Wednesday, July 28, 2010

moms of many and moms of few



today was a day much like any other. the boys were up bright and early, breakfasts were eaten, clothes were put on, josh was calling around to see if he could find any work for next week (work has, frighteningly been very scarce again lately), a walk was taken and so was a nap. lunch was served, dishes were washed, books were read, balls were thrown and a visit to the library happened. after the library visit and before dinner was started, i collapsed on my bed with the sound of tristan's persistent questions and demands in one ear and samuel's whines and frustrations in my other ear. just before josh whisked them away into the backyard so that i could get dinner on, i gave him a hug and whispered jokingly, "i think we have too many kids."

the real, dirt-bottomed makeup-less and naked honest truth is that sometimes i almost do feel like i have too many kids. WHAT? but you only have 2 kids! i know! i ONLY have 2 kids. and one time, a very very long time ago i agreed to have 3 kids. and now whenever i happen to think of that agreement i feel as if i need a brown paper bag to breathe into.

it is not as if i would happily give one of my children up; please don't take my ramblings that way. and it is not as if i'm not thankful that God saw fit to bless us with 2 healthy babies; every single day when i pray for them, i thank the Lord that he gifted us with such miracles. its just that i think that 2 kids is about right. and i also think that 3 kids may just push me over the edge.

i have plenty of friends and acquaintances who have 3 or 4 or more children. my own mother, in fact had 4 children of her own. and so many times in the past i have compared myself to them, wondering what in the world is so wrong with me that i just can't seem to be okay with having that many kids. sometimes i think that perhaps all of their children are angel babies who sleep a whole lot and are happy the rest of the time. then i think that perhaps they just don't care as much as i do about leftover food crusted onto the kitchen floor and fingerprints on the windows and frog legs being ingested. but i would always seem to find "moms of many" who wouldn't fit into the mold i thought they should fit into; moms who were neat freaks like me, or moms who had a couple of difficult sleepers and yet they still willingly wanted to have even more children. and that not only baffled me, it made me feel a bit guilty for not feeling the same way. you see, josh has always wanted 3 children and he still does. as much as he adores his sons, he would love to have a daughter. (of course, we both know that just because we have 2 boys already doesn't mean that we would for sure have a girl next time. you really don't need to point that out.)

earlier this week i was blog hopping and i saw something very interesting linking a mother's ability to cope in the chaos with the fact that she is either an introvert or an extrovert. if you think about it, extroverts gain energy when they are around people. introverts, on the other hand, gain energy only when they are alone. for me, as an introvert, i not only need to be alone to feel energized; i also need to have absolute and complete silence all around me. that just does not happen around here very often which is why i think i feel like a great mom until around 1:00 when the baby is napping and i need my space, but tristan is all over me to play with him. i lose my patience so easily in the early afternoon and once the baby wakes up i am literally counting down the hours until bedtime, just wanting some peace and quiet!

when i let that train of thought sink in, i felt a little bit freer all of a sudden. there is a reason why i come home from noisy play dates feeling spent and exhausted. there is a reason why i sometimes bribe my oldest to play all by himself for 30 minutes so mommy can simply not think about anything. and there is a reason why the thought of having just one more child makes me instantly break out into a cold sweat. the "me" time that i so desperately crave isn't a purely selfish desire. it is also a need that i really can't afford to ignore and that i shouldn't feel so guilty indulging in. i am an introvert. i need my quiet space in order to feel like a happy human. and no, realizing this has not brought josh and i any closer to an agreement in how many children we'd like to end up with, but for now we are more than happy with what we have.

(...but my friend leah's advice to "call it a day and have josh get permanently fixed?" sounds like absolutely grand advice to me!)

20 comments:

Grandma J. said...

I remember coming home with my first little boy and thinking, wow, this is such a huge responsibility and so much more work than I thought it would be. I didn't think we'd have 4 at that point, even though that's how many I thought I wanted. Enjoy your boys and don't even think about having more - unless you really want to! You are a fantastic mom, amazing me everytime we visit. I am so proud of you Heidi. XO

Sara said...

Awe...Heidi, Samuel is barely one, you have so much time to figure this out...

Anonymous said...

We agreed to 5... after the first I think Donnie wanted to run. We oops'd 3 more and realized the white flag was waving.

apparently you don't have to have them all in a row where it feels like 9 years of no sleep... you can stagger it a little if you'd like. :)

Donnie needs the time too. He gets up at 4am just so he can have the quiet house as he breaks into his day.
~shannon

kelly ens said...

AMEN!!!

two is enough for me and i don't feel an ounce of guilt for it. Some people can handle more, some people can't. i feel i can be my best with two kids and i'll do what i can to keep it that way (of course, if God has other plans, I"ll deal with it and will obviously LOVE that child!).

