. everyone. First know that.

    then be gentle to yourself. find a way to schedule some "me time", even if it is just for a day or a few hours. get some freshair.

    put less expectations on yourself. You have the rest of your life to get things done. Just do what needs to be done to survive.

    I'm thinking of you.

  11. There are lots of platitudes I could give you like "This too shall pass" but they don't really help a lot when you are down in the depths! I know from experience. Mine are 19, 24 and 27 now but there were days that I just thought I wouldn't make it. But I did, now I am playing Grammy and it is awesome!

    Just remember that housework will wait forever but your babies are little for such a short time! Use paper plates and cups to cut down on dish-washing. When you make dinner make lots so you can freeze some for another day. Sleep when the kids are sleeping - DO NOT DO HOUSEWORK! You need your rest more than the floor needs sweeping! Remember that Al is their dad and it technically isn't baby-sitting if he is taking care of them so you can take a nap! Get a neighborhood teenager to come over for an hour or two to play with the kids while you get a nap.

    Above all, remember...This too shall pass!

  12. p.p.s. - I forgot to say draw a big ole bubble bath and let everyone loll around in it after you're finished lolling on the couch.

  13. Mine are now 21,23 and 26 and that time went so fast! I remember hearing that part - "it goes so fast, enjoy it!" I must say that it's so true. I would also say to take it easy on yourself. Don't set up big expectations of yourself, and how good your house and your kids have to look. When you have days like today, don't worry about housework, and rest when you can.
    Take lots of pictures (you got this down already!) and write down things they say and do (You're good at this one too) because although it seems fresh in your mind niow, it won't be later!

  14. One more thing - Say yes! Don't get into the habit of not doing things or telling your kids no, just because things have to get cleaned or washed - go and do fun things and build memories!

  15. Dear Sleep Deprived Self,

    When your peeps become a cell phone toting 12 year old girl and a football playing 9 year old boy, you will cherish these days. If you think you are tired now, just wait until you have to run 3 carpools.

    Be glad you can stay home in your jammies. Relish the fact that they still sit in your lap. Be thankful that they are still small enough to carry to bed.

    There will always be laundry to fold. There will always be dishes to wash. The dust always comes back.

    Enjoy the days now because they will be gone tomorrow.

  16. I'm more qualified to need this advice than I am to give it.

    But I'll tell you on the days that I am ready to scream, "Mommy needs 5 SECONDS TO HERSELF, little people. Sit. Down. And BE QUIET!" I try to mentally throw myself at the feet of Jesus. It doesn't always work. But I know of no other untapped reserve of peace, patience, love and joy.

    (Now I feel like I need to add: Because He loves the little children, Kelly. You read @boomama's post yesterday, yes?)

  17. I'm right in there with ya, girlfriend. I posted once on my blog what my mentor told me when I crawled onto her front porch, begging for sweet tea and some wisdom. Here's the short version:
    “Be still. You are in the valley (no, not of the Shadow of Death, although it feels that way between 4 and 6 every night). You are sitting beside still waters. Your children don’t need you to enroll them in 800 activities, to keep the cleanest house, or to entertain them. They need you to BE THERE.

    Practice the art of sitting. Watch your children play. You will never be a truly consistent disciplinarian unless you are on hand, right there, ready to correct and train. And that is what they need from you. To make them holy, not happy. To prove to them by your stillness that you will be there. That you are listening.

    There are days to try and force yourself up whatever mountain of laundry or pile of dishes that needs to be conquered. But make that the only mountain you climb that day. SIMPLIFY EVERYTHING. This is just a few short years of life where they need you RIGHT THERE. Not in the kitchen, not in the next room. RIGHT THERE. Make beautiful memories of stillness and peace. Of Mommy being content to watch them play, to tie that Zorro cape just right, to laugh when they are silly. Make their earliest memories of their mother be of calm, quiet strength.”

