Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What's the Secret?

Last night I called Dan at 5:30 to inform him that this was the end of an era. I would no longer be cooking dinner. This is only the 3rd time I've tried to do it since becoming the mother of 3, but it did not go well. The boys kept spitting out their binkies and screaming. The screaming caused their oxygen levels to drop thus setting off their monitors. Amid the constant beeping and infant crying, Maggie managed to open my bottle of tums and when I took it away from her she threw a fit so big that she threw herself off the kitchen counter and landed flat on her back. This resulted in a goose egg the size of Kentucky. I don't know exactly how big Kentucky is, but her goose egg seemed that big. Maybe Kansas?

I used to make dinner everyday. But now I don't know if I can do it. I told Dan its a good thing its Taco Tuesday over-to-the Del Taco. Cause I ain't cookin'. Also, cleaning is even more fruitless than usual. Yesterday morning I vacuumed the dining room, hall, and bedrooms. By noon Maggie had distributed Fruity Cheerios throughout the house along with blades of grass. The bookshelves had all been cleared with the books either on the floor or on my bed. Where was I while she was doing this? On my bed with a child attached to each breast. My "no, no Maggie!" pleas were easily ignored.

Its not just the household responsibilities that are slipping. I no longer feel like a human being. I leave the house once or twice a week to either take the boys to the doctor or run with Maggie to the grocery store. My only connections to the real world are blogging and the Olympics on t.v. And I'm not sure the Olympics qualify as the "real world"because in my real world there are not Chinese drummers putting on light shows. I feel like a mess. I am a mess.

I wish I had a hobby or something else to do so that I could actually accomplish something and it would stay done. The only things I've been doing lately (dishes, laundry, diaper changing, vacuuming, nursing, diaper changing, nursing, diaper changing, and dishes) don't stay done. And I can't really sit back and say "Wow. Look what I did today."

I guess its kind of part of this stage of life. But when I look at all of you, my blog readers, I don't see you struggling as much with it as I am. So what's the secret? How do you make it look so easy? What do you try to do each day so you can have a sense of accomplishment? Come on--spill!


Rochelle said...

Hang in there... I promise it gets easier as they grow older. My standard 'making dinner' technique is to turn on a movie for the kids so I can make it in peace. Not the best parenting strategy... but it works. And at least once (or twice) a week, Jeremy makes breakfast for dinner. Sometimes it's cold cereal but hey, we get fed! :)

Ginna said...

oh sweet thing. You have THREE kids two and under! It's an incredible amount of work! You need to give yourself a break. In my book you have at least a year before you need to feel guilty about dinner or housecleaning.

And I can't give you any insights about dealing with a lot of kids, but for the last few years I was so busy I could hardly breathe--work, school, max, church. The way I survived? Some things went by the wayside. For example, cooking dinner. It was done whenever possible, but sometimes Kris did it. Sometimes we went out. Sometimes the only time a real dinner that wasn't grilled cheese or cereal was made was sunday.

Same with house cleaning. We did it on saturday. Together.

So I don't know if that helps, but I think you're wonderful if that
(sorry for the SUPER long comment)

Ginna said...

oh, and I forgot to say I LOVE that photo at the top. It's adorable and hilarious at the same time. You're a saint.

AmyR said...

Hi Megan, I think you are a great writer if that makes you feel better. I'll share my life philosophy with you. "You can do everything you want in life.... Just not all at once." You have the next 80 years to make dinner, you can certainly take the next 5 years off.

Macbeth Bunch said...

I know that I feel the exact same way. I look at everyone else's blogs and think "What is wrong with me". Mostly, I don't think blogs tell even ninety percent of the real story. Maybe everyone else is amazing. I know that's what I let myself think sometimes. But I also believe that it can't really be the case. Just know that I'm struggling right along with you and I keep hoping it's going to get easier some day. Let me know when you find the secret.

Emily said...

This is long, Sorry! I was thinking the same things the other day. I declared in a complete pregnant fit of rage that I hated cleaning my house because there really is no point and that I would just be a depressed slob for the rest of my life. Dramatic I know, but when I am pregnant and grumpy it's the way I roll. I was so angry I had ignored my children as much as possible and cleaned my house like a little maid would. I was exhausted and so very proud of myself for my sparkling house by the time my kids woke up from their naps. When I pushed myself to the kitchen and got dinner cooked I looked out to see my husband on the floor watching Arthur with the kids and my house was a total mess. No one ate my dinner because they had been snaking and then we got the kids in bed and wanted nothing more then to sleep myself. And that's when I had it. I looked over my house and it was worse then it had been when I started to clean it that morning!!! Stew did the dishes and I eventually fell asleep on the couch. I woke up to the same mess I spent all day cleaning the day before. Megan, you just had twins be kind to yourself...and honestly you are sooo not alone!!!! I am right there with you! Its not easy but it dose get better. Maggie will someday be older and so will your twins and that makes a big difference - I tell myself that all the time. If I lived by you I'd bring you all my left overs from the dinners my kids refuse to eat.

