There are bad days in our household. I know that’s hard to believe with all the adorable faces I get to look at every day and the amazing husband that I get to call mine, but they do happen. I had one last Thursday, courtesy of the child that makes me think outside the box when it comes to discipline, and I had one today, courtesy of that amazing husband. Don’t get me wrong. I loooooooooove my husband and I am thankful that he is mine. He is wonderfully amazing, but people, he’s not perfect, and neither am I, so some days don’t run so smoothly.
Now, I have admitted that life with two or three, or heck, even one, can be hard sometimes. I do not think that moms of fewer coast through this job of being mommy. However, the ER in harder comes in for me because it feels constant here. As soon as one is satisfied, there’s an issue with another. Even on good days, many things go undone and I can’t ever stay caught up on it all. I’ve learned to let go of what people think about my house. How undecorated it may be, how messy it always is, and how I’ve swapped out rooms, yet again. That doesn’t mean those things don’t bother me. It just means that I don’t beat myself up over it anymore. It ain’t gonna help it get done! But I digress…
Life in a large family has to be lived differently. You HAVE TO have a schedule, or it all falls apart. You have to plan and execute your grocery shopping, preparation, and delivery of your meals, and if you want to save money, you have to clip, sort, and stack coupons with the sales at each store, after poring over the sales papers or tipster websites. It is work, people, and it’s something we aren’t very good at here at the Stovall household. I’m working on that, and yesterday afternoon, I buddied up with our meal helpers (each girl helps with a mealtime, the boys don’t because they aren’t quite big enough yet, not because we’re sexist!) and made menus for the week. If they help pick it, they’ll enjoy making it and eating it even more. From that, we made a grocery list. So, we needed to now go to the grocery store to get the groceries.
Now, if you’ll recall from a previous post, I was tired this weekend. Very tired. Tired enough to post about it. So I didn’t feel like going to the store. The catch for me goes like this- “Do I feel like getting out (showering, finding clothes that aren’t a 15 year old pair of sweats stained with bleach) or do I want to stay home and entertain the kids?” When I’m not pregnant, the answer is easy. I’ll get out, zip in and out of the store, and get home. When I am pregnant, no thanks, but I don’t want to entertain the kids, either. I do that all week long. (Insert judgment here) So, my amazing husband offers to go to the store for me and hit the bogo’s at Publix. What a sweetie. He gets home, offers to go to Kroger (which he doesn’t like for me to do late at night because he is constantly asked for money, and he just prefers I not be approached by strangers asking for money), and I tell him not to worry about it. I’ll make do with what he got from Publix. My mom was going to be bringing my two nephews and niece over today (my brother had to work late, and she was already going to be sitting for me like she usually does on Mondays so I can take the girls to their lessons), and I wanted to be able to offer to feed them to help make their night easier. Instead of beef casserole, I decided on chili and hot dogs.
This morning, when Adam finally rolled out of bed at 8:30, I asked him if we could talk. I was already overwhelmed at what didn’t get done on Sunday, which yes, should be a day of rest, but I don’t know if that means “let the whole house go”. And having ten people living in this house (counting our college roommate) makes enough of a mess over a day’s time. I have to constantly remind him that while he may not care if I don’t get things pristine, or clean even, it still has to be done. He never comes home and fusses at me, y’all, no matter how bad it all looks, but it overwhelms me to live in it sometimes, and even though he doesn’t ride my case, I still feel bad that it doesn’t always get done. I don’t have a house cleaner. Our roommate doesn’t babysit or pick up extra chores. Our moms don’t come over and clean for us. It’s all on me. When Mom does come to babysit, she’ll do anything I ask her to, but I don’t like to ask her to do things like that. I did ask her to fold two loads of laundry last week, but I didn’t ask her to take it downstairs and put it away. I am trying to train my kids to take care of their home and their stuff in a way that teaches them responsibility, but in teaching them, it doesn’t always get done the way that would look best. And when one thing gets done, quite often, there are twelve things undone. It’s just tricky.