    The rest of my thoughts on it are right here:

  18. my boss reminds us that sleep is merely a bad habit we learned as children... I guess you could consider yourself lucky that peabody isn't learning bad habits ;-)

  19. I have been there and am still there. Nobody, no matter what it looks like, is perfect. Every single woman, no matter how holy and peaceful, has moments when she wants to scream her head off or run away or hide in the closet or whatever. And then she gets up and does the next task. And maybe the day is full of frustrations and challenges and smiles are few and far between, but it is just ONE day. One of many, many days and it will fade from your memory and be replaced by the laughter and silliness and simple joy this life holds. And there is nothing wrong with you when you can't see the good from the bad. You still love your children, your husband, your blessed, God-given life. You've simply gotten stuck in the mire for a bit, and you will get out, and you will set your eyes on life and all that comes with it.

    And if all else fails, go hide in the closet and scream for a minute. You'll feel better able to face the other side of the door. :)

  20. Our girls left the nest years ago...the first one, 20 years, and the second one, 11 years. These days pass more quickly than you realize and one day you WILL look back on them, embrace them, treasure them because sometimes tragic things happen, and it's all you have left. We lost our older daughter in an accident last year.

  21. While I am not qualified as a "surviving" parent in as far as the rearing of little ones, (I'm not a member yet, but I have applied and ordered a jacket...) I am an active participant in said endeavor and offer this:

    I find myself subscribing more and more to the "It could sure be a lot worse" school of thought.

    "It may be 3 in the morning and I may have two screaming babies, but aside from their being in a current state of orneriness, I remember that they are healthy, and now I find myself smiling in thanfulness at their cries"

    "I got pulled in eleventeen (my son's word) different directions today by 4 different children and had I not buzzed all of my hair off already, I would have pulled it out! But one of them gave me a hug at bedtime, squeezing just a little bit harder than usual, and said they loved me, thereby trumping anything negative from today. As of that moment, it was a great day."

    "I have a dust coated list of tasks that I need to get done. That I want to get done. I have multiple projects that are partially completed. I want them done. But if I made another list, one consisting of what I have accomplished today, however trivial or mudane, I would find that most if not all of what was on my second list would have been of a higher priority than my dust covered open tasks, so I choose to grade the day with a 'D' or an 'F', but instead with an 'I'. It is merely incomplete...for now..."

    I also find myself in prayer more as a parent than I ever was before. A lot of the prayers are my giving thanks. When you resign yourself to the fact that you won't be able to have children, and then you suddenly have four, your days are filled with many more moments bowing your head or momentarily gazing upward, humbled and thankful beyond words. I find that it is so important to periodically, and by periodically I mean daily, take inventory and be thankful. It helps with the hard times.

    In closing I offer two thoughts:

    - If you ever get down or depressed or even overwhelmed as a parent, have your child fall asleep in your arms or in your lap. Then grab the remote and watch the evening news. Any night will do. In all liklihood, you will find your grip tightening on that child and when you realize this and look down at their peaceful face, that's the best medicine I've found.

    - You are an amazing writer, Megan. There is nothing I enjoy more than reading the works of someone with a good grasp of words and how to use them. In that light, you never disappoint. Keep it up. You have a gift.


  22. Shirl, I am so sorry for your loss.

    Vern, you sound like you've got a handle on it, my friend. I'm guessing you'll get your membership card in the mail along with that jacket. And thanks for hte very kind words, as always. Means a lot coming from you, a fellow word-lover and writer. And all-around good guy.


  23. I'm so glad I got to read all of these comments! I'm deep in the trenches, too - sometimes even stuck in the mud at the bottom - but it does help to know I'm not alone.

    I hope that little Mr. Peabody grows into a more reliable sleep pattern. My mom always says, "You can deal with just about anything - as long as you can sleep!" Rest whenever you can, lady, and know that another weary SAHM in the South is rubbing her tired eyes, too!