There are some mothers, like a friend here in Maine who just had her 4th baby, who make all this mothering business look like a piece of cake. Her children are polite, eat what is put in front of them, are good at Mass, and are several grade levels ahead of their peers. She is always calm and unflappable, she nurses in public with the greatest discretion, even with a newborn. She can potty train a toddler while holding a baby, with lunch in the oven for company and not even look ruffled.
And then there are the rest of us. 'Cause, I don't think I am the only overwhelmed mommy of many.
One look at our household and you see mothering a large group of small children as the hard work it really is. I do the same things my friend does, but I break into a sweat at just the prospect of having to perform two tasks simultaneously and end up spit stained and wrinkled everyday.
Take this morning (please), awaking at 6:30 I had to start right in with cleaning up the cat's litter box and bulimia mess, getting Charlie's milk, nursing the baby and changing his nappie, all without even the benefit of a cup of hot cocoa first. Then at breakfast I managed to overcook the girl's Ovaltine in the microwave and spilled it all down the front of the cabinets, on the floor, and filling a drawer full of utensils. Mass starts at 8:30 so there is little time for anything but breakfast, dressing, and bolting for the car, but I managed to get everything wiped up and in the dishwasher. Everything at Mass went along swimmingly except Timmy couldn't stop squirming in my arms reaching for milk, Cheerios and baby books to chew on. In exhaustion, I handed him to Mary, who was begging to hold him, only to have him fling his little chin on the pew and start spurting blood out of his mouth. Timmy started screaming, I hissed to Mary to hand my wipes, while Charlie wouldn't budge from his precious position on my lap. Amazing to me, a tourist couple that had been sitting behind us complimented me on the children's behavior. Standing in the parish hall watching them eat their much deserved doughnuts they looked like little angels but I was a disheveled mess.
Even though I feel constantly overwhelmed, it seems everywhere I went this week I heard wonderful comments like, "God bless you my dear," and "You have a beautiful family." God knew I needed it just to make it through the day.