Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Reflections of a SAHM of 3 babies...and advice needed (at the end)

Warning...this is a long post. If you are the type that likes to give advice, just skip ahead till the end.  There's where I ask for advice :)

“This is the life you chose, what you said you always wanted, to be a stay at home mom…you just have to remember that”.

Those were Aaron’s words to me Monday night when I told him that taking care of our three boys was going to be way harder than I thought.  He had stayed home sick for the day and half rested/half worked so I was solo with the children. It was a rough day.  And, as I was telling him how very difficult I think life is going to be, those were his words to me. My response?  Clearly I stormed out of the room, walked to our back bedroom and just kind of thought about things.  

When Aaron came back a few minutes later, this is how I explained it…

It would be like if you got your dream job and that job was everything you ever wanted.  But, once you started, you realized it was way harder than you intended.  You still want the job, it is still your dream job, but the knowledge that there is no going back is kind of, sort of, terrifying.  

Then, I think, he got it.  After talking, it was decided I should ask people who have been here for some tips and that I need to give myself a bit of a break.

So, I went to a facebook group I am involved with and asked for advice.  Got some 
really great stuff and some encouraging words. I went to bed reflecting and I woke up this morning bound and determined to have a better day.  I decided the following 10 things were going to help tremendously in this process.


It sucks and I hate it, but I have to go to bed earlier.  Nursing the baby at night is so wonderful, but getting three-four hours of sleep does not work for me.  From now on, when I can, it will be in bed by 8:30-9:00 and asleep by 10:00 (I do the internets in bed before sleeping).  Thank God for DVR.


Nightly touch-bases with the husband with no electronics, no kid distractions, just conversation.  After our talk last night I felt three thousand times better.  My husband is my best friend, it’s just a fact.  Spending a few moments with the bestie does the soul a lot of good.


Selflessness is hard and this is going to be the ultimate exercise in selflessness.  Three children that need me to do anything (they are not independent by any means yet at 2 1/2 , just barely 1 and a new born) are going to demand selflessness and I need to accept that.  The issue is, I am so damn selfish that this is really hard. 


Giving myself a bit of a break for the next month or so.  As I finish up c-section healing, some things are just going to give.  And I need to be okay with that.


Making lunch in the am when at least one child is napping.  Meal times are a biznatch.  If the food is prepped and ready to go, I can exhale a bit at lunch time.

The family room will not be clean.  It just won’t.  I am mustering all the strength I got post-operation to lift my three children during the day.  The up and down of toy cleaning/under the couch looking, etc, sweeping, etc… is just not gonna happen.  The husband will clean toys at night until I am a bit more healed.


No new skillz for the big ones until the little one is older and I am recovered.  The day before the husband went back to work, I had the brilliant plan to place a kid table/kid chairs in our kitchen for the big boys to do meals on.  IDIOT MOVE! They won’t sit in their chairs, they throw their food, etc… I am VERY dumb for thinking this would be the time to teach them a new skill.  Back to the high chair and toddler chair for at least another month or so.


Free time is pretty much gone out of my life until the kids are a bit older.  That might seem a bit extreme, but knowing it brings comfort, rather than being stressed. Today, Joey/JP were napping at the same time- I wanted to sit and do nothing. Instead, I cleaned the kitchen.  Before I did, I told myself, ‘it’s gotta be done and you’re the one that’s gotta do it’.  I feel good knowing this is just going to be life for a bit.


Doing little things constantly.  My mom always gave this advice.  To pick up slowly and constantly throughout the day.  Guess what?  She might have been on to something.  After using the bathroom today, I quickly cleaned and straightened.  It took five minutes and I felt better about the bathroom.  This will be my new gameplan.


When nursing, every door in the house gets locked and a ‘show’ gets turned on.  The big boys are confined to two rooms- and I can pretty much see them/distract them for the 20 minutes it takes to nurse.  

Done and done.

I felt really good about these 10 things.  Today was going to be a better day than Monday.  And then lunch time hit.  And all hell broke loose.  Joey, who we have some concerns about anyway, likes to cry. A lot. All day long (don’t worry, we are working on figuring out why).  Someone suggested we try to see if putting him in his crib would help him see he can’t just cry all day long. I decided to do that today  (I broke the no new skillz rule- dumb me).  He pretty much lost his mind and screamed for the next ½ hour.  Then the baby, who has not cried at all, started crying because he wasn't being nursed when he wanted. However, it was impossible to nurse him because I was dealing with Joey, and little A.  Oh, little A was screaming because he didn't like the lunch options or that he was scolded for chucking turkey slices across the kitchen.  So, for real, for about 10 minutes, all three of my boys were crying. It was like coo coo land around here. And you know what I did--- I remained calm, and here’s why.

