Every season in life brings struggles. Struggles with phases your kids are going through. Struggles with decisions and choices. Struggles with time management, meeting everyone's needs, getting things done, finding time for myself. Struggles at home. Struggles at work. And right now is no exception. I'm not complaining. I know there are many people who have bigger, more serious, more difficult struggles in their lives. This is just a way for me to remember life as a parent right now. I love my kids. There is nothing better than being a mom. I wouldn't trade this time in my life for anything, but it's not always easy. Right now I'm struggling with...
1. Getting things accomplished. I feel like my lists continue to grow. House work. Laundry. Meals. Blogging. Paperwork. Disney trip planning. Christmas preparations. I feel like there are always things to be done and limited time to do them. Currently Briggs' nap schedule doesn't usually line up with the girls' nap and rest time. He's usually awake when they are resting and vice versa. It gives me more one-on-one time with Briggs and time with the girls while Briggs is sleeping, but virtually no time to get things accomplished during the day until everyone is in bed at night...and then all I want to do is collapse onto the couch.
2. Santa. We have decided not to "do" Santa with our kids, which I'm finding is easier said than done. Santa is everywhere. Most of my kids' friends and cousins believe in Santa. Staley has been asking why Santa doesn't bring us presents, and even Adelie has been asking questions about Santa. I try to be evasive, like telling them that Santa is a symbol of giving and that we don't need more presents because we already get lots of presents from family. We always try to reiterate that Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas. They are too young (as in, they'd probably spill the beans to all their believing friends) for us to just say "Santa's not real", but I continue to struggle with the best way to handle their questions.
3. Guessing games. Staley is currently really into playing guessing games like 20 questions. And I really struggle with finding the patience to play this with her. Not that I don't like to play games with Staley, but these games don't work great with Staley...primarily because she's always thinking of very random things or changing her answer in the midst of playing. As I ask questions, I can tell that she keeps changing what it is that she's thinking of...and then, in the end, I have to give up as she settles on some very random thing that I never would have come up with...like the dog from the new American Girl movie that I've never even seen. It just gets really old playing games that I have no chance of winning.
4. Fatigue. I'm just tired. Briggs still doesn't sleep through the night. Ever. And since after the kids go to bed is the only time I really have to get things done AND the only time I get to spend with my husband, I don't generally get to bed as early as I should. The end result? I'm just tired. Always, always tired.
5. Decisions. No one ever told me that there would be so many decisions as a parent. Some big. Many small. But they all feel important. I just feel like there are so many things to think about. Do we try to "sleep train" Briggs or just hope he figures out this night time sleep on his own like the girls did? When is a cough or a runny nose or pulling at the ears reason to go to the doctor? Full day Kindergarten or half day Kindergarten? Organic milk or regular? So many decisions.
6. Stuff. I have been struggling with how much stuff my kids have. Our house is full of toys and clothes. I don't want my kids to be spoiled. I don't want my kids to feel entitled. I want my kids to understand how blessed they are, and to have a heart for those who don't have as much. I want my kids to learn that they can't have everything they want. With Christmas coming up, I've been struggling more with how to teach my kids these lessons...and how to best decrease all the stuff in our lives.
7. Work. I love my job and the families that I work with, but sometimes I struggle with the other "stuff" that goes into my job.
8. Lessons. I struggle with the best way to teach my kids lessons. How do you teach your kids to not be bossy? How do you teach your kids to be good friends? How do you teach your kids to move faster? How do you teach your kids to listen, to obey, to respect, to be honest, to have empathy? It's a constant struggle between making sure I'm saying "yes", playing, enjoying, and encouraging while still knowing that I need to set limits, train, correct, and be firm. Sometimes that's a hard balance to find.
I love my family. I love the busy, chaotic, loud, crazy, tiring life that I lead. It won't always be like this. I know that my current struggles will cease and new struggles will emerge. It's just part of the cycle of parenthood. It's not all roses, but it's all totally worth it.