Finding a Moment Alone in the Busy Days of Raising a Family
It happened again this morning. The triplets were in their highchairs, our four-year-old was happily fed and playing with some car toys, and my husband and I were planning for a pleasant breakfast. Then everything changed in what seemed an instant.
“I have to go potty,” said one. I looked at the babies and they had somehow managed to eat every Puff off their tray and were demanding more food – NOW! The kettle began to whistle, and I forgot what I was getting out of the pantry. Craziness in the Browne household strikes again!
I know I’m not alone. Every parent from the beginning of time can tell stories of how a seemingly easy-going moment suddenly turns into a scene from a horror movie. A child may come running in covered in blood, the dog or cat runs out the front door, a roof leak pops up out of nowhere, or the toilet/sink/dishwasher (you pick) is not working properly.
I constantly remind myself that how I respond to these moments is what my children will remember and hopefully grow from. If they see me lose it, what will they take away but that it’s okay to yell or throw in the towel or to stomp away angrily. I don’t want them to have that as a common experience, and that helps me stay calm.
I am far from perfect, and my husband and even my four year-old can tell you that! When I do tend to slide toward the chaos, I do my best to pull myself out and just go to work. The boy needs to go potty, okay. The babies need some finger food until I am ready to feed them, okay. Breakfast needs to be made, okay. In the mornings, I am blessed to have my husband with me – feeding babies, getting kids dressed, washing dishes, and folding clothes before he heads to work.
When I’m alone, I sometimes have to work through the babies’ cries, knowing that I can only change one diaper at a time. I think multiples quickly learn how to wait their turn.
And then there is the other daily need–to take time for oneself. My husband gets to unwind during his commute home down the Katy Freeway. I know, not exactly a drive in the country, but he listens to a CD, works out problems, and is alone! I have to take that alone time when I can get it: naptime, when the babies are quietly playing with toys together, or before everyone wakes up. It’s wonderful, it’s needed. And I challenge both moms and dads to find some quiet time to help balance the chaotic periods of the day.
That’s how I do it – on good days. I’d love to hear from you. How do you manage the stress of daily life with the needs you have personally?