Yesterday I was utterly terrified at the idea of my mother-in-law leaving and Nick and I having to face our new family alone. I know that probably sounds weird, like our kids are a firing squad or something, but that was how it felt. Over a week of sleep deprivation, stress from attempting to console an inconsolable child for hours on end, muscle spasms from swinging and lifting and carrying a 30 pounder all day, and the general drain of the constant demand for attention can really gnaw at your sense of competence and wellbeing. When we were in Bulgaria, starting to care for our new daughter, it felt like treading water. When we got home and started adding the other two kids on the heap, it suddenly felt like drowning.
I suppose every parent faces a time when they feel like they are breathing water. Some get hit when their kid is tiny in the form of colic. (Ironically, I always said how glad I was that none of my kids ever had colic and now I have a daughter who appears to have the toddler version of it. If only I had ketchup to put on my words before I have to eat them.) Some get it in a terrible diagnosis and the medical fallout from the initial blast. Others catch it in the teen years, when their previously lovable child suddenly becomes a surly misfit. Maybe it's telling your kids about the divorce or lost job you never saw coming. At some time or another, we all get that panicky sense of going under.
Yesterday I felt pretty bleak and hopeless. Today, I'm happy to report that things are going better than we thought they could. We were on our own today, and I am glad to report that we rose to the occasion. At least, I think we did. Everyone is still alive, at least. That's gotta be worth something, right?
Hang in there, moms and dads. Even on the mornings that you wake up feeling certain that you can't handle it, there's still hope. Keep plugging away at it and you'll be just fine. Your kids probably will be fine too. And at the end of the day, you just might still like them!