Inside Voice

i don't know where to start.
everyday i have the urge to write but of course there is rarely a time when i am not playing catch-up with chores and/or work, tending to children, breastfeeding, or wanting to just sit and let my eyes glaze over in front of PVR-ed episodes of Conan, Louis (C.K.) or the first season of 30Rock.

life is busy.  it is and it isn't.
people still ask me how life with three is going for me.
i still never really know what to say or how to feel.
i'm doing it and i'm not suffering postpartum and i'm less tired than i thought i would be so i figure i am doing just fine.  i knew it was going to be harder and it is as hard as i thought it would be so i've adapted well based on that.  of course, there is the fact that this is my last baby so i am really trying to soak everything in as much as i possibly can.  also he is the sweetest and handsomest little guy so that goes a long way too!

i will say that having Ainge over last week was a bit strange.  i did actually have her and Natalie over a month or so prior to her last visit and i felt great.  perhaps because it was such a short visit?  this last one was longer and though i have known her more than half my life, and although she is one of my best friends that knows me so well, i experienced a few instances of shame and embarrassment.  i was shocked to feel this way.  she is so comfortable with children and is so easy going.  she has spent years babysitting her cousins who are now old enough to babysit.  still, i had this sudden feeling of vulnerability and being exposed, as if i had been living a secret life that nobody knew about.  we picked her up from Bridgeport Station and arrived home around 4pm and the house was upside down.  i had to tidy, i had to prep dinner for kevin to throw together when he arrived from work; it was 3-4 hours until dinner which meant i needed to make food for everyone to tide us over.  i felt ashamed of my flustered state, that this was my life, that this was how i had to function, that i couldn't entertain her the way i could with two older kids and that i might be making her feel uncomfortable in the process…

of course, Ainge, being the laid back fob she is, couldn't have cared less.  this occurred to me and put me at ease, but i still couldn't get over my sudden shame.

what was i feeling so ashamed of?  that my my house was a mess?  i know she doesn't care.  that i was running around like a crazy person?  a little, yes!  for the first time in 4 months, i was seeing myself from outside of myself, from the perspective of someone sans children.  i was seeing the real answer to the question: So, how is life with three?

yes, i am certainly coping and managing but only because i am going a mile a minute!  i'm juggling like a circus clown and i think i realized that, like a circus clown, i have become some sort of nutty-looking spectacle in my role as Mom of Three.  this is who i have become.  i used to be someone else, a mom of two older kids that had emerged from the fog and was just about to partake in society once again until being blasted into a Mom of Three.  i don't know what other term to give it.  i'm doing so much and nothing at the same time, there never seems to be a lot of in between, it's all or nothing!  either i'm a drill seargant doing my daily morning marathon of getting the kids and i ready for school (shouting and trying not to shout) or i am on the couch RESTfeeding and watching TV, looking and feeling like a lazy slob.

the one positive thing about the addition of another child is that i really really need to get my butt organized.  the Meal Planning has helped me immensely as i have mentioned numerous time.  so much so that i am obsessed with it and treat it like it is this really really really important project that i am getting graded on or paid big bucks for.  sometimes it makes me feel stupid that it is the one thing in my life that is sort of like a goal, a focus.  big whoop, we all gotta eat dinner!  it is a big deal to me.  it represents something more, that i am able to organize myself in a way that i have never been able to do before.  it is the focus i require to get me through each day.  it is the hardest part of the day at the hardest time of the day, and if i can manage to score every single time, then it is one part of the day that i know i can feel really good about.  i would quite literally drown if i didn't have the meal planning set in place.  life is too chaotic to not know what dinner will be and to have to plan it on the fly while running to the grocery store with 2 kids and a baby at 4pm.  hell to the no.  i'm running too low on gas by that time of the day!  case and point:    

My Wednesday Morning
8:05am - Look at the alarm for the 5th time and realize I need to be up NOW NOW NOW.

Is Malcolm sleeping?  Good, Thank God… Whose legs are those at the end of the bed, Chloe or Moses?  Barelegs mean that must be Chloe in her nightgown.  

Slowly creep out of bed so Malcolm doesn't wake.  Shake Chloe awake and immediately give her the wide eyed SHHHHHH!!!!! face to not wake Malcolm before telling her she needs to get up RIGHT NOW or else we will be late.  My heart rate goes up in a panic as she stretches and I fear she will start crying that she is tired.  I rush to the kitchen and fill my pot with water for egg poaching, fill the kettle for tea.

8:10am - Brush teeth.  Tell Chloe to hurry up and get dressed FOR SHOW AND TELL.  Please God say that she gets excited about Show and Tell and gets dressed super duper fast…

8:15am - Get dressed and do half my face.  Check on Chloe on my way to the kitchen.  Tell her tired butt to hurry up.  The pot is boiling.  Grab the egg, swirl it, add vinegar, crack it into the rammekin, swirl with spoon and slowly pour egg into the water, set timer to 3 minutes, throw a piece of toast in the toaster.  Sprinkle tea into tea strainer and fill mug with hot water.

