This is the beginning of a five part series of the struggle being real as a mum of five. Hoping to encourage all those mamas/mamas to be out there no matter what stage you are at that maybe somewhere is this you will breathe a ‘ME TOO”
The struggle is real for our time.
And there it was in a blink of an eye. My house, my life was now at its all time capacity. I reached this conclusion as I walked into my living room that was once again being used as parkour course by my three boys.
Gone are the days of neat and orderly.
A big family was always what we wanted. We made that decision independently of each other. God was good in that. We conceived Jessie when Abigail was just twelve weeks and that is how we started and continued for eight years. Each child planned and tried for just like the rest of their brothers and sisters.
As a family we have had to work hard at the growing demands that each of them have and as parents Glen and I have to work out quickly and correctly how to love them well in the moment. Sometimes quick and correct is not possible.
The expectations I have had on myself is incredible. Sometimes they were so extreme, especially with the girls, it was paralysing. I have memories etched in my brain about the way I was with them and wanting them to behave like some performing seals. ‘Don’t let me down’ was the phrase I carried inwardly. They were good kids, thirteen months apart and we were the happiest when we were with friends who allowed the three of us to be who we were, no judgement, no condemnation. Just me, working out the baby rhythm and them learning to be little people. I could breathe with those friends. I had small babies who needed me to breathe. I still need those friends, always.
We have our struggles. They are very real. I am always and still trying to work out what each of them need at the time they need it. Who is sad? Who is needing a chat? Who hasn’t talked about their day? Who hasn’t eaten? Who needs a bath? Noah where are your glasses!?
Its all there and the struggle for time is real.
Sometimes I find it hard to breathe when they are all wanting my undivided attention. I always and forever ask myself the question do I have enough to give to each of them so they feel loved, valued and heard. They want to talk about their day, their thoughts, their struggles and there I am struggling to make space to pee never mind giving five little people the love and attention they need.
In the car on the way home from school there is a making sure everyone has said how their day was.
Sometimes my head is so full, I need air.
I feel like a duck most days with my feet frantically paddling underwater thinking in my head of what time should dinner go on at, who is out tonight? Where is Seth? Who is calling me? What homework needs done? Abigail move your coat from the stairs!!
Outwardly though putting the kettle on and saying ‘take a seat my love and lets chat… How are you doing?’
The dinner table is where we all get together and it gets real. (We do this every day except Saturdays because that is when Glen and I eat at 9pm watching something, anything. No talking, no fights just us pretending that we are just married and in love)
So before anyone is called to the table in my head Every. Single. Time. I think it’s going to be idyllic and calm. It. Never. Is. Its always messy and loud. There are always squabbles, knocked over juice and at one point you can probably most likely hear me saying ‘what is the flipping point!’
Day outs always have two elements. Fighting and fun. All of us in the car, a confined space. Someone has said something that is hurtful. A punch is thrown, a leg is kicked, tears are shed and this is all happening while Glen is cranking up the new Radiohead album so we can all hear such ‘good’ music and I am screaming in my head ‘if I hear the word mum one more time, I am jumping out of this moving vehicle’
The struggle is real with our time. Its never smooth sailing. Days out never go the way I have planned.
But we will continue to be sacred and sacrificial about our family days, and one to one times with them. This is our sacred investment. This bunch, my crew have to not just hear that we love them, they have to feel it. I want them to never ever feel that they weren’t showing up for so we work out how time is spelt to each of them, all so different and we get creative. Its fun to see this grow in us.
I am not sure what we will have gotten right or wrong when they hit adulthood but I want our best to be that they grow feeling adored and that we showed up because we relentlessly loved them and that us their mama and dad wanted to spend time with them above everything else. So to all the sports days, Christmas plays, Irish dancing festivals, GB displays and rugby matches. To all the phone calls when we are out of town and the crazy photos at 6am to say good morning I will keep on this road of time.
The struggle is real and I will continue fighting this struggle, getting it right and getting it wrong because I know it is always way easier to put the TV on or to pass them the iPad but who wins then. Not me or the kids. So as I tuck them in and listen to their stories with all of my exhaustion and I couldn’t be bothered with another story I get in beside them and I listen because more than my selfish desires I love them, more than I ever imagined.