One more thing...sorry I know this is too long. :) When I was where you are after I ahd Angeli she was a really hard new born and I was freaking out a bit I started to write to-do lists with everything I did in a day...the breast feeding, the diapers,... I would then check everything off as I went. It felt really good to check off my list. At night I would make Stew sit down with me and I would show him everything I had done and he'd tell me how awesome I was and that I was super women. It really helped. You are not alone! :O)

Marilyn said...

Wow Megan, _I_ think you are amazing!! And NO one makes dinner every night (do they? except my mom). And I never get anything that stays done, done---in addition to which, things that I have previously done, are gradually becoming un-done (I refer to being physically fit, knowing how to play the piano, having any academic knowledge whatsoever, etc.) So the sum total of my accomplishments is actually sinking into negative numbers. However. When I feel like this, Sam always tells me, "But you made that baby!" Which is doubly true for you. Good work!

Amanda D said...

First, I love your blog. I'm so glad that you are still posting! Even though life is crazy right now.

Second, I don't have much to offer because you have so much great advice all ready. I do think that making a to-do list with things that you know will get done -babies fed, changed, reading a story to Maggie, whatever- and crossing each item off will give you a sense of accomplishment.

And, you could always take up scrapbooking or something. :)

Good luck! And whoever said that you have 80 years left to make dinner, take the next 5 off is right!

Anonymous said...

The crockpot is also wonderful. Put something in in the morning (better yet, make dan put something in) and let it cook!
Also, look at the list of things you said you'd done!! Looks pretty long to me!

Evenson Fam said...

Megan you are too cute. I don't have any great advise but I can tell you that it is so fun when they start to play together! They will soon entertain each other while you make dinner. What I do is (like metioned earlier) is make a very short list to get done. And have plenty of frozen things ready to go for dinner. When the hubbie comes home tell him what is for dinner and then he can stick it in the microwave. Good luck and just enjoy those babies!

Alicia said...

We hadn't been home from the hospital one day when we started wondering how anyone ever managed more than one child, especially more than one newborn! We are in total awe of you and had tons of struggles we never had the energy or desire to blog about. The thing that got me through those early days that didn't feel like I was accomplishing much was just trying to drink up the special precious moments of holding a sleeping newborn and remembering that they would be gone all too soon. That sounds really cheesy, but it really helped because I am so prone to be concentrating on what's next on the list of things to get done rather than just relaxing and enjoying things. And now I'm amazed at how much easier it's gotten in a lot of ways. Good luck!

Cambo said...

Seester, I have been a neglectful governess. What you need to do, in all seriousness, is call me up when things get crazy and tell me to get my lazy governess behind over there. Seriously. Let me know when you're going crazy and I'll come get Maggie and them boys to be singing and prancing all around the Austrian countryside. You have my number Seester.

Tia said...

On your next outing stop at the Hostess outlet and buy 6 boxes of goods. No more, no less. Man, they need a drive-up window at that store!

Mel and Byde said...

You are amazing! I don't have any advice for juggling three little ones, but give yourself a break. You can't do everything, and no expects you to except yourself. Enjoy the babies. If you get dinner done, great. If not, Dan will be home and he can whip up something. If it really bothers you to not do dinner, then have someone take the kids for several hours, or come over for several hours and make some dinners and freeze them...or better yet call My Girlfriends Kitchen and go pick them up from them and put them in the freezer. Hang In There! I wish I was closer...but if you need me...call and I'll come out!

Beth said...

Wow, Megan! Look at all your friends with such great advice. Don't you feel so lucky to have so many people that care about you?
I liked Tia's advice (why DON'T they have a drive-thru at the used bread store?) and Emily's. I'm going to make a list of everything I DO do and then check it off at night with Joel.
Really, a lot of times I feel like I'm drowning 1 tsp.ful at a time. My house gets dirtier and dirtier, and the chance for me to do something _I_ will like seems further and further away. And when I do something for myself (like reading blogs) I just feel guilty for all the time that COULD have been spent making food, folding laundry or brushing out the snarls in Clara's hair, not to mention actually HOLDING Mary for more than a second.
Isn't it hard being a mom? I want to be good at it, which is why I keep trying to practice good mothering skills, but I feel regretful a lot.
My only advice? Lower your standards! I only have the goal to vacuum once a week, and the only reason it actually sometimes gets accomplished is because it's on Lincoln and Asher's job chart.
Do your best and don't feel guilty. And quit cleaning your house BEFORE we come over!

Becca said...

