There are times in this whole parenting thing where you can’t seem to catch a break. You can’t seem to do anything right. Your children are giving you a hard time and it’s tough. Understatement of the century—it seems impossible. I am in the thick of potty training right now and have been really struggling to keep it all together—mentally, physically, and emotionally. When you start having more kids, there always seems to be something going on with one of them, always. During these times, you start questioning everything, at least when you have time for a coherent thought to form a question, which is rare in itself: “What was I thinking?”

What was I thinking to have all these kids?”

“What was I thinking when I believed I had a grasp on all of this?”

“What was I thinking when I decided to do that, take on that, try to be something I clearly can’t fulfill?

Just, what in the world was I thinking?

You tighten your entire body and throw yourself onto the ground, screaming and wailing while I try to slow down your sobbing tears. They are running down your face so fast as I see the muscles of your chin tremble, broken apart by short pauses for recovering breaths, before hurling yourself back and starting over.

What was I thinking?

I told you, I didn’t want you to go up the slide because it was dangerous and bigger kids with a bulldozer mentality were about to come zooming down. You don’t understand. You are only 16-months. This throwing a fit thing has started this week, turning you, my sensitive, sweet little girl, into a fit thrower. As I try to pick you up and calm you down, patting and rubbing your back, you tighten again trying to escape my arms.

What was I thinking?

The almost-3-year-old is not listening again. She looks at me with that defiant smile, the one where she lights up like a jack-o-lantern, as she plans to disobey me and be her sassy self. And from a blink of an eye, she goes from sweet and loving, wanting to sit on my lap and cuddle, to this little mean human that wants nothing to do with me.

“Mommy, go away, I do it myself,” she says, pushing my hand away.

What was I thinking?

There is a name for each stage: terrible twos, threenager, and now I have a newborn on the way.

What was I thinking?

I feel you pushing my tummy from inside your little cocoon. When you stretch or roll around it feels like a tidal wave in my stomach. Your movements are addictive, and I am always waiting for another. You bring a smile to my face out of nowhere, just to know you are there, inside of me. I am now never alone. You are with me when my other two girls close their sleepy eyes for the night. A little being is growing and being nurtured inside of me, and that is beautiful.

What was I thinking?

The three of us, embrace into a hug at the end of the day, cuddled up together on the couch. You, in my belly, feel the warmth—the love.

And this. 

This moment. 

This is exactly what I was thinking.

This is what makes it all worth it.

Originally published on the author’s page

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Dani Sherman-Lazar

Dani Sherman-Lazar is an eating disorder advocate, Vice President of a transportation company, and a mother to three daughters. Follow her on her blog Living a Full Life After ED and like it on Facebook. Her book Living Full: Winning My Battle with Eating Disorders is available on Amazon.