I remember the day my friend mentioned she went through 10 diapers a day with her newborn. 10. Diapers. Every. Day.
It stunned me. There was no way that number could be accurate. I was pregnant with our first child, dreaming of my baby girl in her pretty little clothes, sleeping peacefully in her pretty little room, and making life so beautiful and peaceful and complete.
10 diapers a day? Seriously? My sweet baby girl?
That meant 3,650 diapers the first year alone. And it might have been the first moment I realized motherhood was not going to be sane.
Fast-forward a few years, and I was in our apartment, with 4 kids ages six and under. My husband had been at work all day. I was homeschooling our pretty little daughter, doing reading lessons with our 4 year old son, trying to entertain our 2 year old son, and keeping our newborn son fed and changed. (Note – your 4-year-old does not need to learn to read when life is a chaotic mess. Wish I would have known that one!)
The day had been hectic. Our place was a wreck, clothes and dishes and toys everywhere. The kids were being kids, and I was in my typical overwhelmed, unshowered state. It was too much. All of it. The baby was crying. The 2 year old started crying. The 4 and 6 year olds started crying. So I did the only thing I knew to do. I sat down on the floor in the middle of all four crying kids and started crying, too.
My husband came home to that scene, and I’m sure he did all the nice, soothing things husbands do when their wives are about to crack. But I’ve never forgotten that feeling, the one of being surrounded by the crying that I couldn’t control and the needs I couldn’t meet and not knowing how to help and feeling like I was literally on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
It’s not easy. It’s literally crazy.
When we say our kids are driving us crazy, it’s fairly accurate. As my therapist has told me several times, kids are energy vampires. They suck the energy from us. They don’t give energy, they take it. And they don’t just take it once and be done. They start fresh every single day.
Some days I manage it okay. Some days I take it moment by moment and celebrate the huge victory of survival once they’re all in bed.
But more often than not, I sit down in the middle of the craziness of my kids and meet it with my own version of crazy. I feel the crazy wash over me, paralyze me with helplessness and powerlessness, and hold me in a place where all my own crazy comes out. And it’s not pretty.
I call this the Crazy Formula. I add my own crazy to my kids’ crazy, and nobody wins.
My Kids’ Crazy + My Crazy = We’re All Going Crazy
I’ll blog more about our own crazy in the next post. But know this – we don’t have to live by this formula. There is another way, and it’s healthier for everyone.
For now, let’s do our #onesmallthing and recognize where it’s not working. There’s an old commercial that used to say “knowing is half the battle.” It’s true.
Acknowledging what isn’t working is a powerful step toward finding what will.