Not too long ago, I was that mom juggling multiple young children. I had a kindergartner, a preschooler, a toddler and a new baby.
What the heck was I thinking? Welcome to crazy town!
Here’s a fist bump of solidarity to you, friend. I was you in a former season of life.
- I see the frazzled look on your face.
- I see your anxiety trying to get all the kids in the car at once.
- I see you try not to lose your shit in the candy aisle of the grocery store.
- I see you figuring out the fastest route to the bathroom for your newly potty-trained child.
- I see you at school drop off with your hair unwashed and jammies still on.
- I see you with the stained sweatshirt that has who knows what on it.
I was you and I’m not going to give you some BS advice saying “Things are going to get easier. You’re just in a crazy stage of life.“
It’s not true. Things don’t get easier, but they change. In the end, you’re still a mom who’s juggling multiple children.
I still see you!
New Seasons of Life With Multiple Children
The other day I walked into the grocery store hand in hand with my five year old. He got one of those little kid carts and was in charge.
While I had to remind him a couple times to slow down, it was actually a pleasant experience.
Without fail, when we got to the check out, I got a “What a great helper you have there!” I smile and nod, chatting away with the cashier as they give him a sticker and we head out the door.
A simple trip to the grocery store with my youngest is abruptly halted when I see a former version of myself in the parking lot:
A mom putting the infant car seat into the back of a cart.
She goes back to the minivan to get the toddler and buckles him in the seat.
All the while telling the preschooler to put their hand on the car to be safe.
She then tells her 5 year old to get a move on, so this grocery run doesn’t take 347985 hours.
Once everyone is settled in their designated areas, she checks her list and takes a breath to prepare herself for an intense shopping trip contemplating the divide and conquer method next time.
Speaking from past experience, her trip will take twice as long as mine did with the exact same list. As I watch them, I notice one of her kids dropped a toy. I walk over, pick it up and give her a smile, knowingly, as I hand it over.
Learn To Keep Your Advice To Yourself
I don’t say anything to her cause I know she is on a mission. Right now, she has to be laser focused on the task at hand which in reality is about a million tasks.
In the matter of an hour or so, she will juggle multiple children and grocery shop all while trying to keep her sanity.
The last thing she wants to hear is my story.
As difficult as it, I keep my mouth shut. Event though, I want to high five her in solidarity to let her know: I see you.
This stage doesn’t last forever, instead the chaos changes how it looks.
While you are in the thick of it, it seems like you are a hot mess. But sooner than later, you’ll be the one at the store smiling at the mom juggling her brood with that all knowing look on your face.
When you pass me in the parking lot, it may look like I’m easy street grocery shopping with one or no kids. But I’ve been in your shoes and I get it.
You know you’ve got this. Even if some days you want to curl up and cry (and you might).
One day you get to be the one at the store shocking the clerks about how you are able to leave your four kids at home while you shop by yourself.
They will look at you in disbelief because of the easy, breezy way you make this mothering thing look. But you know in the back of your head, it hasn’t always been like this.
Each Season of Juggling Multiple Children Is Different
FYI, the next stage is a different kind of chaos. The kids might not need you in a physically demanding way as much. Instead it’s more emotional and about being there for them mentally.
You begin teaching them more about life, listen to their endless questions, be a shoulder to cry on, have difficult conversations and are their personal chauffeur.
Sure, I might be able to pee alone (sometimes) and I can take a shower knowing WWIII isn’t happening downstairs.
These alone times are necessary for me to tackle the mentally challenging discussions I’m up against. I have to be prepared for someone to love me one minute and the next hate me. It’s like Jekyll and Hyde up in her.
It’s a different kind of hard. Mothering never gets easy.
You and I both have our own definition of hard. But know that diapers, naps, potty training, terrible 2’s, 3’s and 4’s, middle of the night feedings, and marathon nursing sessions are a season.
One day you will be the one to get nostalgic in a parking lot just as I did when you see a former version of yourself.
Go ahead, give her a nod, a smile, hold the door for the gigantic stroller, pick up a fallen binkie and be on your way.
Although you want to stop and tell her everything, you won’t. She knows you see her.
And just as she see you, my future self sees me with my teenagers knowing that soon enough, our nest will be empty.
We will give each other that fist bump of solidarity because high school graduation, college and adult children are on the horizon.
What season of life are you juggling your multiple children in now?
Original Post Date: November 17, 2018 (Updated April 3, 2023)