Not long after I got pregnant with #2 things started to get a little rough in our house. Sometimes I feel like my job as a mom can be summed up in one word - troubleshooter. I'm constantly trying to figure out what's wrong and how to fix it. (Why isn't he sleeping longer? Why won't he eat that today? Why did he get up so early? Why won't he let go of my leg!!?) And certain days and weeks throughout the past 5 months have really challenged my motherly instinct.
I remember one week last fall, soon after Jack's birthday, where he was constantly cranky, clingy, and waking up late at night and early in the morning. Jon tried to help out, but apparently this was between Jack and I, because he never wanted to be out of my sight. If I couldn't hold him he would just cling to my legs, crying, until I picked him up. At one point, Jon offered to play with Jack in the living room so Mommy could do some sewing, alone, in the kitchen. We put two chairs between the living room and kitchen so I could move around without dragging a toddler at my feet. It didn't matter how much "fun" Daddy was having playing with toys in the living room, Jack opted to stand with his arms reaching over the chairs, sobbing for Mommy. It was pitiful and exasperating. All I needed was to not be needed, even for just a little while.
Needless to say, Jack went to bed early that night and I had a little time to think things over...and get in a good cry. I have to admit, the main thing on my mind that night was, "How am I going to do this with two? Am I going to be spending my nights alternating between two baby beds? Will Jack be able to entertain himself for a reasonable length of time by April? Can I nurse with one hand and entertain an 18 month old with the other?" and on and on and on. Things always seem worse when you're right in the thick of them.
That night I picked up Supernatural Childbirth, which I've been reading through again this pregnancy. The title of the chapter I was in was, "Can I be a Joyful Mother of Children?" and was based on Psalm 113:9. Now what this chapter is really about is the barren woman becoming a joyful mother. But it spoke to me anyway. And if God wants the barren woman to be a happy mother then I'm sure he wants the same thing for the fertile woman. And so I'm claiming it.
I don't have to be an exhausted, stressed-out, frustrated mom. I can enjoy my kids, each one of them, and be satisfied with my position as a mom. And rather than just try to make it through, I can certainly take delight in these few, fast years I have with them while they're still little ... and needy. I don't know what the future holds. I don't know what kind of sleeper #2 will be, I don't know what kind of eater Jack will be next month, I don't know how much "me time" I'll be getting come April. But I do know that most moms have more than one child, that many, many woman have had kids closer together than mine will be, and that our whole family is going to adjust to the changes just like we did last October. I know it will be tough, I know that there will be many more tearful evenings, and I know that some days my boys will get the best of me. But I also know how much I delight in Jack, how much I already love this new lil' guy pounding on my ribcage, and I'm pretty sure that these next few years are going to make me a very joyful mother of children.