June 2, 2009


Here we go again, in my car. Ivy fell asleep on the way home from the grocery store (by the way, my new favorite way to get groceries when I can't go without the kids is to wear Ivy in the Ergo on my front and put Gray in the seat of the cart. It makes for a very easy trip, one I used to dread.)

So I have put everything away and she's still napping. I don't dare interrupt it because it's possibly the only good one she'll take today. At least I have this mini laptop now. But to be honest, I don't really feel like writing.

Part of me just wants to stop all together. At least for a while. It's not that I don't have the words. It's more like I don't have the time. And I want to have the time. And I start to get sad and resentful if I don't get a chance to sit down and write each day. And those little windows of time seem to be disappearing more and more.

And so when I finally have gotten the last child to sleep at the end of a very long day, I am exhausted. I glance toward my computer and can't even muster up a blog post.

There's plenty in my head. It's just getting it here... so much work.

And I have a feeling this whole post is going to contradict itself.

So anyway, I am thankful for the car naps. One big drawback (for me) with co-sleeping is that, come nap time, I have no crib to keep Ivy in. We don't even have room for a crib if I wanted to set one up. And our bed is too big to be on the floor. So when I get her to sleep I usually have to stay beside her or very close because she can get up and wander off the clift! as Gray says.

We have a video monitor that I keep right by her, but she's fast. And at times like a ninja. And I do often have her nap in the sling, but somedays, most days, my body prefers otherwise.

I don't really mind, though. I just get less done. Well, less cleaning done. It does force me to sit still and I can usually quietly fold laundry nearby and tend to Gray.

I won't ever have the cleanest house or prettiest garden outside. I have weeds. And messy bathrooms. I am ok with that. I do what I can.
I have four little kids.

Yesterday was GRUELING. Like many days, my hubby is gone for work before most of the kids are awake and is home after they are in bed. I do my best to entertain them and keep them from the TV and we eat a good meal that I cook using usually a lot of pots and pans and there's a lot of us so there's dishes, too. Plenty to clean up. They'll play a little more outside and I'll attempt to clean up the kitchen with Ivy in the mei tai on my back.

They'll come inside and be FILTHY from the top of their heads to their smallest toe. So we make our way upstairs for baths or showers (yesterday was showers and Noah taught Gray, step by step, how to take a shower. It was the sweetest thing.) I'll simultaneously try to keep Ivy out of the bathroom while picking up clothes and towels and drying off wet kids.

They'll get jammied and we'll end up on my bed or on my floor with a stack of books. There is always just one more. And I finally get them settled down enough to scoot them off into their beds. Tucking, kissing, shooshing.

I'll get Ivy to sleep on my bed. Then go into the boys' room and quiet them down once more.

I'll make my way downstairs and straighten pillows, pick up toys and papers and do what I can before my feet give way. I could blog, read a book or magazine. I could finish the dishes, throw another load of laundry in... but most nights I just want to go to sleep. And I feel like the next day we'll do this all again. I can't imagine EVER catching up until all the kids are all in college.

It's exhausting. But I am thankful. This is my life. I've chosen to mother this way and I don't want to change too many things about it. So I'll do the best I can with what I have. If this is the reason for less writing, for not having a spotless kitchen and sparkling bathrooms, I know for a fact someday I will not regret it.

It's a recurring theme around here but I need the reminder:

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

I'm writing along the same lines over here as well~ Rollercoaster Road.

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  1. No they really don't keep do they. I am currently sitting her with a load of laundry next to me, one I just put on the clothesline, another in the dryer and am now reminded I need to clean the bathroom. But I am watching a very sweet baby sleep and I do not dare move. :) I don't even want to.

  2. My bathrooms are never clean :)
    Not GROSS or anything but far from perfect.. and my sheets rarely get washed once a week if every 2 weeks.. infact now that I think abt it.. I cant recall the last time my boys sheets were washed :)
    They are still healthy and they dont have pee or poop on them.. so im ok with that.

    Some st uff just doesnt get done.. and thats ok!

    Do what you can and enjoy being a mom :)

    What kind of tiny laptop do you have btw? im wanting one. my mom has a lenevo? something like that.. she loves it.

  3. So true, it can all be SO exhausting. And I've got one less than you!

    We co-sleep too, but I finally caved and started using the pack and play for naps after a close call. They can move so fast - and silently! - at this age. Though there are plenty of naps that end up with Isaac back in my arms rocking in the recliner. Fine by me!

    Oh, and I'm so glad to hear how much you are enjoying the Ergo. We've been using ours for 5 years now through 3 babies...I'd have been lost without it!