You are doing a great job with everything!! I have to agree with Beth...you do need to stop cleaning your house before we come over to clean it...I only wish I had an excuse like just having twins...next week I'll just have to bring over some pictures of my house and it will make you feel tons better!! Take a deep breath!!! You are doing great!! You kiddos are adorable and they are loved and cared for, that alone is getting alot done!!! We love you!!!

Tiffany said...

First of all, LOVE the pic, that is classic. Second of all, you are a wonder woman- and I mean it! I guess it's all comes down to taking it a day at a time, because it will get better. Just remember this "if my life was only as good as my blog..." then you'll feel better:)

EmmaP said...

WOW - um.....I don't think you're supposed to have it "all together" at this point. and just so you know - i feel like my life is utter chaos right now. my house is a mess & my kids hate me - and I don't have twins and a toddler! hang in there! you're doing great! miss you & love you!

the fellers said...

first off....I think you are too hard on yourself...you are taking care of your three kids, that is what is most important...I think that you will figure out what works for you in time...the babies will slowly stop eating as frequent, Maggie will get more self sufficient, and they will all be able to figure out a schedule that works around each other, then you can get stuff done....but if you still want to have a feeling of accomplishment....just set one thing to do in a day...even if it is just taking out the garbage, then if it takes all day, but still gets done, then you can be happy with yourself! Good luck, your kids are so dang cute!

Jenny Groberg said...

Wow what a hand full! It's like starting a new job, there is a lot of training and juggling to be done. Things only get better (hopefully!!!) and they won't have to eat as often and maggie will be able to help more. GOOD LUCK!! =) YOU CAN DO IT!!!

K said...

I am too tired to read all these comments. But here is my heretical take on everything: stand you up, and with a very German air, slap you silly. For heaven's sake! What is dinner? All it really is is getting nutrition into your kids. Your husband is capable of feeding himself a sandwich, some cottage cheese with some kind of fruit. Do you have a bag of baby carrots? Good. That can be dinner.

The forms of civilized middle class living are only that: traditional forms. You have baby twins and a jet engine of a toddler. Clean laundry is a miracle - forget vacuuming - whatever Maggie picks up to eat will only make her stronger. Clean clothes can be piled and plucked out just as nicely as folded in drawers with tissue paper.

Priorities: babies, children, survival.

Forget the cleaning. No one I know has died of dust. Or of dead firebugs on the windowsills. As I recall, your younger brother ate most of a luna moth and survived. You've got a lock on the front door? Use it. Anybody who "visits" you and expects anything remotely civilized should be boiled in oil and served with an apple in her mouth.

Put these things out of your mind. You have decades to do them, if you're so eager. Rest. Give yourself permission not to see chaos. It is the fabric of the world you live in—zen it, BE THE CHAOS. It took an actual mental shift in my mind, finally, realizing I could not keep up with the legos and the books and the Fischer Price. But once I did, only the threat of what Other People Might Think bothered me, and only when somebody came within 50 yards of my front door.

Re-LAX. Let the dishes pile. It really, honestly doesn't matter. Send Dan to the store for a bunch of very un-green paper plates. Use them. Lie on the couch and watch the kids. That's your real work - that and milk delivery.

God does not expect clean carpets or shiny dishes. He does expect you to figure out what's important and let go of the rest.

You are so loved.

Anonymous said...

I can definitely agree with all those previous comments from those marvelous people! I often wonder how I'm supposed to keep up with everything with three kids 6 and under...but you, my dear, have it harder than I do, by far! Your babies need you at this point in life, so enjoy them while letting the dishes pile, or the laundry sit, and the toys walk all over the house. It's your babies that matter the most. My mother was kind of a nazi when us kids were growing up, always needing the house to be clean, the laundry done and put away, the dishes cleaned, etc. When she died (our freshman year of high school) and my dad was now in charge, things changed. I BECAME MY MOTHER! Gasp!!! It has only been recently (since having my third child) that I've realized that it's okay to let the house get messy, dusty, even dirty, heaven forbid, in order to spend that time with my kids. They need the attention far more than they house does. However, I know that sometimes I get extremely stressed in a messy house (my OCD kicks in) and I need to clean. So I call my visiting teachers to come and help clean for an hour. I can't tell you the difference it makes knowing that there are women out there willing to help. After all, isn't that what the Relief Society is all about? Giving relief to those of us who need it? So anyway, my novel is done. Feel free to call on someone from the OUTSIDE to help out if you need it. Chances are, cleaning your house will be a lot more fun than cleaning their own! And try to keep those spirits up, Megan. I know it's hard and I don't know if you suffer from post-partum depression at all(mine gets really bad for a while) but just talk things through and VENT in a blog if needed. I'm here for you if you need anything!

Mary (Breitenstein) Mauck


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