I learned a lot the first few months after Lauren was born. Of course, at that point, Lauren was still a tiny little thing that wasn't even rolling. Yes, she needed a lot of attention, but it was the type of attention that could easily be given from the comfort of the couch. Now that she's so close to walking, life has changed. (I know what you're thinking..."no duh!") So, things have changed, and I've learned a LOT.
- At first, just getting through the day with everyone intact and fed was a huge achievement. (Seriously! Kudos to all the new moms out there!) But eventually, the laundry starts taking over the closet, there is no more counter space for dirty dishes, and you finally get tired of stepping over the 467 toys strewn across the floor. The house wouldn't clean itself, no matter how hard I wished. Somehow, I started finding time to actually get things done. That's not to say my house is always clean, not by a long shot, but I don't feel like I'm headed towards hoarder territory. (Have you seen those shows? ICK!)
- A house that isn't perfectly clean all the time is TOTALLY OKAY. When I lay down at night and reflect back on everything I did during the day, the most important thing isn't a shining floor or a sparkling bathroom. It's watching the kids wrestle with Tim, laughing their heads off. It's seeing Brenden show his little sister how to use a crayon. It's singing patty cake for the 300th time, constantly amazed that Lauren knows all the hand movements. I'll trade a clean house for all of those wonderful memories any day.
- Even though I knew it would happen, I was not prepared for Lauren to be mobile. I've become a lot more relaxed about how much I will let her explore, but I have to keep an eye on her constantly or she will inevitably end up in the bathroom with her hands in the toilet. (Soooo groooooss.) At first, this mentally tired me more than I thought was possible. Seriously, my eyes felt like they were crossing by the end of the day. And now? It's like second nature. Somehow, I'm able to do several things at once and still know where she is and what she's doing. Is this that "eyes in the back of my head/mother instinct" that everyone talked about?
- Preschool is one of the best inventions ever and it saved my sanity. Tuesday and Thursday have become some of the most relaxing days of my week. I drop Brenden off at school, lay Lauren down for her nap as soon as I get home, and I have a few hours to myself. Then I get a few hours of mommy and Lauren time before picking up Brenden from school. Brenden comes home and goes straight to bed for a nap and Lauren takes her second nap at the same time. More me time!
- Parenting a 3 year old, at least my little guy, is even harder than I had imagined. One day he'll be great, the next day it's like a demon has possessed him. One day time outs will curb any bad behavior, the next day they won't make any kind of difference. Sometimes he'll go from awesome child to demon and back again, several times, in one day. We're constantly having to change how we handle certain situations, which is exhausting. Knowing that he's going to keep going through these stages, that we'll have to be ever evolving parents, makes my brain hurt.
- Every little annoying thing, every bad moment, every time I've wanted to pull my hair out, is totally worth it. Hearing Brenden say, "Mommy, I love you," watching Lauren's face light up when she sees me, watching them laugh and play together...perfection.