  4. I tell my son to stop growing every day, and he doesn't listen. But that's okay because neither does the pile of laundry or dirty dishes.

    I'm slowly coming to peace with the fact that my life may never tidy and orderly, but that's okay because loving my husband and kiddo can be kind of messy. And I'm okay with that.

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  6. My....this is so true..... and I don't even have 3 yet.... what will I do?! Becoming OK with this life is the hardest part... letting things go and being OK with it and accepting that you're NOT gonna be super mom.... but as long as my kids think I'm super mom, I can handle everything else.

  7. Don't I know it?! This is my life, except you have double the kids, so I can only imagine it's like quadruple the work up there.

    Hey you know what? I took last summer off from blogging and it was the BEST THING EVER. I'll probably take a month away from SortaCrunchy again this summer. It is SO refreshing. I even wrote for myself with an old-fashioned pen and paper (gasp!). It was really, really nice.

  8. I hate cleaning bathrooms. Especially the upstairs where no company ever sees. ~sigh~
    But that poem is so right. Cleaning is not the most important thing. It can wait.
    And thanks to you I have the blue organic Ergo on the way. I cannot wait until it gets here. I hope I love it as much as I want to love it.

  9. I used to care so much about blogging. I posted every day, sometimes twice, and felt antsy if something kept me from it. Then my son was born. I tried to keep up, and then another daughter came along and I found myself taking breaks from bloggyland more and more. Now my littles are quite so tiny, I have a little more time for myself and I'm pregnant again. This time, I already expect to slow down when the baby comes. Will it bother me? Some, but one thing I've learned is that the babies turn into children, children turn into kids, and they all stop needing me long before I stop needing them.

    As far as the housework goes...We moved to a new house seven weeks ago. My MIL says, "You still haven't gotten everything unpacked yet?" My pastor's wife says, "She has four children, is pregnant with another, and homeschools. Her house looks great!"

    I've decided to listen more to my pastor's wife. :)

  10. Stephanie,

    I wanted to comment and say that what I love most about your blog is the honesty. Because as a couple considering having babies, sometimes hearing "oh it's work, but it's worth it", while true, is not enough. I want to know that sometimes other moms don't have enough hours in the day and feel drained. You still manage to come across as an amazing mother, but a real mother.

    You are the blog mom my husband and I discuss when talking about parenting. Because you present the realities of parenting, no glossing over, the need to sometimes just kneel and pray that you get through the day okay. And as people who plan on having a baby this year, it's nice to hear that even with all that you still love them more than anything. That people can survive this thing called parenthood. You, quite honestly, amaze me, and I hope to be half the mom you seem to be.

  11. what about a baby matress or baby futon on the floor? We bought a baby futon here in Hawaii at a Baby Expo and I don't think they have a website, maybe you can google it, but they are a life saver!

  12. Oh, Steph! It exhausts me to just read this post! You are an amazing mommy and there is nothing wrong with having conflicting "I want to" and "I wish" 's!

    Regarding an extra-cirricular that I love but don't always have time for, a wise gal once told me, "do it when it works with your life...and don't worry when it doesn't."

    Anyway, have a great afternoon enjoying those sweet, sweet babies (yes, i consider all kids babies! :)!!

    :) Sarah

  13. Next time you have a day like yesterday, feel free to pack up the kids and come over for dinner. Seriously. My husband loves cooking for more than just us especially now that he's on summer break...and Luke would love the company.

  14. Awww...great reminder - our babies don't keep!!! Mine is going to be 18 months this week - unbelievable!!!

    You know, you could get a pack & play for Ivy to sleep in during the day & still co-sleep at night, if you wanted to - that way you could get more things done. :)

    Also, I'm planning on wearing my littlest one while my 2-yr-old rides in the cart seat when I grocery shop with my two little ones in just a few months. :)

  15. My SIL had the same problem with co-sleeping. She took a dresser drawer, emptied it into other drawers, and lined it with a waterproof flannel sheet saver and a few blankets. The baby would nap in there, in a kind of makeshift dresser-drawer-crib. It wasn't anything fancy, but since it was a drawer she would set it on the ground wherever she was working and just herd the older kids away. It worked out well because it was mobile and if the baby woke up, she could crawl out without any problems. It might not work for everybody, but it's an idea.

    Anyway, here's a *hug* You're doing an excellent job and that other stuff like the weeds in the garden? Don't worry about any of that. Too soon, the day will come when there won't be any shooshing necessary.

