Right now is “nap time.” Why the quotation marks?
Seems fairly obvious. It’s pretty much the loudest, non-nappish nap time ever.
Lydia is alternating between screaming, yelling, babbling and banging her head/hands/legs against the crib.
Susannah may (finally) be successfully ignoring Lydia enough now to go to sleep… NOW. Two minutes ago she was part of the ruckus, albeit more pleasant – singing, talking, dancing with her doll and generally NOT SLEEPING!!
*sigh* Yes, this is nap time every day now in the Norris household – one giant EXHAUSTING struggle.
Sure, it’s a ton of physical labor – getting up from my comfortable spot on the couch, where I settled hoping to (I know it sounds crazy) work on something not kid-related.
Then there’s the 3 million times I have to make Lydia lay back down, re-hang the blanket that blocks her view of Susannah (and keeps them from interacting instead of sleeping), retrieve the pacifier in the semi-dark room from wherever Lydia’s violent temper and strangely strong arm lobbed it, cover up both of them AGAIN, warn them both sternly and/or discipline them.
My mom has told me several times when I complain of exhaustion that it’s just this age – kids require so much physical work at this age because they can do so little for themselves.
“This is physically exhausting,” she said, “but when they get to be teenagers it’s harder.”
Yeah, I know – she’s always been the encourager type. 😉
But it’s totally true. My nearly-3-year-old girl and 10-month-old baby are almost completely helpless.
The day begins with physical demands: dress me, feed me, clean me up, brush my hair, pick me up, in the high-chair, out of the high-chair, in the car, out of the car, in the stroller, out of the stroller…
It continues with more of the same: feed me again, clean me again (this should be on the list about 18,000 times per day), clean up my toys and the paper I tore up and spread all over the floor (you’ll regret it if you don’t and step on the wooden block with all your weight…), wash all the dirty dishes I created, give me a bath (yes, MORE cleaning), dress me again, change my diaper ( x18,000 also), wash out my underwear because I can’t figure out how to get to the potty on time (!!)….
And after all that, I’m exhausted.
When we finally get both girls in bed at night, all we can do is sink onto the couch in a dazed stupor.
Haha! Yeah, right. There’s no time for that. There are toys still littering the floor, dishes still to be washed, and we can’t sit on the couch without cleaning up all the crumbs that our darling daughter left there when she traipsed through the house with her sandwich.
Yes, my body aches from the sheer physical demands on it. But, see, really and honestly it’s not the work that wears me out, or makes parenting so exhausting for me.
It’s my brain that is way past the overload point – fried, spent, blank.
While doing all those things throughout the day, my mind is actually working much harder than my body, processing all the mini, second-by-second decisions I must make as a parent, and the big ones, too.
I’m constantly analyzing and over-analyzing what I’m doing, and fearing I’m doing something that will terribly mess up my children, something they’ll look back on as adults and recount bitterly in some therapy session (!!).
Over-dramatic? Almost certainly. However, it is the reality for me, and most parents who are really trying to do their best with their kids.
Honestly, there’s a ton of pressure on parents in our society – some of it is legit, a HUGE chunk of it is pretty unnecessary.
Good grief. You can’t pick up a sugary snack in the grocery store without some put-together, suburban mom giving you the eyebrows- raised, “I can’t believe you!” look.
That’s ok, I’ve never wanted to be that kind of mom anyways, I tell myself.
But the truth is, even with all the unnecessary negativity and “advice” cut out, it’s dang difficult not to feel guilty and overwhelmed and inadequate and panicked about making decisions that will permanently screw up your kids.
It’s mentally totally exhausting. And I’ve decided, that’s ok, because parenting should be exhausting.
If we aren’t putting all of our mind and heart and soul into trying to raise our kids right, then we aren’t following Romans 12 – making our lives a living sacrifice.
Yes, I have other things going on in my life – I am a photographer and a wife and (sometimes) a friend and sister.
But the minute I brought these two little souls into the world they became my main calling and focus in life.
I’m the only mom they’ll have and the weight of that calling cannot be overestimated. So, yeah, it’s exhausting.
Creating responsible, moral, society-contributing, God-honoring adults? Yeah, it IS exhausting.
But every time I rinse out some poopy-underwear, I know I’m doing something worthwhile.
Because I know it means that one day a beautiful woman, inside and out, will bless this world with her gifts and talents and character AND she will be potty-trained – thanks to me!
Yes, a potty-trained adult will be a part of my contribution to this world.
And right now it is my calling and my exhausting daily privilege to make sure both of these little girls grow into wonderful women – one potty-training, nap-battling day at a time.
She got it! Fake smile and all.