I’ve got a one-and-a-half year old tugging on my leggings ready to eat right now, dinner threatening to burn in the pot, the four year old screaming for me to wipe her poop, while my six year old and ten year old are yelling at each other over their personal space.
And, I’m pregnant with our fifth.
I glance at the clock, willing 5:30 pm to switch in green over the steaming dinner so my relief can come, when the angry crowd will break as they run towards their daddy. Until then, the chaos is deafening and suffocating to my momma soul and once again I wonder, “Can I really handle another?”
Can I really juggle another baby and toddler on each hip? Keep track of another little one at the play ground? Add another person to the forever long nighttime routine? Go without much sleep a few more years? Is there room in our food budget? Am I patient enough? Will my love spread far, so they each have their time with me and they know without a doubt in their beating hearts that I love them so?
I have spent most of my fifth pregnancy feeling extremely inadequate and, honestly, undeserving of the blessing of so many children. The truth is that I’m not always patient or gentle with my words. They watch a lot of TV so I can get work done or have a quiet moment to myself. I don’t wrestle like their daddy does or take them to the park often out of my own anxiety of losing one. Somedays the bickering never ends and the constant demands of little people wears down the edges of my sanity for the moment. Often, I collapse in my bed at night thankful for the silence and a do-over in the morning.
Truth be told, I’ve felt this with every single pregnancy– whether it was my second or the fifth. There is an ebb and flow of pure terror of not being everything they need and yet excitement that we get to do this baby thing all again as a family. Because, really, who doesn’t love a squishy new baby in their arms? On one hand, I can’t wait to add to our crew and discover who this new little person is, who she will resemble the most (please be me since number four was a daddy clone!), her blossoming personlity over the years, her interests in life, the bond she will have with her siblings– you know, all those warm fuzzy rainbow moments. On the other hand, I seriously doubt my abilities as a mom to stretch myself even further. I already feel stretched thin as it is some days, how much further before I break?
Will I break?
Here’s the thing though: Us mommas just do it. We do. We pull up our legging waist band, put on our momma hat (maybe some gloves, too), and do what needs to be done. Maybe it’s cleaning a pile of throw-up we never, ever wanted to touch. Or it’s battling a squirmy toddler to get buckled into the carseat they hate. We do it because we have to for them. It’s part of the job we signed up for, unicorn feel good moments along with the tough stuff. I know I’ll do the same when I have my fifth, just like I did with my first, second, third, and forth. Sure, I’ll feel like I’m breaking some moments, but I won’t. Why? Because while the tough stuff digs deep into my weak flesh which wants to believe the lie that I’m not “good enough,” at the same time I am strong. At the very same time, I am confident.
I’ve done this all before! I can do the sleepless teething nights again, the strong-willed battles, the extra laundry and dishes, the deep talks at midnight with a child who is worrying, endure the sass of the toddler who doesn’t want to pick up her toys, or the million poopy diapers to change per year. And yes, somehow, there’s always been just enough financially as our family has grown, just as our love has expanded.
Moms, it is normal and okay to feel both at the same time: Weak, yet strong. Inadequate, yet confident.
You’ve got this, because you really aren’t weak or inadequate at all.