Friday, June 5, 2009

Ask Anne (Taintor)

Allow me to explain:


I don't think it matters how many children I have, I am never quite prepared for the mood swings and water works that accompany childbirth. I can cry at anything, and I generally do: commercials, pictures, songs, other people, the past, the present, the future, holding a baby, prayers, a kiss, my children's honesty, any member of my extended family, food, generosity, home videos, some of the dancers on "So You Think You Can Dance," and even just thinking about crying can turn on the tear ducts. It really is quite pathetic. Sometimes, I am shedding tears of extreme love and overwhelming gratitude, and other times, my salty explosion comes from frustration, exhaustion, pain, or disappointment in myself. There really is no rhyme or reason. It's enough to make me pull my hair out. (Wait a minute - That is already happening on its own. Just another side effect of hormone imbalance.)

The day we brought the boys home from the hospital, I nearly had my first breakdown. There were quite a few people in the house (all my kids, some friends, some neighbor girls, Greg's sisters and mom), the TV was on, it was dinner time, and it was time for me to pump. (Please note: I loved having everyone home and eager to see the babies, and nobody was really doing anything to bother me. The kids weren't fighting or anything, and the neighbor girls were trying to help Paige. It was just the sheer volume of people in the house and the noise level that accompanies bodies.) I could not find the motors to my breast pump, and the longer it took to find them, the more I felt like my chest was going to burst open - literally. Greg and my mother-in-law were helping me search, so nobody was getting dinner for the kids. I could feel myself starting to lose it. It began in my toes, gradually passed by my heart which started beating faster with anxiety, landed in my shoulders which tensed up immediately, and as it grew closer and closer to my eyes, I knew a complete breakdown was near.

I was carrying Kade around with me because he was awake and squirming. I went into my closet, locked the door, and pleaded with the Lord to help me find the pump so I wouldn't fall apart. I felt a little foolish because it seemed so trivial, and yet it felt like the world would crumble if I didn't find those motors soon. I came out, turned off the TV, sent everyone home, and after a couple of minutes, I remembered that I had actually put the motors away (in a cupboard with the baby bottles). I feel like a little kid writing an entry in "The Friend," but I know that the Lord answers prayers.


One of the reasons that I absolutely love having babies in my home is that I am a wonderful mother to newborns. Actually, I'll shout my praises until my children are between the ages of two and three. And then, I lose all my natural abilities. One of the things that I most admire in my husband is that he truly enjoys our children. He plays with them, jokes around with them, and has a natural ability to connect with them. I don't know how he does it. The nurturing and care taking side of motherhood comes natural to me, but the playful, fun mom takes an immense amount of effort. I feel like all I do is nag all day long. All I do is tell them what to do and what not to do. The only word that seems to come out of my mouth is "No!" Wait a minute, I also frequently repeat the words, "Stop it," "Don't argue with me," and "Go to your room." I can't seem to relax and just enjoy being with them. Things need to get done, and it seems to take an eternity for them to accomplish anything. And they are so incredibly LOUD. The noise level in our house seems to have risen exponentially and it seems to go directly to the core of my bones. I cannot take it!

When they are sleeping or at school, I spend most of the time lamenting my horrible impatience and vowing to be a happy, kind, fun mother. But then they wake up or come home from school, and they just grate on my nerves. My friend, Mindi, wrote a post a couple of weeks ago debating whether she is mothering or simply caretaking. It was beautifully written, and has made me realize that I need to make some changes. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I have to find a way to fix this situation and soon!


My babies are one month old, it is probably time to shower regularly, fix my hair, put on a little makeup, and wear actual clothes instead of pajama bottoms and my green bathrobe. What do you think?


My friends in the neighborhood have been so wonderful to take shifts to come over to my house to help me. My parents are constantly looking for ways to help, and my brother and sisters have all been so selfless to pitch in and help. I am so very grateful, and yet I am not very good at accepting the help. I don't want people to feel like they are wasting their time, and yet we are just living at a different pace right now - an incredibly SLOW pace. I can't really control when the babies need to eat or when I have a bad night and need a nap. Let's face it - I am no good at asking for help and feel guilty because I know other people have it so much worse. I feel like I should be able to take care of my family. I've mentioned it before, but guilt pretty much rules my life. It is a constant battle between overwhelming gratitude for these incredible people and my own guilt/expectations.


Things really aren't as bad as I'm making them out to be. Overall, I actually think that the past month has gone well (better than I expected at least). I feel very content and happy and blessed a large majority of the time. These things that I've mentioned are just constantly nagging at me. I needed to get them off my chest, write them down, and start working on changing them.

Just to prove that I still have a sense of humor, these two just plain make me laugh out loud:


Jen-ben said...

AH, Emily, how I LOVE you. YOu are amazing. I know I say that all the must know how much I truly mean it! You are doing such a great job with FIVE children.

Amber said...

I know EXactly what you mean about the guilt. But I'm going to give the same advice you gave to me when Abbie was born- take how ever long you need to adjust to having another baby. I think you told me to give myself at least a month, so you need to give yourself at LEAST two months because you have TWO BABIES! I think at the end of the day if you and all of your kids are still alive, you're doing an amazing job!

Krainich Family said...

I am amazed how I can laugh even at a post like this. Your honesty is refreshing. I can only imagine how hard 5 kids would be. You said it's hard to accept the help bc of all the people who are worse off than you, but remember all the people who aren't worse off and DO have time, energy and love to help-Take it while it lasts love. Use it up. We offer bc we love. By the way, when can I get a shift?

Jackie said...

I think you are doing amazing Emily. And I know that it's hard to accept help and it must be hard to have people in your house, but WE are the ones that want to do it. It helps us to know that we are helping you because we love you and your kids. I feel like I haven't done enough. If you need an afternoon nap, errands run, etc- please let me know. :-)

Kristy said...

First off, you're nowhere NEAR the time that you should be showering, etc. on a regular basis! You have a get-out-of-jail-free card for everything except the basics for the next eight months or so as far as I'm concerned! I second the comments about how amazing you are. I often feel like "just a caretaker" too. I'll have to go read that post. Take it one minute at a time Emily. Thinking of you often,