Monday, October 10, 2016

Life with three

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Life with three is no joke. Since becoming a work-at-home mom, I often found myself searching for ways to keep busy and to fill our time. That is no longer the case. Most days are a whirlwind of housework, meal prep, errands and play-time, all punctuated with nursing and diaper changes. Since Nolan's arrival, the days rush past before I feel I have even found my footing. Some days, I quickly change into jeans from pajamas just a few minutes before my husband comes home for the day. I go days without so much a swipe of mascara or a glance in the mirror.

The days are not easier, but this has been my most enjoyable postpartum season to date. Changing hormones, exhaustion and an overwhelming to-do list have all nudged at my patience and mood on the regular but even so, I feel happy to be living this life at home with my kids. I am grateful to be able to cram work I love into the margins of our life so that I can spend time at home with my kids while they are so little.

Time moves so incredibly fast. Nolan is filling out his 0 to 3 months clothes, forcing me to take stock of drawers filled with the next size up. Clementine is learning to read, moving on more quickly than I can keep up with. Hazel isn't a baby anymore, she talks and sings nonstop whether or not there is someone nearby to listen.

If I am afraid of anything during this time of my life, it is that I won't see what is so special about our days. I admit, I find I am rushing myself and my children through various tasks because so much of my day is focused on checking something off a list as quickly as possible so I won't fall behind.

In Four Seasons in Rome, Anthony Doerr speaks of the danger of becoming too comfortable in the habits that simplify or order our lives.

"We need habit to get through a day, to get to work, to feed our children," he says. "But habit is dangerous, too. The act of seeing can quickly become unconscious and automatic. The eye sees something--gray-brown bark, say, fissured into broad, vertical plates--and the brain spits out tree trunk and moves on. But did I really take the time to see the tree? I glimpse hazel hair, high cheekbones, a field of freckles and I think Shauna. But did I take the time to see my wife?

This is true of chocolates and marriages and hometowns and narrative structures. Complexities wane, miracles become unremarkable, and if we're not careful, pretty soon we're gazing out at our lives as if through a burlap sack."

As much as I appreciate mornings, like today, when I dress three little bodies, comb three heads of hair and usher them out the door without a single tear, I am choosing to remain wary of efficiency. It is necessary, of course, for our survival most days, but I am fearful it will narrow my focus or inhibit the spontaneous moments of connection that overvalue any item on my to-list by a long shot.

I suppose that is why I keep coming back to this space, whether I take months off for mental health or a few weeks to relearn how to swaddle and nurse a new babe. These blog posts are my means of slowing down, of capturing the things I refuse to forget, to remind myself to look again when what I am seeing each day becomes far to familiar.

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