In last three months we have added a lot more excitement to our lives. We have welcomed three brand new babies which brings us to family of 4 kids, 3 boys and 1 girl. Let the games begin! Now the reason for me writing this post is to address what I learned about motherhood and the universal question that I think will never stop being asked, “How does your wife do it?” Now I feel I kicked in a few chromosomes too to help make these kids, so why doesn’t anybody ask how the father does it? Well, let me tell you why!
As for most things in life I tend to learn them the hard way and I had the chance to get a tiny glimpse of how my wife does it. Our little girl was sick with viral meningitis and was flown to the children’s hospital an hour from our home. My wife stayed with her for the three days she was there, leaving me with the three boys.
“Staying home is easy,” I said. Motherhood couldn’t be that hard.
I figured this would be easy and relaxing. I would have a break from construction since manual labor in the summertime is brutal. The 3yo loves to play and the other two just sleep and eat and poop. It was my chance to be Mr. Mom, like the Lonestar song.
To make things manageable, the babies were on a 3-hour schedule (thanks to the NICU nurses), so I would feed and change them and then put them down for a nap. Then to entertaining the 3 yr old which is always easy because I never grew up.
The routine was going pretty good for me until the after the first night. It could all be traced back to lack of sleep or just being a wuss, either way, it kicked my butt.
Let me take you on the snowball effect:
It started out with one of the babies. For some reason, he did not want to eat. I tried asking why he did not want any formula but he just stared at me and started to cry. He gave me a look that said, “If you loved me, you would know what is wrong with me!”
So when one baby starts to cry the other one joins the bandwagon, most likely thinking it will be fun to see how much crying Dad can handle. Then my three old starts to tell me that Mom doesn’t let the babies cry as much as I do and coaches me on how Mom takes care of the babies.
Sadly, or maybe it’s a good thing, his coaching works like a charm until 2 min later when something else goes crazy. I decided the triplets are too much like me because I get bored of things really quickly and then have to move on to something else. So here I am, trying, no struggling, to carry on throughout the day. I fed the babies and forgot to burp them, paying the consequences later as vomit trickled down my shoulder and arms.
And then comes the mess…
Now, moms, you know that lovely smell of breast milk or formula is one of the worst smells but for those of you who are rookies, or new dads, the smell sticks inside your nose, making you want to vomit with every inhale of breath.
I finally get all cleaned up and then the farts came. At first I thought it was cute that such a little body could fart so loud. Of course, I’m thinking, “That’s my boy!” but alas, my inexperience taught me that farting leads to the next best smell to formula and breast milk. It is what I like to call the “dark brown matter that shall not be named” left behind in the diaper.
As soon as the farts start, I hear the terrifying sound of diarrhea falls. Now flashback to when we were buying diapers for the babies, my wife wanted the good kind but it was more money. I insisted that the cheaper kind was just as good. Boy was I wrong. So diarrhea falls is coming out faster than those stupid cheap diapers, filling one after another, changing one outfit, then two. I don’t just mean I changed them. I had to change my own clothes as well, the dark brown matter that shall not be named seeped out onto my favorite pair of basketball shorts. My super-sniffer nose not only had to endure the smell of vomit but like I rolled around in manure.
I finally get everyone all cleaned up when the 3yo asks me what we are having for dinner. In my grand adventure in taking care of the babies, I forgot I had to feed him something besides Cheetos and fruit snacks. It was getting late so I decided that I could make mac and cheese. Having never made it before I figured it wouldn’t be hard, you just dump things into a pot.
My culinary skills put to the test.
Long story short, I burnt the mac and cheese. I didn’t know that if you fill the pot full of water and leave it on full heat it will eventually boil over. As the water spilled onto the hot surface, smoke was going everywhere and those lovely smoke alarms caused a housewide panic. I mixed the mac and cheese, some of the pieces of pasta not quite cooked and served it to the 3yo. He took one bite, turned up his nose and announced that it didn’t taste like mom’s.
After about a 20 min of straight crying and screaming because of the alarms, the babies, by a miracle or pity, calmed down and drifted off to sleep. Their cute chubby faces looked up at me and it was if they were saying to me, “See, Dad. It wasn’t that hard.”
I figured okay, we made it through this first day but then I realized I had to do it all over again! I was exhausted from getting an hour to an hour and a half of sleep in between each feeding and felt like a professional bartender as I stood at the sink to mix bottles over and over again.
So, back to the original question, “How does she do it?”
I have no idea! Those 3 days were some of the hardest mentally I’ve ever been through. I can pick up large timbers and heavy boards with ease but the physical exhaustion led to mental exhaustion and when the babies cried, I wanted to cry because it seemed to be almost too much. I’ve decided my wife can do it because of LOVE.
John 15:13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
When a mother decides that they want to have children, they decide to take the path that could lead to death, because delivering a baby can sometimes get close to that. They form a bond of love with their children and that’s how mothers put their children’s needs before their own.
Our mom is last one to eat, the last one to sleep and the last one to be thanked.
We take for granted how hard motherhood is because we don’t see the behind the scenes. The fifteen loads of laundry that magically appears in our closets. The hour it took to prepare a meal that we eat in about 15 minutes. The house that gets cleaned throughout the day as spills and messes take over.
Wife, you are the love of my life. Seeing your love for our wonderful children gives me more love for them and you. One of my favorite songs is by Brad Paisley called, “I Thought I Loved You Then”:
“I can just see you with a baby on the way
I can just see you when your hair is turning gray
What I can’t see is how I’m ever gonna love you more
But I’ve said that before.
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
We’ll look back someday at this moment that we’re in
And I’ll look at you and say and I thought I loved you then
And I thought I loved you then…
Family is the most important thing in this life and if you haven’t, give your wife the day off. Only then will you truly appreciate all that she does, coordinates and remembers to do. Hopefully, you will love her even more than you did before.
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