I'm in the " mom of four" club. It's an unspoken club where parents understand the level of chaos and joy in their families of four. There's a club for every family. We look at families of one with envy. "Wow. They only have one car seat!" We look at families of two and think, " wow. They only bathe two kids at night." Three? "Wow. They only have three! They are so smart." Then we look at our family of fours and say, "you are nuts! Oh wait, so am I."
Motherhood helps me relate to families in a way that is genuine as I pull from my own experiences. The beautiful part is that I learn everyday from my families. I'm a better mom because I'm a pediatrician just as I am a better pediatrician because I'm a mom. The truth is, I don't always remember my kids' shoes on school days. Or their lunch. Or their breakfast (I have to make a stop sometimes). Or the permission slips. Or that it's crazy hat day. I still wrestle my toddler when I give her Tylenol. Change her diaper. Get her dressed. Place her in the car seat. I lose sometimes. My kids don't eat anything organic. My son ate the same 5 foods and Pediasure for 2 years ( with a multivitamin, despite my offerings of colorful, dipping friendly foods at every meal). I find gross sip cups in my car at least every 2 months....the ones you must throw out because they are just. that. gross. There's been marker drawings on my walls. On my floors. On my couch. And we can't forget the smiley face my oldest engraved into the side of my new car. With a rock. I have a love hate relationship with bedtime. Love the time alone with each kiddo and the snuggling. Hate the crying/ whining " tag your it" game that they play. Seriously, I think that they communicate telepathically..."ok, mom is almost overcome with exhaustion but one eye is still open, ready, set, your turn to fuss, go!" And on and on and on. The thing is, most of us mommies strive everyday to have it all flow smoothly. To get the entire to do list completed. To teach their littles along the way about acceptable behavior such as not sitting on brother's head, not twisting his ear or not to go play with a sharp 24 inch branch in the house, not to draw on cars with rocks. But can you imagine life without this chaos? I'm beginning to realize that the substance of this day to day chaos is living. Living a life that is not always predictable, never boring, and filled with cries, giggles and bodily functions followed by giggles. I have a confession. I am that mom who sits in her car for a few minutes in my driveway at the end of a workday. Just because it's quiet. But I'm also that mom who cherishes when the kids hear the garage door open, run to the side door and explode (usually half naked) out of the house to greet me. There's a 6 second wait and then a symphony of " mommy! You came back! Let's play trucks. Can I have junk food? Can I drive the car? Why this, why that?" It's loud. It's happy chaos. It's life. There is nothing like watching your child finally sleep because it reminds you that the innocence is always there. It reminds you that the crazy day they had created a truly exhausted kid. It's just the way it should be. And it means you are that much closer to your own, precious night of sleep. "These are the days to remember." Engage your children. Enjoy the chaos. Experience childhood again.