"Just stay upstairs in your room and feed/change the baby."
"Let someone else do the laundry/dishes/homework/clean up."
"Everything can wait."
I have heard every.single.one of these each time I have had a baby. Sure, the first couple times (especially with a non-C-section delivery) it's easy to do. There is less to do. It seems like a lot, at the time, especially with the first and second, but it's easier to take it slow. It's more exciting for others - friends and family, as it's the first kids, and there are more visitors, offers to babysit, or come over and help. (Not trying to point fingers or blame, but it's true.) But life continues, and more kids come, more laundry, more dishes, more diapers, and the kids get bigger and have bigger problems, and people still say the same things.
But I just had my 5th. My kids are older, more involved, and are bigger with bigger problems. (Apparently, October is the wrong month to have a baby when you have kids in school, but especially middle school. The projects!!!) Not only the kids, but I have had some bigger problems. I have been struggling with health issues for the last few months and I am done. Done feeling bad, done sitting around in a messy house, done getting tired so fast, just done. And to be honest, I am pretty sure the family is done too. They don't want to deal with it anymore. (One of my children asked me if this was my last baby, since I am always so sick while I am pregnant. It made me cry, but I know I need to teach a lesson about sacrifice, suffering, being unselfish, etc. I need to do that with this child, especially!) I get it. My husband, my kids, my in-laws, my family, the super generous friends in our community, it's an old story. "Fuzzy needs prayers. Needs help." They all have given so much and sometimes it is hard to keep giving.
But this week, I had to take 2 kids to the doctor. James and William have strep (again for James). I had to go to the doctor's office 2 days in a row, to the pharmacy 2 days in a row, and continue with pick up, homework, etc. It makes me so upset that my James has strep for the second time this month, so I feel that I am not doing enough! I ran around the house with bleach, crying as I was cleaning, changing sheets and just feeling like I can't win. How can I slow down when life isn't? I have 5 (!) kids. They all need me. All need help, my husband needs help. He could use a clone on some of his days when he has 4 meetings in one night, but they all are activities that are for my kids. The kids need clean uniforms (oh, and those dark socks! How many mornings have I heard them ask where they are?!) and to do homework. We all need to eat (unfortunately, all.the.time.). It's just not possible. I don't know how I am going to do less.
Now, to be honest, my house is a mess. It's dirty, I saw some huge cobwebs up in a corner that I can't even get close to reaching but you can only see when the sun hits it juuust right. I will say my bathrooms are clean, and we need to have some clean dishes when I forget to buy paper plates, so on that front I am slowing down, and we had 4 baskets of clean laundry to fold. So it all depends on how you look at it. But not driving? Not possible.
Everyone has been amazing. Uh-MAZING! The meals, the love, the gifts, just keep coming. We have had meals come even after the meal train was all done. God has been so good to keep sending us His love through others! It's been so great to feel all the love from our friends and community. We are so blessed, and I feel that we may be wearing out our love and help. We do have to get back. I know we do! I am trying not to "do too much" but I am just 1 mom.
And, I am sorely outnumbered!