Thankfully, Moses is up.  He is done eating cereal but not dressed and I can tell he has his mind on fiddling around with his latest Lego project.  I send him to his room to get dressed and NOT play with Lego.  Run back to my room to finish make up and remind Chloe not to pour too much cereal and milk into her bowl.

8:25am - Timer is beeping for my egg, run back to kitchen and remove egg and toast.  Simultaneously prep my breakfast while chopping up fruit for both kids' snack (thank god kevin managed to do their sandwiches…).  Pile their lunch boxes and remind them to pack their backpacks.. and LIBRARY BOOKS!  I shovel breakfast and hot tea into my face between running things back into the fridge and acknowledging Moses' outfit of the day.  Thank god Malcolm is still sleeping… usually he would hang out in bed with kids interchanging watching him before having to carry him around and pawning him off into the Exersaucer where the kids would have to take turns entertaining him again.  Sometimes I end up having to pick him up again because he is just too grumpy or worse, HUNGRY and I don't have time to feed him!

8:35am - Chloe finally comes out and I praise her for her outfit and tell her to hurry because she only has 15 minutes to eat her cereal and remind both of them to pack their lunches again.  I gather the dishes into the sink since I haven't yet had time to unload last night's load and run to my room to do finishing touches on my signature ghetto morning look of black tights, a loose top and a big jacket with either my Nike's, my Converse or if i'm feeling sassy my brown leopard loafers.

8:45am - Tell Chloe she doesn't get to come drop off Moses if she isn't finished her cereal yet.  I grab  the carrier, tell the kids to get their shoes and jackets on, ask them if they have packed their bags and head to my room to get Malcolm.  A deliciously sleeping Malcolm is still in my bed, I gently gather him into my arms and kiss him a million times down the hall to the door as i fit him into the carrier.  I shove my feet into the shoes of the day and do my low and wide squat while one of the kids buckles up the carrier.  I take a few more gulps of hot tea and we run out the door.  I run back in for my cell phone and grab a piece of chocolate and one last gulp of tea.

We get to school and I chat with equally dishevelled smiling Mamas while the kids play for 5 minutes prior to the first bell.  Once that bell goes, the kids line up and hugs and kisses are exchanged.

9:00am - Chloe and I hurry back home.  Jess is parked in our driveway as usual and she says she is hitting up Starbucks before taking her son and daycare kid of the day to Winskill Park.  I'll meet them there.  Chloe jumps in the car asking me if she can go to Jess's house later while I run back inside to take Malcolm out of his carrier and buckle him up with a super happy face and playful tickles to distract him from any hunger or neediness he might feel as we separate bodily warmth.  I haul the 20lbs of carseat and baby out the door once again (perhaps with another piece of chocolate and swig of tea) and into the car to drive Chloe up the hill to preschool.

Shit.  Kevin forgot gas again.
Park illegally close in the teacher's parking lot and run in with Chloe.  Help her get her inside shoes on, give her a big hug and kiss and run back to car.

Normally I would have hung out at Franc Depart/Strong Start with Jess and Christine and the other regulars until Chloe finished school but it was closed today.

I'm grateful for the amazing Mamas that I have met out here.  I don't know what I would do without them, without their kindness, their support, their recipes, their gross sense of humour, their generosity and their solidarity.  Today was so beautiful.  I hung out in the glorious sunshine with Jess and Molly at the park with our younger kids and chatted for 2 hours with hot coffees.  We pushed our kids on the swings.  I breastfed.  Jess had to take both her kids two the stupid swimming pool washroom that is too far away from the park because one kid had to poop for the 4th time that morning.  We talked about how we had been feeling the last couple of days, our husbands, food we ate, teachers, uncertainties, our pasts and our hopes for the future.

I have to say, as grateful as I am for everything I have and as much as I am soaking up every last drop of this baby time, I was feeling a little left behind seeing a bunch of mom friends having done a collaborative project over the weekend.  It was that same feeling that started rising up in my chest again, feeling embarrassed and ashamed of my gross state.  my giant tits hanging over my still bloated baby belly, looking at my two of my favourite blondies, smiling brightly in the sun in their sunglasses and fancied up hair.  i had to keep telling myself that my time would come again, i would get back there and not to be so hard on myself.  of course, the monster crept back up and asked me what the hell i was going to do with my life anyway…  to which i still have no answer.  IS IT BECAUSE I AM THE SECOND BORN CHILD?  UGH.

in the meantime, i'm still doing little projects.  my newborn/family shoot from sunday went well.  i'm working on another logo for another mama who is stoked so far with the work i've done for her.  i'm so glad i am still getting to be creative and feel like i am doing something that is ME, that is FOR ME, that is NOT A MOM THING.  i'm happy to get to do creative work even if it means doing it on a graveyard shift.  it's too easy to lose yourself when you become a mom, and even harder when you have 3 of them to juggle.  i'm making it work.  somehow i am managing.  yes, managing with the help of my family and my friends, both here in our little town, stretched over the lower mainland, across the country and south of the border.

i always wonder who i will still be friends with when i am old.


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