(this part might be a bit extreme for my non-religious friends)

I saw what was happening as a temptation from the devil and prayed through it. I am not one to get overly spiritual about things.  But, being a mother is my vocation.  It is what I have felt called to my whole life long.  And, the last couple days, I have been doubting my vocation a bit.  This morning, I am feeling good about my 10 steps to sanity and BAM- worse lunch ever.  Which brings me to the most important step.

My spiritual life is gonna have to be number 1. I have been ‘excusing’ myself from a crazy active faith life the last year or so.  I have been telling myself I am doing the best I can do, but I haven’t really been leaning on God much.  Lemme tell you friends, there is no way I am gonna be able to do this insanity without fully relying on grace to raise these babies.  You see, the worst part about self-doubt is wondering if I am a good mom or not. Wondering if I am screwing it up.  Wondering if I am being a good enough example to my children, so that one day they desire a relationship with Jesus and heaven.  I have a whole post coming on that, but for right now, lemme just tell you the biggest voice in my head is shouting that I am failing at those things.  Some of it is true, but some of it is nothin’ but the devil.  And, together, JC and I are gonna work on kicking him out.  

And best part, after praying through the crazy lunch, my darn Joey pushed open the bathroom door and started playing in the toilet.  ARGH!  Jokes on you buddy, I had just disinfected it because of revelation #9!!!!  What what!!!

Now the advice part.

If you have been in a similar situation before…with multiple children in diapers, what were your ‘best practices’?  Maybe you have been blessed to have three children REALLY close together, maybe you have worked at a day care, maybe you babysit multiple young children…but those of you who have been there- what do you do to stay sane?
Here’s the wording I used last night…
What do you do to keep your house clean? To keep kids distracted while feeding a newborn? To be able to leave a room, without being afraid that your one year old is going to tip over the bassinet, or punch your 2 week old in the face on accident? To discipline with follow through, when sometimes it is really hard to follow through on a threat because you've got a kid attached to you nursing, while your 2.5 year old is stealing your 1 year olds toys etc. Basically, what are some ‘life hacks’ to make this a bit easier?
 I just need some ideas from people who have done this before.

Sidenote- I know so many wonderful people have offered to help.  I can’t even tell you how many meals we have in our fridge, my dear friend/cousin have offered to spend a few hours here on the regular to give me a break, etc… I love that we have people in our lives so willing to help us.  BUT, I promise this isn’t a cry for more help.  The advice portion is more like, ‘what’s the best way to do this, from people who have done this before!’.  Thanks thanks thanks in advance!!!

