I'm in that stage of motherhood where I just feel a bit overwhelmed all. the. time. I find myself counting children more than I'd like to admit. There's something therapeutic about saying the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 out loud and knowing that all the kids are safe and accounted for. But I won't lie and say that just saying the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 also makes me feel a bit crazy. Like, what in the world was I thinking kind of crazy? Five is A LOT of kids!!
Aside from the sheer number of children squeaking and squawking in all the nooks and crannies of my home, I am also trying to wrangle my hormones and care for my melon-sized breasts, which often make me feel like they're about to take over my body and not in a good way. There are moments where I nearly throw in the towel to my head or my chest and say, "Take me, I'm yours. I surrender." ;) And then I laugh and pull out my trusty breast pump, which really entertains the kids, and I sit there hooked to a machine while it pumps out skim milk in front of my four little bewildered calfs. "Mom, does that hurt your boobies?" "Mom, how do you make milk?" "Mom, are you part cow?" "Mom, can I try that?" Those are just a smattering of questions they throw my way as I sit there, feeling like an animal. A very hungry animal.
Nursing and pumping makes me crazy hungry. There are moments I stand in front of the refrigerator and nearly tear up because I can't find enough protein to fuel my body. And when I can't find protein, I start looking for other options--you know--like milkshakes and cookies because those are sure to fill me up without letting me down. And I gotta keep the melons happy somehow, right? But seriously. It is extremely hard to not cave and give into my Oreo milkshake craving every single day, but I'm doing it somehow.
And oh the hormones. They are there; I feel them. I feel them seeping into the tired veins of my body. The other day I cried for no reason other than I just needed to. Try explaining that to a 5 year old. She looked at me and asked, "Mama, why is your face all red? Are you crying?" I shook my head vigorously, obviously lying. "Mama, why are you crying?" I tried to stop the tears, but the harder I tried, the more they came, as is usually the case. And so she just sat there on the bottom step of our stairs and held my hand as I cried. The memory of it makes my eyes water again. Children are just the best sometimes, especially in those moments. But oh, how I wish my hormones were just sad! I can deal with a certain level of sadness, but nope, they are starting to get agitated as of late. I find myself snapping at the girls: "Why can't you just keep the binkie in his mouth?" "How come you can't eat goldfish like a normal person?" (Probably because no normal person over the age of 4 actually eats goldfish.) "Why can't you stop fighting?" "Why are all these legos everywhere?!!" And so on. Each time I yell, I feel my rib ache. My rib is particularly sensitive to yelling. But stubborn old me and my hormones just holds my rib and yells a little more because in the moment it completely makes sense.
Tonight over dinner I asked Tim why I'm such a pusher. I can be a real bully, especially when I can't control my emotions, hormones, melons, hunger, screaming baby, etc. I have these really great children who honestly try their hardest 75% to be the best kids, and they usually succeed, but on the off chance that they fail--man, I really stick it to them. I push all their buttons until they feel as sad and frustrated as I do, and every single time, in that moment, I feel like a total jerk. Because button pushers (aka bullies) are total jerks. And sometimes, that's me, and I have to live with it, but man, I hate that I do that to my kids.
And so that's where I'm at two weeks into having 5 kids. I absolutely adore Timmy; I do. He is a light in my life. But we're entering the zombie phase where sleep isn't great and the spit up is real. And we're all trying to adjust, and I'm still trying to heal while running after 4 little peanuts, keeping up the house, and working at night. I know someday I'll look back on this all and laugh at this stage, but man, it's crazy right now, and I'm just glad we're all still alive.