Summer camp is over and I officially have three children at home with me full-time until kindergarten starts on August 12. Which is 264 hours, 12 breakfasts and a multitude of catastrophes away.
My three-child self is a lot more laid back than my one-child self was. I wish my one-child self would have been more like this version, and I bet Maverick wishes so too because he would have gotten to eat a lot more high fructose corn syrup.
So here’s the deal: I’m completely outnumbered and my children know it. They are working their hardest to see how far they can push me in this new situation where there are three of them.
Will she put the baby down to punish me if I throw blocks at my brother?
Will she … CAN SHE? … chase me down whilst holding the baby?
Do the rules still apply when she is changing a diaper? What if it’s a really nasty one?
The answer to all of these questions is HELL YES I CAN, AND I WILL.
The rules of parenting are ever-changing, evolving with the needs of your family. I will forever remain a structured, cleanly person, but I have finally accepted that in order for me to be happy and able to enjoy my life the following things need to happen:
1. I have to have time to myself. Right now that means getting up at 5:15 every single morning. I have coffee, I read email, I meet a friend and we go walking for an hour. Missing that extra sleep sucks. Bad. But you know what sucks worse? Being awakened from a deep sleep by screaming banshees and getting thrown into chaos without your coffee. I’ll take an alarm over that ANY DAY.
2. The boys have to spend at least 2 hours outside every day to keep them from destroying the house. I can’t let Asher go out there without me or he will wander off, but I’ve gotten used to the sauna-like heat of South Louisiana. I parent from a lounge chair, and it’s not that bad at all.
3. I made a rule: I am not allowed to do housework on the weekend. Running a few loads of laundry or dishes doesn’t count. I do not allow myself to mop/vacuum/clean anything for those two days and it is SO FREEING! I realized my “job” never has an end point and I was getting really burned out so I enforce a “weekend” for myself.
4. Early bedtimes. Because I need it.
5. Coffee runs. When the kids are driving me up the wall, I throw them all in the van and turn on a movie for them to stare at and I stand in my silent kitchen for 5 minutes and just breathe. Then we drive to Starbucks for a drive-thru coffee. It’s my go-to when I have HAD IT, and we all need to press the reset button.
6. A glass of wine at night, a candy bar in the afternoon, three cups of coffee in the morning, whatever I have to do to get through the day … I give myself permission. And if the kids will shut up for a few minutes if their mouths are full of Popsicle, then by all means, YES! YOU CAN HAVE ONE OR THREE, JUST BE QUIET AND EAT IT.
Yesterday spit up went down my shirt and into my bra. The other day I couldn’t even locate the spit up that I kept walking through in my house. Maverick tried to glue his hands to my kitchen table with Elmer’s. I found pine cones in the boy’s closet that they somehow smuggled into the house without me knowing, and shredded to tiny bits that were quickly migrating into the rest of the house. It’s really never boring here, but as long as I have #1-6 … it’s all good.