Cute table...bad idea :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

7 Quick Takes- published a bit early

A picture of John Paul Francis...because, why not?
Is it weird that I always feel a bit rebellious when I publish these a few hours early? Like, I am doing something wrong :)  Rebel that I am! Here we go!
--- 1 ---
Who knew the ol' heart would keep gettin' bigger
Photo courtesy of Russ Wasylyshyn
Love multiplied increases love.  Who’d  have thunk it (well, every mother that ever had children I suppose), but it turns out our hearts really do just increase in their capacity to love.  Since bringing home John Paul, I can feel a distinct difference in how much/well I am loving my other two children and husband.  It’s like my capacity to love has just grown tremendously.  I am noticing the kindness of my oldest child more distinctly, I am aware of the sensitive of my middle child in a new way, and I am in awe of the sacrifices my husband makes for the good of our family.  Of course, with that comes the not so pleasant feeling of knowing I am failing my children and husband in oh so many ways. But alas, this work in progress will continue to be worked I suppose.  In the meantime, I sit with the miracle of an expanding heart and feel thankful for the gift of an openness to life.
--- 2 ---
Speaking of an openness to life…um, I am not pregnant anymore!  It is so awesome to not be pregnant (please take that the right way, because I do, of course, realize what a gift and miracle pregnancy is).  It’s so funny, home and recovering from a c-section I would take ANY DAY over pregnancy sickness, pregnancy tiredness, etc… I love the fact I am not pregnant so much that sometimes I just smile, even when in pain and think, ‘it could be worse, I could still be pregnant’.  I am so thankful for pregnancy, because it is the means by which God has chosen our little family to grow, but yeah, I don’t dig the process.
My sweetheart
Photo courtesy of Russ Wasylyshyn
So turns out you veteran moms were right, the newborn stage becomes more special with each child.  I am someone who has always said I could pretty much take or leave the newborn stage.  It is a stage one must move through in order to get to the good stuff, when personality starts to show, kids begin to talk, etc…And, there is still truth to that.  Lil’ Aaron’s age is SO MUCH FUN and I can’t wait to have all my kids walking and talking.  That being said, for the first time, much like I was warned about, I am loving the quiet peace and bonding that occurs in this stage. I love pulling John Paul out of his bassinet to nurse at night. I love our snuggles.  I love watching him sleep.  I just love how wonderful the last week has been.  Truth be told, Big Aaron is home right now, I am still recovering from surgery, and I am sure that makes a significant difference.  My job has been pretty much to love on my kids this last week, which will change on Monday when it’s back to reality.  But for now, I am going to revel in the miracle that is my newest child and thank God for the time He gives us to get to know each other during the first few weeks.
Don't let the sweetness of this picture fool you
Photo courtesy of Russ Wasylyshyn
That was lovely, what I just said up there.  And every word was true.  But, for the sake of keeping it real, I have two things to tell you.  Though I have tried to deny it for the past month, there is no more denying it. My eldest child officially says the word, ‘sh—‘.  And, to be more specific, he says, ‘oh sh—‘ in a frustrating voice when he is frustrated.  You guys, I knew my mouth was going to catch up with me one day, and turns out it has.  There is nothing cute about a 2 year old repeatedly saying, ‘oh sh—‘.  Turns out, Big A and I have got to quickly clean up our vocal act, or we are in HUGE trouble.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, the other day, lil’ A was frustrated with big A. He ran down the hall into his room and slammed the door.  THEN, he opened the door and slammed it again for good measure.  Big A turns to me and says, ‘and…I wonder where he got THAT from’.  Parenting- we’re doing it right (or something like that).
Lil' A in love with JP
Photo courtesy of Russ Wasylyshyn
Back to sweet things.  Do you see how I sandwiched the unpleasant thing in between the sweet things?  I confess like that too. Little sin, little sin, BIG SIN, little sin, little sin…anyway, moving on. I am so thankful God saw fit to allow us to raise three boys. I love watching my children interact with one another.  Lil’ A is positively smitten with the baby.  He cannot get enough.  First thing in the morning he runs in to give the baby kisses.  It’s pretty much the sweetest thing ya ever did see.
This could be a whole post, but it won’t be.  I just have to say, Pope Francis is RIGHT ON.  I love that our Church leadership seems to be moving in a direction I have been thinking about for several years now.  I love that we have an example to follow who is, in such a messy way, giving us instructions on how to preach/teach and evangelize.   As I was reading through his newest ‘controversial’ interview, I found myself nodding in enthusiastic agreement.  I am hoping and praying I can apply his insights into the way I speak to others about our faith.  And, is it wrong to say, I am hoping that some of my friends in faith do the same ;)  Cause I said it.
I have a refrigerator full of alcohol to begin responsibly consuming as soon as I am off the painkillers (two more days, tops). Lemme just say, whenever I open the fridge, I think two things.  1) I probably talked a bit too much about missing booze during this pregnancy 2) I have the best friends ever!  I actually can’t decide if I am most excited about the Skinny Girl Sangria, the bud light, or the Vodka which I can mix with cranberry juice to cocktail  perfection.  Note- I understand this particular take makes me seem a bit ridiculous and for that, I cannot apologize.
Happy almost Friday.  Get thee to check out other quick takes!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, September 13, 2013

7 Quick takes- new baby edition

So, he’s here.  John Paul Francis Wilkerson 10 pounds 10 ounces.  Good baby, eats well, and we are enjoying our hospital vacation currently.
How much do we love nurses?  Because we make an appearance every year or so, a couple people here have gotten to know us. One of our favorite nurses actually transferred so she could be with us our first night.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the vocation of nursing.  I may/may not have had a bit of a mental breakdown last night due to no sleep and lots o’ pain.  The nurse was so awesome.  We figured out a way I could sleep a bit (with JP in the nursery between feedings) and she regulated my pain meds differently so it was more consistent.  What a blessing!
Speaking of blessings, I will never be able to thank everyone properly for the prayer support we had on Wednesday morning for delivery.  As many of you know, I was very VERY nervous going into the surgery both for myself and for the baby.  Everything turned out so well.  This was the first surgery I wasn’t sick through, and I had that special grace of calm I so desperately wanted.  When I saw sweet John Paul and knew he was okay, I felt with certainty the prayers of everyone.  So thankful for the body of Christ.
Then there was this...