  16. Why didn't you ask me to stay longer yesterday, that you needed me. You know I will help you out anytime you need a break. Don't be surprised if I show up sometime with a bucket and rubber gloves to clean your bathrooms...Mother's are allowed to help their daughters!

  17. This is so how I feel. My house isn't clean, my chores aren't always done, and I just can't write everyday. I think that's ok though. We just do the best we can with what we've got. You're doing great Mama.

  18. I hear you lady!

    We co-sleep too, and I work from home my solution has been a pack-n-play with the bassinet insert set-up in the living room. It really crowds the living room, but I have to get stuff done so I don't know what else to do.

    My 21 month old is taking her daily nap in her crib in her room now so that is nice but I still have a messy bathroom and weeds in my flower bed and unwritten blog posts in my head!

  19. Oh, I could have so written this. My dear hubby was so kind to hire a maid service for me after the addition of Violet, but we just let them go with the economy starting to hit our income a little. I will gladly take a somewhat messy home with happy kids any day. As I am discovering, they are little for such a short time. I want to be present for it all.

    And I am a HUGE fan of the Ergo and kid in the cart method. That is precisely how I have kept my sanity in a grocery store. I am thankful now that my 5yo is so great in a store and can walk with no issues.

    If you figure out a nap solution with Ivy, please let me know. I am still at a loss there.

  20. Well spoken, Steph. I have been feeling the same way. It seems as though everything, except mothering, is falling by the wayside. While I don't regret choosing to follow attachment parenting principles and not allowing our children to "cry it out," it's so draining. Sometimes I just want to run away and remember who I am, but then I realize this is the new me. I'll always be evolving and changing, and hopefully the changes are ones that make me look more like Jesus. Love to you during this time.


  21. Honey, this to shall pass. If you don't blog frequently right now, so be it. I applaud you for knowing that your family is so much more important than the online world is. Don't just cut yourself off, don't give yourself an ultimatium you will regret later. Just take things day by day, know that we love you & all your beautiful kidlets & we will count down the days until you have more time for us again.

    p.s. bathrooms, weeding, and cobweb removal are totally over rated....I'm just saying. xoxoxo

  22. It wasn't till recently where I realized a clean house isn't important as family time.

    some days I wish I could freeze time to get all the things done, but until then...I keep telling myself to just do what I can.

  23. I am with you! It feels like a constant struggle to keep up with the housework but I have to remember the housework is not the important part it is the family that lives in the house!

  24. Girl. These days are TIRING. You have so many, so young. And yeah, parenting without a crib would be an obstacle. But you will NEVER regret these days with your little ones. There is lots of time for writing. :-)

  25. I frequently read your blog in aaww of all you do! As a mom of six ... I hear you loud and clear!

  26. Some of the best moms I know have not-so-tidy homes. :) You're one of the best I know, too.
    I always take that as a sign that the mom or dad is doing something, actually physically doing something, with their kids.
    I think it's great.
    As long as the needs are being met, the dishes can wait.

    I only have 2, but I feel your exhaustion. My hubby is in grad school and I feel like a single parent many days. Not that I could ever have too much time w/ my own kids, but breaks are good, too.
    If you blogging less means you're getting in a much-needed break, then I say good for you.

  27. For our first we still had our bed off the floor... We made a special nap nest on the floor: blankets, cushions and a couple of books. He would eventually nap there and if I wasn't completely unconscious I would leopard crawl away!!! But mostly I had a nap while he clambered about - but his head was safe from "off the bed crashes." It worked for us!

  28. I think we're leading parallel lives :) Except I've only got two little ones... but I have the same dilemmas daily about cleaning, the napping for Paige (she will sleep for tiny bit in her crib, then she only wants to be nursing or next to mama).

    I admit, I hardly ever clean, but the messy house is so worth it. Like that poem says, babies don't keep ;) I'd hate to look back and think I missed my babies being babies because I spent too much time dusting!

  29. Me too, sister. This is how I got stuck in the no-blog-zone. I can't find my way out.

  30. we sat in the car today, me and my three boys. i nursed the babe in the front seat and the two bigger boys slept gape-mouthed in the back. it was so quiet and nice.

  31. I feel just like this. I kind of wondered with your post about striking the set if you were feeling this way. I look around and wonder how everyone has time to write because I barely manage to blog very late at night (usually after midnight) when my kids are asleep. And most of what I write ends up sounding like it was written by a 12 year old. The blog in my head? So much more interesting.

    Also, that is the exact configuration I use(though I have an Angelpack not an Ergo) to grocery shop and I don't even want to think about how I would shop without my carrier.

