As you may or may not know, I went through a really rough time this past fall (Go HERE to read about it) with the adjustment to our second child, Tyler.
I was feeling sorry for myself for many reasons & I felt overwhelmed and alone every day. I couldn't focus for what seemed like days/weeks on any one thing in my life. Doing anything outside of my small comfort zone was very difficult for me. Brian and I both had trying days where we dealt with our 3 year old girl melting down for what seemed like hours on end. We went through a period where we started to question if we were good parents and 'what had we done' to make Julianna act out like she was doing? She would meltdown over anything and everything (she still does!). We even took a class at her school on "Emotion coaching" - about how to listen to and talk to your 3 year old on their emotional level. It does work but not always.
In hindsight, I know Julianna's acting out is partly 'just being 3 years old' and partly her way of dealing with Tyler now crowding her once 'only-child' world & partly her being very misunderstood due to her inability to communicate her emotions to us. Tyler had a lot of doctor's appointments and tons of attention after he was born due to his condition. While we tried to spread our time evenly between both children, there were times we had no choice but to pay more attention to Tyler's needs due to his Congenital Heart Defect. (Go here for his story).
I think over time, it took it's toll on Julianna in some way. She seems to understand that Tyler needs to go to the 'special' doctor (cardiologist) but how can we be certain what she actually thinks in her little 3 year old mind? Who knows how she processed and dealt with Tyler's surgery and recovery period in her little world? She couldn't really communicate her feelings to us like an adult. She sees Tyler's scar. She doesn't pay any attention to it because it's part of him and she doesn't question it. I still can't help but feel major mom guilt about not giving her the time she deserved when his needs were deemed greater. I know most moms have mom guilt once they have a second child, because they are no longer able to give that same attention to the first child like they did before. Throw in a child born with a Heart Defect and Open Heart Surgery. You wanna talk Mom Guilt now!? It was Mom Guilt squared!
Adding a second child to our family was harder than I thought. I never anticipated all of the craziness another child would to our household routine. We went from a pretty solid & calm daily routine to constant chaos of the 'back & forth' of having to deal with the baby and the three year old at the same time. One was screaming because he pooped himself for the 4th time that day while the other was melting down over there being no chicken nuggets and band-aids left in the house. Thank goodness for my husband and all that he does. I would be lost without him. I mean truly completely utterly lost!
So anyway - From May to December I was dealing with new baby, baby having open heart surgery, my recovery from c-section, recovery of Tyler from OHS and very frequent (lengthy) doctor visits, baby blues, pre-menopause starting, going back to work in September, everything our house decided to break and needed to be replaced, Julianna turning 3 the day before Tyler's surgery and us having to cancel her party, potty training the girl, eating out of control (and not taking care of me!), madness of planning for & getting through the rough holidays.
The daily chaos of my life got so much so that I felt like I lost my identity and started to lose site of who I was and what my life was even about. I longed for me-time & found it hard to make a singular decision some days due to the constant fog I was in. I essentially stopped my photography and blogging, two things I really enjoyed doing for me. I was eating horribly and not taking care of myself in any way.
So back to the Awakening that I was talking about way up top.
All that time I spent worrying, stressing out, guilting, being overwhelmed, not functioning, and spinning in circles was mostly stemming from one thing. I wanted my old life back. I wanted my life before kids back. I missed being able to do anything we wanted to do when we wanted to do it at the drop of a hat. I missed the days of not spending a nauseating sum of money on daycare and baby supplies. I missed going to the gym and doing things that were so much easier pre-kid. I missed having my husband all to myself all of the time. Greedy? Yes. Honest? Sure.
I thought I could still (somehow) have the freedom I had before kids. The freedom to jump up and go where you want, when you want. I missed that so much! I missed the freedom that all couples without kids take for granted. Brian and I do not have much help, but yes, we get a babysitter and do date nights when we can. Yes, we do get out and do plenty of family things (with the kids). Brian and I do spend quality time together when we are not exhausted from the day. We get out and do lot's of things but the dynamic has changed with 2 more family members.
Even when it was just one child, things were pretty easy. Enter second child- and it got way harder. Like really way harder. Please do not misunderstand me; I love my husband, Julianna and Tyler so much so that it makes my heart burst into tiny pieces. I know that there was a piece of my heart I never knew existed until I had my kids & they fill a void I never knew I had. I thank God for them every day when I see their beautiful smiling faces. I love being their mommy. I have to think that other moms go through this acceptance of 'your life has changed forever' at different times after their kids are born. Maybe some don't go through it at all. I don't know if any of this makes sense. I can only speak for myself.
My awakening is this:
Life WILL never be the same. Our life HAS been changed forever. It WILL never go back to the way it was pre-kids. How could I even think it could or would? I wasted a lot of time thinking about what I missed combined with my crazy mental state of pre-menopause and baby blues ... and probably some kind of post-traumatic stress syndrome from Tyler's surgery. I guess that is the incredibly massive adjustment period I went through. But here's the thing. Why would I want to go back to a time before these amazing & extraordinary little babies entered our life? My kids have changed my life in ways I never imagined possible. So, instead of looking over my shoulder constantly and longing for the freedom of my past, it's time to look forward and know that I can't change anything that has happened in the past couple of years (good, bad or indifferent).
It's time to embrace the future and look forward to each and every blessed day with my family. It sounds too obvious and very simple. Time to move on. Time to stop wasting time. Sometimes it just takes many hours of deep thought to realize the obvious thing that is right in front of your face. Everything happens for a reason. Time to look forward and make the absolute best of every single day I have with my family. I am working on another post about HOW I am changing and streamlining things in our every day life. (Hint; Healthier lifestyle!)
Some pictures I took of Julianna this week. I had to bribe her with ice cream to get her to agree to sit for me.
I am in love with my little girl's infectious smile!