Anyway, I just was talking to him about how overwhelmed I am feeling. How the mess gets to me, since I don’t get to leave it for eight hours every day like he does. I can’t keep up the laundry and the meal planning and preparation and the homeschooling and the character training and the organizing and the project planning (to save money by building things versus buying them at a 200%+ markup). I just need some help somewhere. He agreed and said we would try and figure out how we can make that happen. Then he got showered, dressed, and went to work.
He didn’t do his small chores that he has offered to do to make the morning a little easier for me. No biggie, I can deal with that, although I’d rather him just say, “No, I can’t help you ever” than me rely on his help and get it sporadically. What’s the point? He’s not intentionally neglectful, and believe me, I know, his plate is full. I hear that one enough (never from him, mind you, but plenty others feel this way). I didn’t notice any room on mine, either, but I guess that is beside the point. And just so you know, THE EIGHT KIDS WEREN’T MY IDEA! WHY DO PEOPLE THINK THE ONE THAT ACTUALLY BIRTHS THEM IS THE ONE THAT DEMANDS WE HAVE THEM??? In my times of doubt and concern about having another child, it has been Adam that has said that we need to trust God. Do not mistake me for saying he tells me I have to have all of these babies. I wish this were as black and white as some people would like it to be. I’d like it to be more black and white. But it isn’t. This is a faith issue for us that we aren’t always sure how to handle. That was the point in sharing this with you to begin with. The point is, the one that actually physically endures the pregnancy, delivery, and the daily upbringing of these children did not strong arm the one with the easier role into doing this. I just think that needs to be clarified sometimes. Again, I digress (see why these posts are harder?)…
So, the little extra helpful chores of changing the diapered children (2) didn’t get done and Addison carried out the trash (on her own, without being asked, just ’cause she wanted to be helpful), which is the other thing I ask of him before he leaves. But then my mom calls and tells me that Adam called her and said he went to work with the groceries in the back of the van. The ones I was counting on to get me through the day. And he wanted her to come by and pick them up for him before she came to my house. However, she wasn’t coming over until 3:00, which meant I didn’t have anything to get through the first part of the day, AND this changed my dinner plans. So these little oversights, these “no big deal” things to him were a huge deal to me. And I let it ruin my day. We fussed, I got depressed, and I said “I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE!” I tell him when we are considering opening our womb to the possibility of another baby that pregnancy exhausts a woman, and when she has seven other kids to take care of and educate during that pregnancy, it means he has to help. He’s aware of this before the seed is planted, if you know what I mean. There is open, honest communication going on in this house. I don’t say, “Oh dear, you won’t have to worry about a thing” and then spring this on him. He knows. And guys, some days it is just. so. hard.
Now, I know he is a gem. And I know he doesn’t intentionally do these things to hurt me or make my life harder. But in the moment, in the chaos, it overwhelms me. I have relied on an anti-depressant in past pregnancies to make the hard days easier, but this go ’round, like the last one, they make me sick. So, I’m doing this on my own. It’s hard. And I know what some of you are thinking (because some of my own relatives have said it out loud), “Why do you do this?” Again, we are just trying to trust God with what He wants for our life. He doesn’t always promise easy, and quite honestly, when I struggle the most is usually when I am leaning on Him the least and trying to do it all on my own. Or, as my dear friends haven’t been afraid to say to me in the past, I am leaning on ADAM to be my savior on these days. Again, it’s not black and white.
So, I may have rambled a bit and it may not make sense. I don’t feel like I make sense on these days. But, out of fairness and a need to be honest, I thought I’d share. Today was a day where I said, “I can’t be pregnant again. I can’t have another baby. I can’t add to the laundry or the groceries or to the schedule. I can’t do this anymore.” I’m sure He will put something on my heart about this all at some point, which is what usually happens, and it tends to make me forget the little details that made this post so long. But I gave it to you, raw, before the kids were even in bed. Yes, there are days I consider no more.