I feel as if I am walking out of the most difficult year of my life. I’m sure there are more hardships that will come my way, but I have never had my mental, physical, and spiritual health tested like I did this year. I have never experienced self-doubt or feelings of ineptitude on a daily basis before. I have always been a successful overachiever, and this year brought me to my knees. A year so stressful, I ground my teeth, cracked a tooth, and paid for a crown I couldn’t afford.
It has been exactly one year, since I became a stay at home mom. I quit my job when I was eight months pregnant with baby V. The twins were three months shy of being two years old, and they were a handful. I didn’t see how I could juggle a job, a new baby, and potty training toddler twins.
As someone who used to be the breadwinner, being home all the time took its toll on me. I lost my identity outside of motherhood, and I needed something to anchor me because I felt like I was failing every day as a mom. The terrible twos seemed to have an exponential effect on the girls, since there were two of them, and I had to navigate effective punishments and healthy rewards. All while keeping calm because I noticed the more I got upset, the more I escalated the situation.
I have never felt out of control like I did this year. My body was a mess. I was still building my strength back up from pregnancy and delivery. Making time to cook satisfying and nourishing meals was difficult with three under three. I had lows so low this year I thought I would need medication to cope. There were even moments when I wondered if I had made a mistake in having a third child too soon. Because dealing with toddler twins and a newborn broke me. It broke me and rebuilt me into a (mostly) confident mom.
Everyone told me twins were hard, but baby twins were easy for me. So when the girls turned one, Yev and I decided to try for more kids. I was already pregnant when the girls hit a year and a half. This was when the toddler struggle started ramping up. Delivering a baby into this chaos, where my twins didn’t listen, I was struggling to breast feed, and I felt like I was losing every single day, took more patience than I possessed.
And then there has been the unanticipated struggle of watching my girls become older siblings. Every time they got baby V a pacifier, I’d wonder if my sister did that for me. Every time they loved on her and kissed her, I wondered if my sister did that too. My heart ached for the loss of my sister most as I watched my baby girls turn into big sisters. They would hold V and call her their baby sister. Just hearing them say, “Sister” tugged at my heart in ways I hadn’t prepared for. I would sit at the dinner table trying not to cry, as I watched their love for her blossom.
Couple all of this with learning to support a family of five on a single income, and you have some insight into my difficult year. I feel like we all have years that really rock us as parents. Many people experience it with the birth of their first child, mine came with my third.
If you are in a season of hardship, I want to give you hope that there is an end. My toddlers listen (for the most part 🤪), they are potty trained, baby V is sleeping through the night, and Yev and I have adjusted to the new budget of one income. I feel like I am beginning to stabilize and even thrive emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Motherhood is more fun now than it’s ever been, but it came at the price of a very dark year. If you too are struggling, invest in self-care and ask for help. We were created to be in relationship with others. Use your resources. And if you’re the praying type, pray with all of your heart. You’d be surprised what miracles can happen.