Keeping Up

Lately it feels as if I've been constantly chasing after my own footsteps.
Day by day, struggling in just about every aspect of role as wife and mother, to keep it all together.
Constantly falling just short of ever feeling on top of any of it.

Funny only because it was not that long ago that we had a house full of toddlers, in diapers, on strict nap routines which meant we didn't venture out of the house on a whim unless it came to downright dire circumstances. It was just too hard, psychically, to be out and about for simple pleasures. Or to run trite errands. For a good year I was carting around two babies and chasing after another. It was a rough, long year. By all means, getting out of the house to grab, say, something like milk was a whole event in itself.

Now. It's trying in a whole new way. As is the nature of motherhood, I know. These days its more of a frantic hustle. Weekly. Non stop to and fro. To the grocery store, to the school, to the other end of town to the preschool, to the skate parks, the friend's house, to the library, the dr. appointments. And back and forth and back and forth. The errands, the events, the obligations. All the stuff you don't take into account when your babies are babies. Fresh dedications that come with older children that involve So, Much, Driving. To drop off, to pick up, back to drop off, to help out, back to pick up. And so on. And so forth. Facing the plight of early morning traffic. Clinging to coffee. Buckling the baby. Praying for patience.

On Mondays, for instance, from 8:30 until 3:00 it's a consistent back and forth across town. I dread it. And keep thinking there has got to be a better solution, when deep in my heart I know this is just the way it is at this stage in life. The curse of the carpool, unmistakably, a big chunk of what goes into raising kids. And if then if feeling on the verge of constant failure was not enough, I am also struggling with the overwhelming sense of guilt attached to all that - outside of the kids and their consistent school duties - I also can't seem to stay on top of either. Mainly: laundry and emails, and all the basic social media obligations binding us now'a days. Because as much enjoyment and entertainment as these social connections bring us, let's be honest - at some point, there are certain aspects of it that start to feel like time sucking cyber vortexes which are incredibly distracting and even demanding when you allow it to be.

And then there's the guilt, I know all too often I fall asleep cursing the fact of so many unanswered text messages sitting in my inbox, lost books, unrequited instagram questions and / or complements. Paper work waiting on my time and signature, family facebook sentiments that stand unacknowledged, phone calls needing my attention, medical bills waiting to be sorted, site words to instill, and so on. It's like everywhere I turn there is a something, somewhere, waiting for my full and focused attention. And I just can't seem to get it all in one place at the same time for the life of me.

Naturally, in the midst of such anxiety I can't help but wonder if I must be doing it all wrong. That everyone else out there manages to pull it all together. Seamlessly. That the secret to sufficient time management has somehow escaped just me. And then I start to berate my sense of organization and lack of motivation all over again. Which is when I want to lay in bed, and cry.

And then there are some days, I just let it all go.

I sit in a sea of laundry and kiss the baby. I walk away from a sink full of filthy dishes to drink my coffee where it is clean. I turn off the computer, close the emails and take a bath instead, I watch bad tv and vow to face the weight of those remaining tasks when I can. When energy is renewed. I reveal in the chaos and pat their heads with genuine pride upon seeing that last page of homework complete even when it comes two hours past the time I might have preferred it. I bathe them in spite of the line of chores that call out to me from the other corners of the house. I give up, altogether, on certain things when I need to, and promise to work harder in the face of each new waking day on others.

And I tell myself that maybe, it's never going to come together the way I want it. That maybe, it's just LIFE these days.

On the bright side, the skins of these new stresses have forced me to reconsider many of the life long habits I've come to lean on. And with that have come some drastic changes. Simple, silly things like preparing when I can, the night before, making sure lunches are packed, and shoes by the door. Little things that help ease the load in plenty of small ways. Preparation, in any regard, has never been my strong point so I'm learning more and more to force it. Hanging a calendar has helped tremendously. Having a constant visual for the month in front of me is the only way I get through at this point. Again, something super simple and common to a lot of folks but not something I ever paid much mind to until I felt like every single day was coming at me with a surprise sucker punch around mid morning. Most of the time, begrudgingly, even before I've had my coffee.

Lastly, I've dedicated what energy I do have remaining at the end of each day, to clearing out pieces of the house so that we have more space than STUFF. One factor I've pinned as the reason behind some of this growing anxiety. Weight that comes with clutter is so not worth it. And so far it's been a slow and sporadic endeavor, but I have faith in the finished result. I have to. Otherwise I start the self berating cycle all over again and nothing changes and the weight only grows.

So, there you have it. My state of mind currently. Realizing that a home with four kids is more messy, and harder, and more chaotic than I ever anticipated. But the same goes for the perks of a large family too. So I stand determined to make the most of it in the face of such looming self defeat. After all, the good times always outweigh the bad. We all know that. It's learning to embrace the ride and the tides as we go. Priorities shift, life changes as they grow. New obstacles to endure with every new phase. But the payoff being plenty of new ripe adventures to be had along the way.