I’ve heard them all and wouldn’t want to hear them again. Everywhere I go, people I meet see me with three kids and they ask if I’m going for the fourth. And when I say, no, thank you, they say why not, you’re so pro already, you should just have one more. They assume that just because I upload pictures of smiling children on my facebook, it means I have it all made and am having a smashing good time with three kids.
Not that there are no moments of smashing good times but I’m telling you, some days I think to myself: what the hell was I thinking, having three kids all at one go.
It’s really very, very tough. Even that is an understatement. Especially if you’re a hands-on mother and have no granny night care or weekend care. It’s even tougher, being a full-time working mom. There are no breaks, no date nights, no me-time. So I’ll state outright here that I.do.not.have.it.altogether. Come be the fly on my wall.
When it’s time to pick my kids from daycare after work everyday, my stomach churns – there’s a mix of excitement to see the kids, a sense of guilt for leaving them there for the last ten hours and a feeling of dread. Dread of meal hour, tuck-in hour and witching hour. The moment the gates of our flat are unlocked, it’s the cue for my kids to become whiny, sticky and completely incapable of following instructions. I know that’s supposed to be normal because they want my attention, having been deprived of it all day.
So every evening, Ben and Becks would whine non-stop to be carried, showered, fed and cuddled by me. The baby, having not seen me the whole day, is desperate for comfort from my boobs. I struggle to do the juggling act, trying to shove dinner, fruits and a little treat of jelly down their throats while nursing the baby. I try to read them books but the story would always be unfinished or interrupted. I say no all the time to Ben when he runs to me with activity packs of sand art, craft, sticker fun and join-the-dots, and end up feeling so guilty for not being able to do something with him. I break up fights eighty percent of my time in the evening. I run out of patience and lose my cool and sanity usually by 8pm. At night when they all need me for the tucking-in, I use one arm to hold and breastfeed the baby, one hand to hold my son’s hand because he needs to hold hands to fall asleep and one foot to pat my daughter. I take three-hour naps at night still, because Becks is still pulling her night terror stunts on me a nightly basis, complete with screams and ear-piercing shrieks. Doctors online and offline tell us that this is probably due to her need for more attention – she might not have had enough in the day, so she’s unconsciously waking up at night to get it. As of today, Baby Nat is in his tenth day of diarrhea. And with loose watery green stools eight to nine times daily, he’s got a blistered bum and a bad case of nappy rash, and I got a broken heart every time I change his diaper. To seal the deal, I’m totally exasperated communicating instructions to the helper who requires a repetition of anything I say at least five frigging times; some days it got so bad I ended up doing the thing I asked her to do myself – like preparing the baby’s bathwater or microwaving my food – because by the time I repeat myself five times, I might as well do what’s needed.
I know that in a larger scheme of things, this too shall pass and I will soon lament the lost years and cry my eyeballs out when my kids don’t need me like this anymore. I know that many people have it worse and they probably have to deal with problems bigger than mine and situations more dire than mine. I know that I ought to be thankful that we can at least afford a helper to do the never-ending bags of laundry, keep our house clean so we can be house-proud and wash the dishes so we can all hang out and spend family time together. I know I ought to be grateful that my tag team partner doesn’t complain whenever he gets tagged (and it’s very often) and supports me in every way possible, as much as he knows how. And I know, that God has given me three beautiful children, called me to a meaningful profession and I should really stop complaining and ranting like this.
For now, I am feeling totally inadequate, exhausted and overwhelmed. Please, somebody, tell me things will only get better.