Journal

Flashback: Confessions of a Five-Time Mom

Written by Kathy Glow

source

At my youngest son’s four month check-up, I confessed to the pediatrician that I had missed the big “rolling over moment.”  With eyebrows raised in an accusatory manner, he asked me where I was.  After I told him I had just stepped out of the room for a moment, I quietly resolved to keep my confessions to myself in the future.

 You see, with each new baby, I have become a bit more relaxed.  It’s not like I was a totally paranoid, nervous first time mom.  But, I had waited so long to be a mom that by the time my twins were born, I really wanted everything to be perfectly controlled.

Jack and Joey each had their own designated color – green for Joey and blue for Jack.  They each had separate blankets and a separate burp cloth (in their designated color, of course) which would immediately be replaced as soon as the smallest amount of spit-up would grace the fabric. 

I changed their clothes several times a day.  If they drooled a little too much, spit up at all, or the tiniest amount of poop got on the bottom corner of one of their outfits, it had to be changed.  Pacifiers that dropped on the floor were immediately replaced and set aside to be sanitized by boiling.

Our days followed a routine as well.  Morning story time preceded a nap for us all, then mid-morning tummy time, rounded out by free play in the afternoon with classical music playing.  More books before bed, some singing, and face-to-face cuddle time ended our day.  Since Jack couldn’t nurse, due to his cleft lip and palate, I always made sure that I gave him as much cuddly, physical touch time as I was giving Joey. Frequent walks or outings in the double stroller were a must, and the babies were steered away from strangers’ prodding, germy hands.  Of course, I captured it all on film, wrote about it in their baby books, and soaked in every single moment.

I didn’t clean the house or watch t.v. while they were awake.  I only did what was necessary to complete our day, like make meals, wash bottles, or fold laundry.  I had it all covered, and life was pretty good.

Since my son, Adam, was born when the twins were only 19 months old, I was still in baby mode, only better.  I knew each milestone as it was coming, I fed him more nutritious finger foods, bath time was more relaxed, and I had an ever-ready arsenal of baby games and songs.  I accepted messes a bit more (meaning he could spit-up at least twice before I would swap out his burp cloth), and he was even exposed to a little television due to the fact that the older boys were now watching shows such as Sesame Street, Thomas the Train, and Baby Einstein DVDs.

But then, I had more kids.  And, as if life could get any more complicated than having multiples, it did: more laundry, bigger meals, messier messes.  And all my systems and routines and fussiness went right into the pooper (no pun intended).

When Colin was born, and I had four boys under the age of five, I had little time to worry about such things as the cleanliness of a burp cloth or how loud the vacuum was to little ears.  Stuff just had to get done.  Colin was pretty much enjoying free rein of the house, and everyone was lucky if they received their own private cuddle time with Mommy each day, much less a story.

Now that Baby Evan is here, I confess that I’ve become a much more relaxed mom.  The front of his shirt is frequently wet, and a tiny amount of poop gracing that shirt doesn’t warrant changing a whole outfit anymore.  The television is on a lot in our house, and I often have to untangle Evan from the vacuum cleaner cord.  The only routine he knows is that of his older brothers’ school and practice schedules and how many errands Mommy can run in between.  He often has to “cry it out” while I take care of the other boys’ needs, and I don’t mind that he loves to hold strangers’ outstretched hands at the grocery store.  And yes, I’ve licked pacifiers and given them back to him.

Although I will never call myself a “Mommy pro”, I do seem more at ease with handling it all.  I realize that perfect does not equal happiness and routine isn’t always the best.  Sometimes you just have to go with what’s in front of you, even if it is messy or chaotic or fussy.  Sure you might miss something, but you just might catch something much more special.

Hubby, the boys and I were at the lake the other day.  I had spread a blanket out for Evan (because I’m still a little anal particular about all that messy sand), and the older boys were fishing with their Dad.  As I watched them try to pull tangled seaweed off their fishing lines, Evan crawled into the sand.  I thought about replacing him on the blanket, but instead watched him carefully so he didn’t start eating the sand.   He ran the sand between his fingers and dug in his naked toes, all the time making happy little cooing noises and squeals.  It was one of the sweetest things I’ve ever witnessed.  A perfect, unplanned, unscripted moment.

