This morning, I made pancakes for breakfast. I was extremely tired, and in a little rush to get the kids out the door. We were very low on milk, and cereal was not an option, so I decided to just bite the bullet and make pancakes.
Due to gestational diabetes, I was deprived of pancakes for the past 6 months, so I was looking forward to eating a few of my own as well.
I made, what I thought, was a ton of pancakes, and went about feeding the kids, and all of the hustle and bustle that entails. I tried to set two pancakes aside for me, but each time I went to my plate to take a bite, they were gone.
I was rationing what was left of the milk, so that we could all have at least half a glass. After all, who wants to eat pancakes without milk? I tried to set aside a cup for myself.
Every single time I tried to eat, or get a drink, someone needed more syrup, help cutting their pancake, a drink, I needed to flip more pancakes, or something had spilled. The normal breakfast stuff.
Finally, when all was said and done, and the breakfast tornado blasted it's way through the kitchen, I went over to my plate of pancakes. They were cold, soggy, and pretty much gross. I decided to just eat them anyway, but right at that moment, Luke wanted one more. I sighed, and gave him one of mine. The good one. The other one had pretty much disintegrated from the syrup, and had to be thrown away.
I tried to tell myself it was fine, and I would just have toast instead, after I made lunches for the kids. We had two slices of bread left after I made the kids lunches. I had been deprived of toast the last 6 months too, so this would be yummy as well.
As I grabbed the bread slices, to put them in the toaster, Mary reminded me that she needed an extra sandwich today, because she is staying after school to help with the book fair. I quickly threw together her sandwich with the last two pieces of bread. So much for toast, but at least Mary wouldn't be hungry after school.
I then decided to just have instant breakfast with my small glass of milk. I had also been deprived of that for 6 months, and instant breakfast does have lots of vitamins.
As I reached for the milk, Ben apologetically let me know that it was gone. He didn't realize that I still had not been able to eat or drink anything yet, and had finished off the milk.
I quietly said that it was ok, I drank one of the kids nasty juice boxes for breakfast, and for whatever reason had to fight back tears for the next little while.
I could not figure out why I was so upset, when it hit me.
This breakfast was a symbol of everything I have been doing the past two weeks.
I have been giving all of me, and all that I have, to try to keep my family above water while we all adjust to the arrival of our sweet Molly. I am trying to give everyone what they need, just like the good, warm, filling breakfast, and when all is said and done, there are times when there is nothing left for me but a juice box and all of its empty calories.
I have come to learn, that this is what being a mother is, and somehow, God helps that small nasty juice box, be good enough and filling enough, to get me through the day. God is good.
As we prepared for Molly to join us, Ben and I were mentally preparing ourselves for another colicky baby. All of our newborns have had stomach problems, and have had sever colic from 3 weeks up to 9 months. We were as prepared as we could be, when Molly finally arrived.
Imagine our joy and shock, that so far, Molly has been wonderful, and has not cried for more than about a total of 30 minutes each day. That beats the 9+ hours of crying we are used to. It has been such a blessing, and we do not take it for granted.
In all of this preparation for Molly's arrival, I never once thought that the biggest challenge would come in the form of the adjustment the other kids would go through.
To be honest, I have never even noticed any adjustment problems when our babies have come. It may be because the newborn is so difficult, that I have not been able to focus on much else, or because God blessed the other kids with great behavior, because he knew how terribly challenging a constantly screaming newborn was. This time around, it has been completely different.
This has completely thrown me, and has really changed the way I mother and parent.
I thought I was sacrificing and giving my all before....boy was I wrong.
Immediately after arriving home with Molly, I noticed that Luke was definitely "off." He was being extremely loud, demanding, and throwing tantrums right and left. A few days later, Mary and Sam started acting up at random times, and over tiny things. Sam threw a tantrum that I have not seen from him, ever, over changing his shirt. Mary would burst into tears over the smallest things. William began yelling, and hitting way more, and Luke and William began fighting constantly.
I felt like my family was sinking all around me, and I didn't know what on earth to do about it. It was a horrible feeling, and so extremely difficult. With Molly being so good, our schedule really wasn't that different, and we weren't paying any less attention to the kids. I was pretty confused with the chaos unfolding at every turn.
Either way though, a baby brings change, and obviously, however small I thought it was, it was having a huge impact.
I spent a lot of time on my knees, and with the help of a loving Heavenly Father, I have been slowing learning how to meet the needs of each of my individual children in a greater light than I have ever known.
I have also been blessed, somehow, with the time, strength, and energy to meet these needs, and also meet the needs of a newborn.
With all of these blessings I have been given, I have been asked to give something in return...
All of me.
Mary needs time. She needs a listening ear, with undivided attention.
Sam needs to be praised, played with, and watched when doing his sports or bike jumps.
William needs alone time, and lots of physical touch.
Luke needs tons of hugs, kisses, and time being held.
Molly needs to be touched, fed, looked in the eyes, talked to, burped, and snuggled.
Ben needs hugs, time, words, and sleep.
With some sleep depravation (though not nearly as bad this time around), soccer twice a week, karate twice a week, homework, tumbling twice a week, Ben working in the yard all evening, parent teacher conferences, karate promotion, juggling feeding a baby while entertaining a 2 year old and 4 year old, being home bound with said 2 year old and 4 year old, making meals, keeping up on laundry, keeping up on dishes, keeping up on cleaning the house, walking William to and from the bus stop twice a day, and trying to deal with the added fighting and emotions in the house...
I am noticing that I am spending any possible extra minute or few minutes, where I am not doing one of the above thing, trying to meet the needs of whoever happens to be around me at that moment.
Normally, I would grab any spare minute or second to try to rest, regroup, or just do nothing at all. Now, I am filling those spare moments with trying to fill the cups and meet the needs of my family, in order to smooth out the transition and help my children know they are each individually loved and special.
I am literally giving all of me, every second I have.
As crazy as this sounds, and as tiring and hard as it is, somehow I am noticing that as a mother, I am growing and enjoying motherhood more in ways I did not notice before.
It is harder than ever before, and more exhausting than ever before, but somehow, I am being strengthened more than ever before.
In focusing more on meeting these important needs of my family, I feel more fulfilled, and I am bonding more with my children. Everything has become deeper and more enriched.
I am tired, but I have been strengthened.
I am so short on time, and yet seem to always have enough of it to get everything done.
I am stressed, and yet, I have an underlying sense of peace that I am fulfilling my diving calling as a mother to it's fullest potential right now.
I am humbled and weak and worried that I am not good enough, but yet I feel a sense of divine power, encouragement and importance in my role, more than I ever have before.
It seems that the more I give and the more I try to mother and nurture these 5 precious gifts I have been given, the more I am strengthened and blessed. We are slowly getting our feet back on the ground, one day, and one moment at a time. And we may just come out of this closer and stronger than before...if we let it.
God makes the tiny moments in the day where I just barely catch my breath, or where I can try to meet the needs of a family member, be good enough and strengthening enough, for me to keep going and to keep giving, and for my family members to feel loved and fulfilled.
He will turn my juice boxes into pancakes, as long as I keep making them.