As my hubby so graciously reminded me, "twins are hard". And as obvious as that should sound to a mother of multiples, it sort of came out of nowhere at me. My struggle with finding that balance definitely stems in part from feelings of being overwhelmed, from feeling exhausted, and from feelings of frustration. I feel overwhelmed by how much I feel I fail as a parent on a daily basis. There is so much more that I could be doing for and with my daughters, and these things just aren't happening, plain and simple. I am exhausted from the tantrums (and there are so many) and the constant reinforcement of "no", and from battling day in and day out with myself over what the best way to get through this developmental stage is. I'm frustrated because I feel like I should know better, like I should have all of these answers, and like I'm making excuses for myself because, I am a lazy parent.
But after some soul-searching, and a good hard look at my girls' well-being and overall happiness, I know that I am not a lazy parent. I know that I am an overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated mommy of multiples. But I'm not lazy. The way today played out is a typical example of my plight. I felt as though I accomplished nothing. But as I thought back on my day and recounted the things I had checked off my to-do list, I was amazed at how much I had actually completed, even though I felt the opposite. My day went like this: I woke up, showered, got the girls out of bed and dressed, made breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, allowed my children to watch Curious George while I vacuumed the living room, my bedroom, and the bathroom. I cleaned both bathrooms. I cuddled with Olivia (who was extra clingy and temperamental today) on the couch, and fixed the girls' lunch. I put them down for a nap, ironed and starched Matt's work shirts for the week, tackled some editing that I have backed up, supervised the installation of a new air filter in our AC unit, and caught up on some emails. I called our health insurance company (and you all know what a pain that can be!), preemptively prepared a snack before the girls woke up from their nap so that as soon as they had been changed we could run out the door for an errand. I got the girls up from their nap, changed them, and ran out for our errand. We went to Michael's and picked up some new art supplies to serve as entertainment away from the TV. I busted out the washable markers, and a strip of paper, and let my two two-year-olds go at it (and that they did!). I managed to take photos of their playtime, clean them and their mess up, and busy them with boxes while I rested for what felt like 2 minutes. I made them dinner, and then cleaned that up. I made myself dinner (while holding Olivia the entire time), and returned some more emails.
At this point, Matt came home from work (about 7 pm) and he was able to help me with the rest of my evening which included getting dinner for him, a bedtime snack for the girls, and then executing their bedtime routine (jammies, brush teeth, bedtime story, drink, bed).
Now, some of this is typical of my every-day routine, and some of it is a little bit off. For example, sometimes we eat together all as a family, but on nights when Matt has to work late, the girls get hungry before he gets home so we all eat in shifts. The errands that we run from day to day are different, and mostly consist of trips to the park or Costco, and my lunch-break is filled with a myriad of tasks that make the 2 hours (if I'm lucky) while the girls nap simply fly by.
Lazy? I guess not. Even so, keeping busy with tasks and chores and errands doesn't help with the persistence with which I tell the girls, "no" throughout the day. And since I had been feeling like a terrible, lazy parent, our errand to get new art supplies today was my way of forcing myself to let go a little bit (okay, a lot) and let my kids be kids. They got super messy, and had a blast. They were so proud of themselves, and I took that opportunity to photograph that moment in their childhood.
I haven't posted many pictures lately, and that's because I have about 5 drafts here in my blogger account that have to do with my opinions on current political issues and writing those has taken up much of my time and brain-power. I'm not going to post them though (you're welcome) because I feel like those of you who know me already know where I stand on most issues, and while I could keep shoving it all down your throats, I think I'll let Facebook handle that one.
So, here are the photos from this afternoon's "YES" to what turned out to be a marvelous messy marker madness! Let me just be clear that while I am attempting to be a little more laid back, a lot more patient, and to allow my girls to hear "yes" along with the no's, these are washable marker's. Let's face it, I just couldn't allow this to happen any other way....and yes, my floor was covered in ink.
But those smiling faces and infectious giggles were well worth the mess and clean-up!