What Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Taught Me About Having a Newborn
The first week I was in a fog. The second week I was in pain.
The third week I was absolutely and completely overwhelmed.
I am just past the three week mark of being the mom to three kids four and under and I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. I am overwhelmed. I know that my situation is cake compared to other families. I mean. My husband has his own business and can work from home. He's completely reworked his schedule the past three weeks so that he can help me with the kids. He stays up late so he can catch up on work. He lets me sleep in and he cooks for us and he lets me take a shower in the middle of the day and he's just amazing. I really shouldn't be complaining at all. I really shouldn't. And maybe me telling myself that is what makes me feel so much worse about the overwhelmed- because-I'm-not-cut-out-for-this feelings.
I think I forgot how needy newborns can be. Anna is on me 24/7. That is almost not an exaggeration. She eats non stop. That's not true. She stops. She takes naps. But when she's hungry, she's hungry for HOURS. It's this constant cycle. Feed her on one side. Burp. Feed her on the other side. Burp. Change her diaper. Burp. Still crying. Burp. Feed her what's left on one side. Burp. Bounce. Still crying. Burp. Feed her what's left on the other side. Burp. Change diaper. Feed her again. Bounce. Burp. Sing. Sleep. Lay her down. Crying. It's non stop until it stops and then I just want to lay down and rest my boobs. But there are two other little ones who need me and so I try to give them my undivided attention, but it's not easy. I'm tired. I'm cranky. I feel like a failure 289 times a day. Why is it taking me so long to get a handle on this new life? I'm not the first mom to have three kids. I'm not the first to have two in diapers. I'm not the first and the fact that I just can't seem to figure this out drives me insane.
So I push myself to do things I have no business doing. Like taking a four year old, a twenty month old, and a 3 week old to the grocery store by myself. Like trying to make sure the kitchen is spotless and the dishes are washed at all times. I used to take pictures all day long and now I find myself wanting to hide from any and all cameras because my life is so out of control right now. I know it probably doesn't look that chaotic from the outside, but inside my head, I'm a mess. I'm one diaper change away from a breakdown.
Zach and I are watching this new series on Netflix, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. If you're not watching it, DO IT NOW. It's so good. So funny. Anyway. In one of the episodes, she's helping her friend get through something and she says, "Can you make it through the next ten seconds?" Her friend says she can so Kimmy tells her, "You just have to take it ten seconds at a time." I can't even tell you how much that has helped me the last few days with these crazy kids.
The other night, Jonah woke up inconsolable because we wanted his "brown blanket" (his blankie). It was in the wash, covered in puke, because of course my kids picked up a stomach bug and that's always fun. We told him he couldn't sleep with a puke covered blanket and all hell broke loose. He woke up Emery. Anna was mid feed-burp-scream session and I just had to take a million deep breaths. I kept telling myself, "Ten seconds. I can make it through the next ten seconds." And then I counted.
Then when I attempted to take them all to the grocery store by myself, we made it just over the threshold of the store when Emery started yelling at Jonah to "YET GO! YET GO!" because Jonah had his hand on Emery's side of the cart's steering wheel. There was no fixing it. Try reasoning with a 20 month old and let me know how that goes. Anna was screaming because scream-feed-burp and I just really wanted to get some groceries. We had no eggs. No milk. No cereal. Nothing. I was determined. So I counted. I can get through the next ten seconds, right? I counted to 10 and realized that I was certifiable for trying to do a grocery trip with the stooges. Those 10 seconds of focused counting gave me the clarity to see the situation for what it was. So we turned around and went home and I had myself a good cry.
This season is straight up crazy. There is no "enjoy every moment" because I'm not even going to remember these days. I'm in a fog of exhaustion and spit up and poop and disciplining and I'm just content to get to the end of the day with my hair still attached to my scalp. Adding a human to your family is tough. It doesn't matter if it's your first kid, or your second, your third, fourth, fifth. Whatever. It's tough. When we added child number two to the family, we all had a really hard time. Number three? Just me. Everyone else has transitioned seamlessly ... but me? Crazy train -- ticket for one, please.
I know it will all balance out soon. I know it will. I know I'll look back at this and laugh at how much of a mess I was. I know I'll figure it out. I know it gets easier. I KNOW. But until it does, I'm just taking it 10 seconds at a time.