This is a difficult stage of life. And it is temporary. I remind myself of that often, and I try daily to remember how precious this time is. I don't for one moment want to wish it away because I want to hold onto my babies as they are forever. In fact, I drive myself a little crazy trying to cherish it all. I recently read Nora McInerny's book It's Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool too) and this was one of my favorite quotes regarding advice we get as parents:
Savor every moment. Are you savoring the moment? Every. Single. Moment should be savored. Savor it. This moment. The moment that just passed. This upcoming moment. It's going to pass you by before you know it. You missed it. You should have it but you were busy reading this book or wondering when the next episode of Property Brothers is going to be on. Property Brothers is always on.
I'm savoring it OK! I savor so hard that sometimes I think I'm missing it by not just living in the moment. So I am in no hurry to rush through this stage, difficult as it is. But it's hard. It's damn hard.
Our kids need so much from us, and our jobs needs so much from us that there is nothing left for anything else. There is no social life, there is little time for family outside our small unit, there is no time or energy to maintain a house or any other adult responsibilities, and there is never enough money. We are maxed out every day, and it is not a matter of not wanting to ask for help. I ask for help - I shout it from the rooftops! But everyone else is also barely getting by. They can't help us just as we can't help them.
We all live in our own little boxes - literally and figuratively - and we all struggle to do it all alone. It's senseless, but I haven't been able to figure out a way to change it.
We have been exploring all kinds of options. One of us working part-time. One of us not working at all. Both of us working multiple jobs. Different child care situations. Living with relatives. Moving relatives in with us. Nothing we've explored is feasible. We just have to plod through each day, stretch every dollar, and wait for the stage where the kids are more independent and they can go to school for free.
It will get better. I know with certainty that when I look back on these years, I won't primarily remember the long, exhausting days, the daily dance to make a paycheck last until the next one, or the constant struggle to do all the things. I will remember fondly, and miss dearly, my sweet chubby-cheeked children, their laughter and their desire to always be close to me, fighting over a spot on my lap.
I know this is temporary, I know what is important in life, and I very much know how much worse things coulde be. But I can't say it's always easy to enjoy the beautiful things when every day is a battle.