My therapist said I should write about what it’s like to have five kids.
That sounds like the opening line of a stand-up act, but it’s true. In my spare time, I need to write about the complex nuances of five kids plus a husband plus a bit of
crazy (I mean, “a healing journey”) thrown in.
I’ve told a couple of people this, but it seems for our family it’s the odd numbers that have been real game-changers. Going from zero kids to one was a huge transition, obviously. We jumped into it so young that we didn’t have time to know any different, so I think in a sense that saved us. But it was still super difficult. Adding our third was a game-changer, because we were suddenly out numbered. That was also the year that our second-born’s ADHD symptoms began to show up, so that added a new dynamic as well. Having our fourth was pretty easy because of the seven year gap between our first three and baby number four. But this fifth baby…
She’s a dream baby, truly. The baby is not the overwhelming part. The stress comes from all of the brain space taken up by five whole kids. My mind feels crowded with all of the responsibility, and I live in the constant state of feeling like I’ve forgotten someone or something very important.
In high school, my brain bubbles were pretty straightforward: school, friends, boyfriend, parents, and the ever-growing future question mark.
Having kids and spouse, job and/or school, volunteer, and friend bubbles started to crowd things, but I adapted and adjusted, eventually equalizing out attention or at least learning how to prioritize a little bit.
Sometimes, if things got too crowded, I might have dropped a few bubbles or put some things on the back burner for a while. I was learning how to exercise healthy boundaries.
That’s how I feel right now. It leaves me in this perpetual dazed state of confusion. Like when the dishwasher is running, the TV is on, the phone is ringing/buzzing, and someone is trying to talk to me. The input is overwhelming so I kind of go into a self-protective desensitized space.
Am I destined to live this way until one by one the kids begin to filter out of the house? I sure hope not. I’m hoping that the “baby fog” of the sleep-deprived newborn season is a contributing factor that will lift sooner than later.
Until then, I cling to the lifeline of God’s promises of grace and presence to get me through these days without accidentally leaving a child in the car.
Ok, that’s all. 😉