Oh, and this.  I have never felt so blessed in my life as I did when I had all three of my boys together in the hospital room.  Well, four including Aaron.
Look closely!  Best pictures ever?  Someone knows the way to this girl’s heart.
And finally, people keep asking if we will have another…as long as the picture below keeps happening…you know it!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, September 6, 2013

7 Quick Takes

So, I was pretty psyched that lot's o' women seemed to enjoy the ol' post on C-sections from my point of view. Most of us who have had the pleasure of undergoing one, have a list of things people say to us and myths that are in need of debunking. I felt good about debunking some of those myths.
Speaking of the ol' major operation. We would love your prayers next Wednesday morning for a safe delivery of this little guy (who actually is not little at all). I was so hoping to go a bit early, but it looks like my body is just doing it's normal thang and progressing at the rate of a snail, so I have resigned myself to the September 11th birthday for John Paul Francis (oh yes, we are going there). As some of you know, I am quite nervous this time. The great news is, I am confident my doctor has done everything in her power to ensure it doesn't end up being a disaster...but, ya know, it's always scary. SO, prayers are welcome.
Confession. I have tried multiple times to make tooth brushing a regular part of my son's life in the morning (just lil' A, because Joey at 14 months STILL does not have a tooth) and evening. But I ALWAYS drop the ball and forget. It's getting to the point where it is a bit ridiculous that teeth brushing is not a part of our normal routine (for the kids, Aaron and I clearly brush our teeth). I hope writing it here will make me more accountable.
So this Syria thing! What the hell? Two thoughts...First, um what the hell? Second, I just kind of wish my party line friends can kind of admit that Bush did pretty much the same thing. And that it is weird/dishonest/unsafe etc... I'm keeping my eye on things though, because I have always kind of suspected China would be the end of us, and this seems like a pretty good reason to make that happen. Don't worry, I am not too scared, I'm just sayin'
Speaking of scared...Did I ever tell you about the time I was in the hospital after just having Lil' Aaron? We were in the hospital and it was like 10:00 at night and everyone kept talking about this special announcement the president was going to be making. I was on the phone with my sister and brother in law, TOTALLY terrified. You see, the president making an announcement so late at night is not normal. I was convinced we were in the middle of world war three, or an asteroid was headed our way. I got completely irrational, and started thinking how Aaron/lil' A and myself would make a quick escape from the hospital. Anyway, ends up the special announcement was Bin Laden was killed, but in the meantime I had completely lost my mind. Thank GOD I am not a conspiracy theorist or I would not be able to function.
I know I say it ALL.THE.TIME and I probably say it WAY.TOO.MUCH, but we love having our children spaced so close together (though the pregnancy part has sucked). Yesterday, the husband and I sat in the family room and listened to the boys scream at each other in their beds (play scream), it was awesome. This was preceded by lil' A getting so upset that Joey wouldn't play 'chase the ball around the house' with him. Anyway, I turned to the husband and said, 'Aren't we so lucky we had them so close together?' and he nodded in total agreement. It is SO.HARD. to do, but if you can, it really is the best.
Breaking Bad. Who knew? That is all.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Top Ten Thoughts on C-sections

...according to moi!
(Note- these are my thoughts and experiences...hopefully this will help you understand me better!)

Hi, my name is Mary and I am about to undergo my third c-section...
God never ‘intended’ childbirth to be a painful experience.   The pain of childbirth (unless you want to correct me) is a direct result of sin (lil’ Theology up in here).  God is so good, that he allows us to turn pain into something beautiful for his kingdom.  Whether or not we are laboring naturally with our children, or we are recovering from a major surgery, we glorify God through the pain we undergo for the sake of our children  :)

God does ‘intend’ us to be open to life and children.  He likes when we are born.  He likes to be present when our children are coming into the world.  He gives us helpers, prayer partners, and wonderful people to aid us.  For some, that might look like a husband holding a woman up in a birthing tub in a family room.  For others, it might mean a room full of doctors and nurses, communicating with each other and you to ensure a safe delivery.  Each of these people are gifts.  Each of them equally given to us to aid in the process of our children greeting the world.

