Friends continuously ask me what its like having two kids.
My answer is always the same: It's hard. Then it gets easier. Hard again. A little easier.
It ebbs and flows, back and forth, and I never know day by day if today - this week, this month - is going to be one of the hard ones or easy ones.
It is pretty much like having one kid, but with twice the surprises.
These past couple of weeks have been the hard ones.
I'm not sure what it is, exactly. It could be that I am working much more than expected, which takes me away from home more often. The kids go to daycare when I am gone, and on days I am home, we spend our time catching up on groceries and cleaning and oil changes and dentists appointments rather than going to the park and the splash pad as we used to.
It might be that everyday hits temperature highs in the upper 110's, so the options are severely limited as to what we can safely do in the heat. Even a trip to the Pet Store (or, as we call it, the Other Zoo) is a matter of timing; after about 1 pm, when sitting in the driveway all day, the car can take up to 10 minutes to cool down once the air is on.
Maybe it is just their ages: 3 is an age where they test every.little.thing, so the Terrible Twos I thought I was facing before have become the This-Can-Get-Worse Threes, and every day brings a new battle. 11 months allows Peanut some independence (I can crawl! I can almost walk! I can play!) but not enough for her to join in on her brother's games, or truly enjoy the playdates we are able to attend.
I might just be tired. The endless days of flying and serving, then a different city, hotel room and airport food coupled with the endless routine of dishes and mopping, laundry and lists that I come home to. . .. . well, it might just make me tired.
Whatever it is, this time is hard.
This moment, when the kids are both at ages where they need so much - love, attention, discipline, guidance - this time is utterly exhausting. Almost more so than when Peanut was a newborn, because by now I feel I should have it figured out a little better, so it is almost unnervingly hard.
But then, out of nowhere, just when I needed it the most, came a moment that showed perfectly clear why we do this crazy thing called mothering, even though it is so hard.
Yesterday, with both kids crawling all over me, demanding bottles and books at the same time, I became happy. Tired, yes. Incredibly tired of the endless needs. But also happy.
Because my kids know that I will provide for them these things they need, even when I am tired. Even when I am on my last thread, I will be there for them. There is comfort in knowing that even at this young age, my children know they can come to me for basic and not-so-basic needs. They know I am there for them, completely, wholely.
So while mothering seems a complete selfless act, with sometimes no thank you's or gratitude or appreciation, I have to admit that I agree with Joey, from Friends. There is no such thing as a truly selfless act. For even when I am giving all that I can give, sometimes even more, to my kids, I feel good knowing that I am shaping them into comfortable, loving people.
Now, if only I could bottle this feeling for use the next time I have one of those really hard days. . . .