  32. I can certainly relate to much of this post. We did cram the baby's crib into our bedroom and she sleeps in there for a few hours each night, but most of the time she's with me. And naps? Either in the car or on my lap. Yep. I slow down for my babies. They do grow so fast I want to enjoy the ride. The house doesn't care if it's dusty. Although I do admit I like it when it looks nice...it definitely doesn't stay that way long. Sigh.

  33. My hands have been very full lately too.

    We are strong Momma's though...we'll get through this rough patch...even if it means our blogs go unattended for a few days. :-)

  34. Wow, so well said! I agree 100%, that if you were to look back on your life 30 years from now, you most definitely would not regret spending that time with your children instead of worrying about cleaning the house...after all, they are only young Once, right?

    Thanks for sharing!

  35. I was just thinking today as my 7 month old began to find his way to the edge of our bed during nap time, "What does Steph do with Ivy for nap time." Now I know! I have also just found my new mode of shopping with Gibson in the front pack, my 3 yo in the seat, and 4 yo in the basket. The only problem...where to put the groceries!
    Thanks for sharing your life!

  36. I need to remind myself of that whole babies don't keep thing often too. It can be hard when you look around and see so much to do and so little time to do it, but it is important. My issue is finding a good balance of not having a filthy house, giving my kids the best of me and also having some me time. It's a hard one!

    Hope you had a relaxing day with your kiddos today!

  37. Me too.

    Lately I just feel like it's all slipping away, every little thing I'd like to keep on top of, including blogging. But I don't really mind because being so busy mothering feels good and right. There's just not much time to think about ME, and I like that.

    And yet, I still fight to stay on top of things that have no top, and run as fast as I can, trying to catch up with a life that is waaaay faster than I am.

    And it's all good.

  38. Oh...and one more thing. I really don't do this very often, but maybe it would be validating. My latest post is about how we have to just stop sometimes and say "this is hard." No guilt. Just truth. This is hard. And maybe even just cry and then move on. So I thought I would sheepishly mention that you might get what I was saying...

    bye :)

  39. i always think that some day my kids will be grown and I will have too much time to clean anway-why spend my time doing it now. I often nap with my daughter- she naps in my bed and sleeps there too.

  40. I can relate, and I only have 2. Didn't set up a crib until my first was 18 months... but with my second we bought a second crib (both are up in our cramped bedroom) when he just started rolling over. For some reason my first didn't crawl off the bed either, she was very aware of the edge.

  41. I cosleep with mine too. I had a crib, but he would wake up the minute I put him in it. If I couldn't wear him while he slept, I would lay a blanket on the floor, lay down next to him to nurse him to sleep, and then turn the monitor on.
    Choosing to parent gently can be hard on the parent at times, but, like you, I wouldn't change it.

  42. I am wondering when the second one comes along, how I will manange wearing the baby.... my son still likes to be worn and he is 2!

  43. I totally get it. I just wish I could be as okay with it as you are. Reading your blog is so good for me1 Ps. Loved your post on Rollercoaster Road. Wheeee!!

  44. My mother is here visiting and she enjoyed reading your post tonight (as a mother of 3 boys and one girl--yep, I'm the youngest.) She can relate, except her two oldest were twins (a tad easier, she admits...)

    I was just thinking the other day, while lying next to my 5 year old little boy (my youngest) how I wish I would have snuggled with him more during his naptimes instead of cleaning. I don't remember the house being a mess, but I remember that sweetness.

    I sincerely hope you do not stop writing, Steph. I even enjoy reading your previous posts--when you take a little break.


  45. I totally want an Ergo carrier for this baby. I've see it in action and it's awesome! And I hear you on the bathroom thing. And frankly, I'm glad I'm not the only one. : )

    I just love that little poem at the end...

  46. I know exactly how you feel... torn. I am having similar issues now that the days are longer. I should have more time but somehow I don't. The kids need more, I need more. I'm hoping a balance will fall into place soon.

  47. I love that little poem that you quoted at the end. I always get a little teary-eyed when I read it because it is oh-so-true.

    My bathrooms are most definitely messy. My floors need to be mopped. I don't always remember birthdays like I used to. I have so many "to-do"s, so many wishes...

    But that's okay. I've chosen this crazy, 24/7 work-from-home, stay-at-home lifestyle...and, in so many ways, it's everything I could ever ask for.

  48. I thought about you and prayed for you today and just wanted to say....It's okay to take a break....it's okay to spend your energy on those who need you most. Don't beat yourself up about not feeling up to the blogging. It's okay!!!!!