Denise said...

Oh Heidi~

How I love to read your blog!!

LOL....Just tell Josh when one of them gets married you WILL have three kids...that gives you lots of time to get prepared for the third one :)

~HOJ Stalker

Stephanie said...

I am definitly alot like you! I am an introvert as well and although I love playdates and children I NEED my space and quiet time! Because I am a SAHM (like you)and not working I don't get that extended time away from my kids.

We only plan on having two kids. And I'm just fine with that and so is Aaron. But right now having a 4 yr old and a 18 month old is busy, busy, busy and who knows, by the time Decs is 4 maybe I could handle another one?! I just know how hard it is to ignore that "baby itch"!!! Stephanie

running wildly said...

Being an extrovert who wants a 3rd, I too feel moments of panic thinking of adding another human to this mix. Don't feel guilty hunny. You have been given the desires of your heart. There is nothing wrong with two.

Darcy and Sharon said...

I never thought about the introvert/extrovert thing but it makes sense to me. I'm an introvert and am really finding it more draining having the third kid. Of course I also have to tow #1 and #2 to this that and the next thing, which does make life busier. Your kids are young. No need to make an important decision like that for a few years (but really, you don't want to have a baby when your oldest is in school all day and your second is in half day kindergarten. THAT is insane - trust me I know!)

lil said...

Great post, Heidi! I never thought of the introvert/extrovert thing, either! I think people PLAN alot more that we did, that's for sure!!
The Lord will give you the strength for what you need. So, saying that, I don't agree with the last post~Sharon's, because everyone is different, so you can't say that's true for someone else!! We wouldn't have our youngest sister, Flo, if my mom thought that way!! Judy was starting school, so mom thought, "I don't want to be home alone", so she had her SIXTH child! PTL. ;)

heidi said...

3 is in our prenuptial agreement. so all you ladies that secretly want me to get snipped to please your little friend heidi better beware of the fine print.
Josh- the still very fertile husband

Bonnie said...

haha!! Nice touch, Josh.
I feel a little bit freer too, just from reading this post. I'm the same as you, just crave my peace and quiet.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Most women realize that after they have given birth to two children that actually they have three children in their home... the best of husbands really remain little boys at heart. Not "childish" but child like in many ways. It is a wonderful thing to see when they, at last, when the other two fly the nest, are the only child again.

Cherie said...

Hmmm well see... Ben & I never decided, it was a constant disagreement that started 4 months into the relationship... i want 4, him 3. We have been discussing it more and more, not how many we want, but how many we can handle:) Im curious to see, me being an extreme extrovert, how many I can handle:) hehe... but that will be in a few years:)
love the comment by the way josh:) i hope you guys have 3 too:) Then we can have at least 1 of your kids close to the same age as mine!


love you guys:)
your little sister

Shannon said...

yeah... we made sooo many promises and had so many ideals before we got married. (2 kids, 20 kids, or the famous "ironing and laundry doesn't bother me") I'm still with my little friend Heidi. The person who does the actual pregnancy and the bulk of the childcare trumps.

But then, I want more and my husband says no no no no no and it sort of hurts my feelings.

Is it any wonder that my verification word is "haggly" that is exactly what these kiddos have made me :O)

sedachfamily said...

What every mom thinks at times, but few can say so lovingly honest. I felt the exact same way when Emma was 3 and Gracie was 1. The idea of a third seemed completely insane. But by the time Gracie was 2 1/2, I felt more than ready to have a third. Your heart will guide you in God's time. I must say that you guys make such beautiful babies that it does seem to be a bit of a shame to think of not having more. :)

Ali {Leaning In} said...

I am a true introvert too. I enjoy being with people, but I get my energy and fueled up by being alone. I totally understand this post!

I will be praying for your family in this season. I know how hard it can be to navigate seasons of financial instability. It is a paradox but our toughest season also became the most peaceful season. I will pray for that for you guys. That you will see God's hand move in powerful ways. :) Hang in there, mama.

running wildly said...

Yup, I'm with Shannon here. The person who does the larger percentage of childcare and *she* who carries the child within her during uncomfortable, exhausting, vomitous circumstances TRUMPS daddy. Sorry. It's the rules the Book of Woman. I read the fine print myself.

亦奈美妮 said...

君子立恆志,小人恆立志。............................................................

Jennifer said...

there is more me time for introverts when they are both in school full time. trust me. and hang in there. xox.

Danna said...

I know that I've thought that too...That there is no way that I can handle more than 2 and shockingly...here I sit...thinking that I won't be able to handle my 3children in the new year!

But I just remember, God won't give you anything that you can't handle! It's in God's perfect timing and His ultimate plan for you and your family. A decision that is going to be made between Josh and yourself and God.