C-sections hurt. A lot, after.  :) And recovery takes longer than most people know because after a couple of weeks, us c-section mamas just walk around with dull to medium pain, only our husbands know about.
Ready to go!

C-section moms generally, ‘know what they are getting themselves into’.  They are aware of the facts, they have read the articles.  They understand the risks and weigh them against the benefits.  In the case of my first son, he was big.  I know lots of people that labor big babies just fine.  He also had a huge shoulder span, which was the concern.  When I was being operated on, all the doctors agreed I wouldn’t have been able to have a natural birth with him.  He was really big, and super cute.

C-section moms bond with their babies immediately.  Well, at least in my case. I was so paranoid, because everyone had said they would take my baby away from me.  It didn’t happen.  Didn’t happen with Lil’ A, didn’t happen with Joey.  Both boys stayed by my side the entire time.  It IS true, I could not do skin to skin for about 30 minutes with Aaron and 40 minutes with Joey. I still feel incredibly bonded to my children and do not think that time lapse kept me from experiencing the beautiful reality of my children
First family picture with Joey

C-section moms do not all have problems with breast feeding.  Nursing came really easy to me, with both boys.  Immediate latch, good flow, if anything WAY too much milk. 

C-section moms generally trust their doctors or find different ones.  We choose our doctor based on their schooling, their experience, their attitude and their respect toward us.  I definitely trust my doctor more than your second cousin who is a Doula or your fantastic Mid-wife who told you that I should try for a vbac, even after two c-sections.  I respect both Doulas and Midwives for a crud ton of reasons, I think they are fantastic advocates for women.  I trust my doctor. 

My big guy never starved ;)
C-section moms think the best sound in the world is their child’s first cry.  So do natural mamas.  Who knew how good that sound is?

C-section moms couldn't do it without help.  The first two weeks are rough.  I actually could not take care of my child in the first couple weeks if it wasn't for my husband.  He does everything.  Brings me the baby, takes care of the other babies, cooks, laundry, etc…It is very VERY hard to be the dad of a c-section baby, because you pretty much need to do EVERYTHING.  Everyone gives the mom credit and thinks the babies are fantastically cute.  No one fully gets how much the dad does.  I fall more in love with Aaron over the two recovery weeks than any other time.  Being able to witness his selflessness is amazing.

so tired, so beautiful
C-sections are scary shiznatch.  So is natural child birth.  Going into a scheduled c-section, I have found to be quite frightening, because I know all that will happen. I know the pain, I know the recovery, I know the risks and that is all very very scary.  So, this c-section mama will ask you to keep her in your prayers in the next week or so :)


Five Favorites- Second Time

So, I have only participated in this once, because I am not good at thinking of favorites.  BUT, Jenna, over at Call Her Happy did something cool, I didn't think she'd mind if copied.  She picked her five summer favs...and I will do the same.

Drum roll please....

Well, hopefully it won't be too scandalizing to anyone if I let you all in on a secret.  This summer, my side o' the family had a reunion of sorts up at my Uncle's cottage.  Although it was beautiful, turns out six siblings/spouses/22 kids/ and a set of parents with Buckley blood...MIGHT end up in a bit of drama and not relaxing fun.  That was the bummer.  The REALLY cool part and the take-away I have was watching my boys play with their cousins.  Lil' A was in heaven, and the it filled my heart with joy.
My parents and all their grandchildren minus one born and two in the womb!
This one.  He drives me crazy, but this summer would have been impossible without him.  I could carry on for pages and pages about how much I love my husband (despite our many, MANY fights) but then, I'd start crying.  All I can say is I have never met a man as good as him, and when I reflect on it, I CANNOT believe God saw fit to give me a partner such as he.
And he is so freakin' handsome
Um, if I say buying stuff does that make me shallow.  This summer I got an iphone and a new mini-van.  My life rocks.

Watching my boys become friends.  That happened this summer.  Joey got a personality (for better or worse- sorry sweet stuff, we love you) and Aaron noticed.  I cannot tell you how cool their friendship is for me.

And...drum roll please...my favorite part of the summer?  It being over!  Newborn and my favorite season, FALL!  Here we come!