It’s a new year. My social media feed is filled with accomplishments and successes of the past year (and even the past decade), and I’m over here just trying to survive. 2019 has been the hardest year of my life. It has challenged me in ways I never imagined. The transition from one child to two has put a strain on every part of my life – professional, marriage, motherhood (obviously), financially, mentally, physically. I knew it would be difficult, but I never imagined how much would change.
And as you can tell, I’ve been silent. A fellow blogger once said that before publishing any post, no matter how challenging the situation, you must always include a life lesson, a positive outcome, something to make your reader smile. I’ve struggled with this notion. I’ve written so many posts, longing for an epiphany or antidote to round out the raw emotion, and it’s never come. The truth is, becoming parents to two children has been a battle we weren’t ready to face. By the end of many nights, after both children a finally sleeping, we can barely speak because our brains have been mentally extinguished from the nonsense of it all – arguing with a toddler that she can’t have a cookie for dinner; attempting to soothe an overly tired baby; living each day with minimal sleep; and attempting to function as normal people throughout work.
We’ve been forced to learn a new way of life and we are barely surviving in most cases. We spent countless nights wide awake trying to make sense of it all. How do we even begin to pay for our new life? How do we manage our time at home so our lives stay on some sort of path? And why does it seem when our family is in a good place, our careers struggle, and when we are succeeding at work, our home lives are at disarray. We are never enough.
I love my children. I honestly do. I would die so they would never feel an ounce of pain. But any parent will tell you, these types of sacrifices take its toll on every other part of your life. And you never feel like you’re doing enough. Even now, as I sit here and write this, as Gregory is sleeping off the Flu, my mind is racing. I need to reschedule meetings and attempt to figure out which parent can stay home with him next week as the other goes to work, while the other part of my brain is fighting tears over the fact that my little buddy is suffering and there is nothing I can do except let the disease run its course. And another part is mentally checking off what else I need to disinfect to keep my baby girl safe.
Two children mean you never have a moment to breath. Nap schedules are completely opposite. Gregory just starting crawling, so I spend hours desperately trying to keep the toddler toys away from his path, which means Abby is jealous of the attention he is getting. Suddenly, she no longer knows how to put her shoes on, hold a fork, or climb on the couch. As parents, you play zones – one kid to each parent. This means, there is never a break. Even at night, when they are both finally asleep, it’s only a matter of minutes before Gregory has a diaper explosion, or Abby needs to use the potty yet again. Getting out the door in the morning now takes over an hour, as Abby runs around the house naked screaming about how she doesn’t want to wear the purple dress, and Gregory spits up all over his freshly cleaned shirt.
And then here comes the New Year. And I find myself skimming through the accomplishment of my peers and fear that mine will never compare. It’s exhausting trying to live up to the person you imagined you’d be at this point in life, or even to the person you imagine everyone else is. I have to remind myself that online personas may not always be truthful. And while I am happy for everyone’s accomplishments, I think it’s time to applaud our own small victories – no matter the size.
So here is my 2019 honest review of my accomplishments:
Completed my onboarding while simultaneously preparing for leave
2019 meant the year of compromises and learning to balance. I survived the first portion of the year in my third trimester, overcome with fear over the thought of another c-section, trying to figure out to balance two children, and how to transition Abby from being an only child to a big sister. While, at the same time, learning a brand new job because I accepted my new position while 20 weeks pregnant. I literally was partaking in an introductory handshake while waving goodbye with the other. I even met with an new client three days before giving birth, and had to ensure everyone in the room that I wouldn’t go into labor before the meeting ended. And, I did all of this with my best friend states away. I honestly never thought I’d survive.
Welcomed my second baby into the world
I cried as I entered the hospital that morning, excited yet saddened over the thought that this would be my last time as an expectant mom. I recovered as best I could from my second c-section, and survived not being able to pick up Abby for six weeks without pain. And, was lucky enough to experience PUPPP for the first time. PUPPP, for those of you unfamiliar, is an incredibly uncomfortable rash in your stretch marks that makes you want to rip your skin off. Typically this happens in your first pregnancy and during your third trimester, but of course, I’m an overachiever and got to experience it for the first time with my second baby, AFTER he was born.
Spent six weeks home with my new baby
I survived dropping Gregory off at daycare when he was just two months old and was able to hold off my tears until I was reunited with him 10 hours later. And spent the remainder of the evening apologizing to this newborn baby boy that I had 5 months with Abby but so little time with him. And then I woke up the next morning, and did it again.
Paid our bills
Children. Are. So. Expensive! Finances were horrible this year. We barely scraped by, and to be honest, we are still struggling. Our mortgage just went up again and of course, daycare costs are out of control. Having a smaller paycheck while out on leave didn’t help the situation one bit. But, we’ve been able to pay our bills each month.
Potty-trained our stubborn toddler
Potty. Training. Sucks. I wasted so much time reading all of those idiotic books that claimed they had the secret to potty training in just three days. Crock of lies! None of them worked with Abby. She is literally the worst. She pooped in so many pairs of underwear – SO MANY! And then would be angry that she couldn’t wear them again. No Abby, I’m not going to wash your pooped-filled Frozen underwear, I don’t care how much you love Elsa. Not happening!
Saw two movies in theaters
That’s right! We were able to coordinate our lives enough to be able to go out, not once, but twice to see a movie! I have zero idea what we saw, I just know that we did it and that is a huge accomplishment. Date nights are few and far between these days. It’s was difficult to get someone to watch just one kid, but now we have a loud toddler and a mobile baby. All bets are off. So the fact that we were able to have multiple dates nights (and not just these two movie scenarios) is incredible!
This just sums it all up. We did it! And we are continuing to do it. We are surviving this life with two children, both of which I’m convinced are secretly playing a game called “Let’s see how long it takes before Mommy and Daddy reach their breaking point.” The objectives are easy, and the tasks include throwing a tantrum because your broccoli touched your chicken; suddenly forgetting how to sleep through the night; refusing to nap on weekends – ever; forgetting how to pee in the potty; and anything else you can think of. But, we survived. And we have even had some laughs along the way. Each day has it’s own challenges. This weekend alone, attempting to figure out how to balance an sick baby with an over energetic toddler all while surviving on 2 hours of sleep, was torture. But, we somehow figured it out.
So there are my accomplishments. There are no big promotions, or exotic trips around the world, but I’m pretty proud of them.
Here’s to 2020. Let our coffee be strong and our mugs be mighty.