As a mother of 6 children (5 on Earth, 1 in Heaven), I often get asked, "HOW many kids do you have? Are you CRAZY?".
Duh. Isn't the answer obvious?
I'd HAVE to be a little insane in order to become a mother at all.
For me, being pregnant means 12 weeks of nausea and vomiting, hibernation due to extreme exhaustion, mood swings like you wouldn't believe, and (my personal favorite) weight gain. Who in their right minds would sign on for this, even ONCE?!?
And then, there is labor and birth. My first child was a 57-hour labor during which I pushed for the last 7 hours (yes, you read that correctly), and still ended up with a c-section. Note to newly pregnant women: do NOT think that peanut butter on everything will EVER result in a small baby. And still, I proceeded to welcome more children into my life.
Still think any woman who has even 1 child is sane? Need more convincing? Read on...
By most people's standards, I've been very lucky with my newborns. Only one baby has ever been colicky. Of course, he re-defined the word "colic", but still...
Even a good baby requires many diaper changes, many hours spent breastfeeding (if you breastfeed), and miles of walking, bouncing, and swaying. Oh wait... did I mention laundry? Apparently, newborns and Dreft have a standard agreement in which the newborns promise to soil as many clothes and linens as is humanly possible, in exchange for their own laundry detergent which costs more than regular laundry detergent.
Toddlers. Gotta love 'em. No, I mean it. You are literally REQUIRED to love them so that you won't harm them out of frustration. Hence, the chubby cheeks and little lisps. And, I DO love them.. generally, while they are sweetly sleeping in my arms.
Relax! I'm kidding!
But, the little stinkers are very labor-intensive. Chasing them, potty-training (a whole separate post!), feeding them umpteen times each day, playing the same games over and over (ditto on books. songs, etc), having them hang off your legs while you cook. The list is endless.
Got the straight-jacket ready yet? No? Let me try to sum up the rest ASAP.
Preschoolers: they are craft-crazy. They seem to crave playdoh, crayons, paints, etc. Basically, anything that prevents cleanliness.
Of course, by this age they have learned how to press more than the buttons on the TV and your cell-phone; they have learned how to press all of your "buttons". There is nothing like a 4-year-old who purposely hides your car keys every morning just to see you spin out of control. Precious.
School-age: "Mom, where do we keep the milk?" "Mom, Janie-Sue* is eating old cereal she found in the couch, and she won't give me ANY!" "Why can't I vacuum the dog's fur right off her body? That way I won't have to sweep." That's just the tip of the iceberg, my friends.
I haven't even mentioned explaining the birds and the bees (especially fun when they bring their friends along!), last-minute bake sale requests, begging/threatening them to clean up guinea pig cages/dog poop, and mediating disputes over dirty socks. (My father was right! Kids really will argue over spit on a doorknob!)
Now, my experience goes as far as a thirteen-year-old son, so I cannot (yet) speak to dating, high school drama, helping with calculus homework, or (cringe) driving. But, I'm sure it can't help restore any sanity that I might have once possessed.
So, here we are. I MUST be crazy because I signed on for this challenge/honor more than once, right?
But, it's a craziness that breeds warmth, love, compassion, humility, laughter, funny stories, and a deeper connection with my husband and God (a real necessity in my profession!). In what other capacity can you obtain all of these attributes on any given day?
Of course, I'm crazy, so what do I know? I guess I'll have to plead "guilty by reason of insanity"... GLADLY!
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.