  49. Ditto, baby. I often think "I should do the dishes at NIGHT so that I can be happy in the morning." But then night comes and I am so tired and they are so easy to fall asleep next to...

  50. your post brought tears to my eyes, you wrote exactly what I am feeling, you are very good at that:) The best part is when I got to the end of your post I felt encouraged to be a better mom. You have the gift of putting into words what all moms feel, but you also encourage your readers. Thank you for your honesty and also reminding me that this is a special role that I have been hand picked to play.

  51. What a beautiful post!! That last part had me teary. I think you are doing an amazing job as a mom. Way to go!

  52. Somehow, with every post, you make us adore you even more. How do you do that?

    Love you. You do a great job, Stephanie.

  53. You are so talented.

    I can't wait to use my ergo in the same way you described at the grocery store:-)

  54. LOVE that poem.

    Junior has a habit of falling asleep on a 5 minute car ride home and he does NOT transfer and then considers that his nap. I can't just hang out in the car because his big sis would get bored with that one quickly. And I work (write curriculum) during his naps and at night, which means if he skips napping, I don't get to do work...let alone do housework and read neat blogs like yours.

    We co-sleep half the night. He started the night in his arms' reach side car style co-sleeper until he could get out and now he is in a playard next to our bed (mattress + boxspring on the floor to make it safer when he joins us later). When he wakes up around midnight-ish, he joins us in bed and stays there until morning.

    Any which way...

    I relate to both celebrating and relishing the beautiful children I have AND, simultaneously, getting impatient with myself that there are things I want to do and accomplish (beyond just the bare minimum of home and career maintenance).

  55. Wow Steph! You do a lot!

    I liked this post, it made me smile and made me appreciate you as a mom and a blogger.

  56. You do a lot! Wow! I try... but I end up leaving a lot undone. And that's hard for me. At the end of the day I feel overwhelmed and behind on everything. Sometimes I get to feeling sorry for myself and the lack of time I have to relax, but then I remember that I wouldn't trade it for anything!

    Great post!

  57. I grew up with that poem cross-stitched in a frame in our living room and it's funny, that's the first time I've heard it since becoming a mom. I didn't get it growing up but boy does it say a lot to me now- thanks for the reminder both from childhood and as a mom!
    (and Steph- a Pack n Play would probably help! Even if you didn't use it that much it becomes the best oversized "clean up, guests are coming!" junk bin :)

  58. How does one sign up for free items such as you have received?

  59. oh, this just makes my heart melt! Yes, the days are long but the years are short (heard this from someone else one time).

    I'm exhausted now but I know that one day I will miss this craziness.

    thank you for the reminder!

  60. I missed this post the first time but found it after reading your recent entry. That poem brought tears to my eyes. I hope you don't mind if I share it on my blog as well at some point. I have so many mom-friends that stress about the cleaning and being perfect. Sure I do... but I really honestly believe that I would much rather spend the time playing and interacting with my kids. You do what you can do and I only "clean" when company's coming! Thanks for being honest about life with 4 kids and being a mom. It's a hard job, but somebody's gotta do it! I'm in the Sling & Swaddle Journey contest and trying out the Hostlings on twitter: _Mom_23
    Thanks again for the heartfelt post.

  61. itshe same for most I guess. Those with spoyless houses probably dont really live in them!I spend my time playing with Greg when he's awake and on the net when asleep..yends to sleepn longer on me...I usually feel guilty and sort the house as much as I can then but if I think about it who cares, having baby close is what matters

  62. You know what I love about you? That you stay home with 4 beautiful kiddos and work your ass off the whole time all the while it's so clear how much you love them and love being around them. You don't default to lazy or take out or it's gonna be all about me and many tend to do....you take this mama stuff seriously and it SHOWS!

  63. My kids are older, and my house is still not cleaner... It gets easier with the kids, but the time goes so fast when they are small, who cares about the cleaning. Life is about the kids.

  64. My kids are older, and my house is still not cleaner... It gets easier with the kids, but the time goes so fast when they are small, who cares about the cleaning. Life is about the kids.

  65. Steph ~ You don't know me except through my daughter Amy Mueller. I'm sure she has told you she is the youngest of 8 kids. I know all about busy times. I always wanted 4children, well I am Catholic and God (& my dear husband) blessed us with 8. And it's a good thing there were 8 or I wouldn't have my dear Amy. She, being the only girl. But at 39 years of age, I did have to call it quits. Hang in there better days are coming your way. They grow up! Then you have grandchildren to love also.


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