Just Another Day at the Park...

I am sure you are just foaming at the mouth for an update on my adjustment to life with four kids. You have to promise not to hate me for my humanity. Here goes...

The sweet baby just turned one month the other day. Around three weeks post-partum I started to feel "normal" again. I am always amazed after I have a baby to find out how bad I actually felt pregnant. I always feel like I have pretty good pregnancies. But pregnant had just become my normal and I had forgotten what it felt like to be un-pregnant.

So of course I have started trying to make strides towards the new life with four kids. My two older ones got signed up for swim lessons. We started going last week. It is so cute to watch kids learn to swim.

I feel like something of a freak show when I go out with all of them. People look at me and I am pretty sure I am not just imagining it. Sometimes I get asked if they are "all mine." For some reason I always want to look like I have things "together." Do you know what I mean? I don't want to look like a flustered, overtired, overwhelmed, frantic mom who doesn't enjoy her kids. I do enjoy them. Still, sometimes public outings don't go according to plan but I want to look like I can handle things.

I sit near the pool during swim lessons with my almost two year old and my little one. We watch big brother and sister do their thing. Toddler girl spins around on a pole or tries to run away. Luckily she seems afraid of going head first into the water.

(Did I mention that she started to potty train the day before I went into labor? Maybe she knew I have always had a deep seated phobia of having two kids in diapers.) Yesterday while at the pool my almost potty trained girl went pee. Three times. No that wasn't a typo. She of course went pee three times on the cement near the pool where we were sitting. Later she peed in the grass.

I am realizing that part of my new reality is that my child publicly urinating near a communal pool does not actually make me freak out. Even though I had run out of clean panties and had neglected to (in my optimism) bring a diaper that fit her, I was not mad. In fact, I was really just grateful that we all left together and that nobody fell or jumped into the pool who wasn't supposed to.

Now you may be thinking, "That is disgusting!" or "This woman needs a reality check" or "What is she doing with four kids?" All of these things may be true, so feel free to be horrified. I however am starting to realize why so many of the women I know who successfully raised big families are so mellow. I mean, "Where do you get your tranquilizers?" mellow. Maybe, just maybe, they also had their little children defecate at inopportune times. Maybe they too ran after a giggling toddler with a newborn in one hand that was by some miracle STILL attached to the breast. And maybe these women realized that those things don't really matter in the long run.

What I am starting to think is that having a child who sometimes does embarrassing things in public or being a mom who doesn't always appear perfect and polished is not actually something to worry about. What I should be worried about are the times when I yell or really do freak out. Even if those moments happen behind closed doors and nobody sees them, those are the things that really are bad for my kids and for me. Those are the moments that really embarss me. Not because anybody knows about it, but because I know I can do better and my kids probably deserve better.

This is me, adjusting to life with four kids. It isn't that hard. It isn't a walk in the park either. It is more of a pee in the park. Watch where you step. I couldn't find my toddler's shoes before we left so we will be VERY careful where we step.


You're doing great! I just stay in the van with the two little ones while the older ones go in for their lessons. The boys finally stopped telling me every day that I'm supposed to go in with them. I have no desire to chase the two year old around the pool and try to keep him from getting in while the babe is attached to the boob. Of course they are 5 and 8, and can handle themselves just fine in there without me.
Anonymous said…
I know what you mean, I only have three but sometimes babysit another making 4, then I really avoid going out. Luckily the kids swim like fishes because my husband and I both teach swimming. My second born is currently trying to figure out going #2 in a potty and the 14m old of course is interested in what I am doing when I try to wipe up the poop all over the place. The 6 yr old can be supper helpful or miserably winy, depending on the minute!
Bella said…
That sounds like a normal day to me! I'm glad you took it in stride. I will tell you once they start getting older, people don't look at you like a freak show anymore, or atleast as often. Congrats on the new baby. If you are ever back in NM I would LOVE to see you!
Cindy said…
It's not like swim diapers hold in pee anyways ;)
Mandy said…
I needed a lift today, so thank you! You're doing such a greatjob and sound grounded. Remember: the insane don't see the fall coming.If you can analyse it, you're still in control.
I can totally relate to the private moments of weakness being more telling and more important than the public "faux pas"...LOVE your blog, so thanks again.
Joyful_Momma said…
That was a great read! I have 8 kids so I know when we go somewhere as a family we get stares. And I hear often, "Are they ALL yours?" It just isn't worth the energy to get flustered over little things like that.
Mama you're super awesome and I am so encouraged by your story. You give me confirmation that I am a "normal" Mom...who's kid sometimes pees in the grass, etc. I agree completely with the last part about when we flip-out (mostly in private), it is sooo embarrassing, and devastatingly inappropriate. Just yesterday I apologized to my 2 year old for one of my outbursts. Thanks for your honesty. Keep up the good work!
Your post is great and is exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks!
Anonymous said…
Love it. I must admit to a similar realization when my third arrived just over a year ago. I was seriously worried when my husband returned to work. Like really full of anxiety about it. But, he left and my own, or should I say our own, little rhythm resumed. And I agree. Pee? No biggie...now that I have kids!