I’ve seen five babies roll over on multiple occasions.  But this was a special moment of first discovery, one that I would have missed if I had been overly concerned with trying to control a messy/dirty/non-routine situation.  I think getting better at this mom-thing means loosening my reins of control just a bit and allowing my kids to discover the world in their own way.  Even if sometimes that means I might be in the other room when a big moment happens. 

And I’ll confess to that anytime.

 

About the author

Kathy Glow

Kathy Glow is a wife and mom to four lively boys and one beautiful angel in Heaven, lost to cancer. Most days you can find her under a pile of laundry ordering take-out. When she is not driving all over town in her mini-van or wiping “boy stuff” off the walls, she is writing about what life is REALLY like after all your dreams come true. Her writing has been featured on sites such as Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Good Housekeeping, and Mamalode; but Her View From Home is her favorite place to be. Her blog is at www.lifewiththefrog.com. You can follow her on Facebook at Kissing the Frog.

6 Comments

  • Love this Kathy! It’s tough to let go of the “mess” but I’ve learned if I don’t – I would always be cleaning and never have time for my girls. Thanks for the reminder!!

  • Great article! Found myself nodding my head in agreement. As a mother of 4 (age 4 and under) I can completely relate – especially since my firsts were twin boys as well! It’s nice to hear someone say a relaxed mom is still a good mom.

  • Oh thanks Kathy. What you had to say made me feel so much better. It’s hard for me but I do try to not clean all the time being that I have 5 biological girls running threw my house at mock 7 all the time.. It’s nice to know that I wasn’t the only Mommy out their with Twins that color coded to per say which child had which color when they were little.. Now that they are all getting older it just keeps on getting busier with Tiffany going into Junior high next fall she has her own assigned color still mainly red’s an Sky blue. Then Kristina my 1st grader she has to have light blue and purple’s always. Natasha my soon to be Kindergartner for next fall she still to this day likes having Navy Blue & Light Pink. Then to my twin girls who will be 4 her soon wow how time flies seems like they just came home but they have always had their minds sat on who wanted which colors from the clothes right down to their rooms now are they colors they picked.. Carrie-Anne she’s always been my hot pink and bright Purple girl and got to have the bling an sparkles on everything.. Her twin sister Jessica-Renee she is more into a Baby Blue and a light Green color she’s the one who should of been our boy being that she’s is went from teddy bears and dolls as a young toddler to now she’s digging into the dirty and like to play with trucks and tractors.. She thinks she’s just a big girl like her mommy she figures anything mom does she can do too.. It’s like slow down princess u have all the time in the world to do big girls stuff but no she is so competitive compared to her older sisters. It’s like after my day of being with them and when it’s time to take time out to clean your so tired or you have spent all day cleaning and tired from all the house work that you just want to say oh can you girls go watch a movie or go play next door so mom can relax a little bit an laundry is a never ending thing with Girls.. I think mine change their clothes at least 3 times a day if not more so the machines are always going.. Then I have girlfriend who call or text to see if I have time to get away an socialize an it’s like your busy with kids activities when you have this many your always busy doing something.. Or your to tired an all you want to do is sleep.. But thanks for the comfort of knowing that I’m not alone and their are other mom’s out their who have just as many as I do and go threw what I go threw everyday. I wonder at times why I went to College and got so many degrees if I will never be able to use any of them. By the time my oldest one get to the age where she can take care of her siblings for more than a hour at a time I’ll be to old and companies that look at me will say oh were looking for someone in there 20’s not someone in their 40’s or 50’s..

  • Kathy,
    You are so right! My dad loves to point out that I was “insistant” on sanitizing our oldest with germ-be-gone and wipes th minute she was dirty…and now number #3 gets the old thumb + mommy spit:) But there is something so sweet and special about the experiences the younger ones have as a result of being with the older ones. Our oldest certainly wasn’t creating masterpieces with brushes and paint at 18 months, but #3 – our “Grand Finale” – graces not only the canvas, but also her legs, hair, chin, countertop, etc., etc. 🙂