I crack a lot of jokes about being a slacker or a crappy housekeeper, but deep down I love having a clean, organized house, and few things give me more pleasure than a checked-off to do list. Over the past five years, I’ve come to accept the fact that life with kids results in the need to lower standards a little, or you’ll go nuts. But having a family of five, and being out of commission during the afternoons because of strong Braxton-Hicks contractions has thrown the standards right out the window. And it’s driving me nuts!
I’ve been repeatedly ordered by the doctors to take it easy when I have these contractions, but it’s hard because they come almost every day. Even though they’re getting stronger and more frequent, they usually aren’t timeable, and I can pretty much tell that they’re not the kind that make the baby come out. Some days they hurt bad enough that I feel like I can’t get up and do stuff, and other days they’re milder, but still strong enough that I feel like I should be an obedient patient and get off my feet. But either way, these suckers are cramping my style.
The fact of the matter is, in a family of five, there’s lots of stuff that needs done. Five sets of dishes for most meals, at least five sets of clothing per day, five sets of crap that gets strewn about the house…it all adds up. And when I’m sitting in the recliner with my feet up, bored out of my gourd and looking at the mess, it gets to me. I’m sure the pregnancy hormones are helping with my feelings about the situation too, but it’s frustrating, and the fact that it’s not going to get any easier any time soon compounds that frustration.
Thankfully, I have a husband who helps out, and the other night he ran two loads of dishes through the dishwasher, put them all away, and picked up all the kids’ toys for me. Stuff like that says “I love you” more than any bouquet of flowers or fancy card. He gets that it’s driving me nuts, and he also understands that I’ll eventually do it myself if it gets to a certain level of disgusting-ness and I cant take it any more, so he tries to beat me to it–just his way of taking care of the new baby and me, and I love him for it.
I’m also thankful that the contractions usually don’t hit until mid-afternoon, which usually leaves me with relatively good mornings. So the boys and I try to take advantage of that time and enjoy playing with friends at the park, running errands, and taking care of as much of the other stuff as we can before I’m out of commission.
Max and Jack are such fun companions, and I feel like I’m getting to know them a lot better while Gracie’s at school. I knew she had a “big” personality, but somehow I didn’t really realize how much talking and decision-making she does for the boys when they’re all together. She likes to direct the activity, and the boys are so laid back, they’ll go along with most anything she suggests. But when she’s gone, they come up with plenty of things to do on their own, and it’s neat to watch their personalities and independence blossom without Gracie’s influence. It makes me wonder even more what this new baby will be like in a year or two as he develops his own personality.