“When Life Returns To Normal…”

“I’ll get the house organized again eventually. We’ll get our closet cleaned out and those maternity clothes packed away soon. I’ll have time to sit down and plan out my schedule one of these days. One of these days I’ll wake up and won’t feel like I’m treading water the rest of the day. One day, life will return to normal.

I began telling myself this around a year ago when the pregnancy exhaustion peaked and I just gave up. I figured I’d return to some semblance of a sane, every day existince that allowed for a clean house and regular schedule a couple months after the baby was born. Then I figured it would happen after we finished the hardwood floors. Then I thought it would come back together when the summer got here and my husband’s travel schedule would SUPPOSEDLY slow down.


This? This life of chaos amidst running errands and playing catchup. These days that never seem long enough, where I feel like I’m just trying to stay afloat, triaging my to-do list. These hours that are consumed by TRYING TO GET CHILDREN TO SLEEP, getting children fed, getting children clean, keeping children alive. This is what “normal” looks like now, I think.

Trying to go back to the “normal” of yore, is like trying to return to the days when I could wake up, get dressed and leave the house 15 minutes later, looking fabulous, wear the same fancy clothes that managed to stay clean all day, have 2 glasses of wine while watching whatever show I wanted and fall asleep on the couch. It’s never going to happen again… at least not for a very long time.

No real point to this post other than to bitch and complain. I’m just having a hard time adjusting to this new normal. What does “normal” look like for you? Please tell me it gets better when the kids are in free, full time daycare school. Is that when I’ll have time to sit around and eat bonbons, read magazines by the pool and polish my already clean countertops?

Kendall is 3 years 2 months and Leyna is 6 months old (and currently on a napstrike and OMG, WHY WOULD ANYONE NOT WANT TO SLEEP?)

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  1. I totally feel for you, Jill. I was hoping that I would have figured this out by now. I work full-time and hubby works nights. I thought that after my daughter went down for the night and hubby took his pre-work nap that I’d be able to get loads done. Instead, I end up lying in bed playing iPhone games while all the real work just piles up. Why isn’t there an app for that?

  2. I’ve been playing this “when things slow down” game with myself for years. I thought I’d have the summer off. HA! I had to spend the summer nursing a newborn through oversupply issues, whilst looking for a home, whilst finishing the TWO certifications that I hadn’t gotten done before I got pregnant (the ones I wanted to get done LAST summer) and now we’re packing to move, and I’m still whittling away at these certificates while ALSO trying to practice for our reunion show that’s in a month (OH MY GOD WHY DID I AGREE TO DO THAT!) while moving, starting Jonas in Kindergarten, starting Jules in preschool, and starting my senior year all the same week.

    And somehow I write a blog in the middle of all this mess because now that I accept sponsorships, I HAVE to write it.

    WHAT. THE. FUCK. There is no “normal.” There is only more and more and more and more to do. I’ve given up on ever thinking I’m going to get a breather. It’s never going to happen. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

  3. I can commiserate, though I only have one little one. I can’t imagine every day with two! My baby is 9 months and is waking up up to 10 times a night. I’ve been telling myself it’s going to get better for about 5 months now lol! I’m reading the No-Cry Sleep Solution.. well, I’ve been trying to read it for about 2 weeks. Iris is also getting about 6 teeth at once. Joy!


  4. I can completely relate to the feeling of always treading water, feeling like you’re only “triaging” your to do list, and simply just doing the bare minimum to get by every day but never really getting ahead or getting anything substantial accomplished. Some nights when I look back on what I did that day, I all I can say is that I managed to survive. I am a working mom of one (a 19 month old toddler). Although our circumstances are different, I think the underlying feeling is the same.

    I too wonder when I will get my “normal” back and my best guess is when all my kids are in high school. I think elementary school will present a break in some respects, but will bring on a whole different load of challenges (i.e., becoming a taxi driver who shuttles the kids to and from extra curricular activities whenever I’m not actually at work). I figure at least by high school, when they can actually drive themselves around (or have friends who can drive), I’ll finally get my afternoons/evenings and weekends back to myself a little while.

    In the meantime, as a pep talk to myself and to you, as much as I know it’s approximately a million times easier said than done, I think we just have to try to embrace this “abnormal” stage of our lives. I don’t have to tell you what I’m sure both of us have already been told a million times – this is a relatively short stage of our lives and, when it’s gone, we’ll miss it. Since I know you love insipirational pins, I’ll share this one with you: http://pinterest.com/pin/62755450/ I came across it a few days ago and although I know I’ve heard this concept a bunch of different times (and I’m sure you have, too…in fact, you’ve probably even blogged about it), I really like the way this is worded. I’m trying to be more mindful of treasuring the “doing” a little more and the “getting it done” a little less.

    Hang in there!!!!!

    • Jen, I can completely relate to this post and I loved that pin! I told my husband recently that it feels like I’m pulled in so many different directions that I “just get things done” and never do anything to the best of my ability. I have to constantly remind myself to cherish this time in my life. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels that way!

  5. I am totally there with you!

    Someday, we’ll all probably talk about how abnormal it feels once our lives are NOT completely crazy devoted to raising our children anymore.

  6. Yep, that’s roughly our normal as well. I hear it gets better, but I keep on getting pregnant, so this shiz is never going to end for me, lol. I have no advice, just feel your pain. Oh, to have wine and look fabulous!! One day, Jill, one day.

  7. Add one more person to this water treading group!

    My hubby never gets it, although he does get stressed out from time to time. Some days I get Grandma or Nana to watch the boys, so I can “get some stuff.” AKA clean for 15 minutes, click on a Netflix movie, shove as much junk food into my mouth as possible, doze on and off, realize I have 20 minutes before I have to pick kids up and frantically clean. I’ve just had to accept that this is just how it’s going to be for awhile. It sucks, yes. But at least I know there is an end in the future (already counting down until both kids are in school and/or they spend like a week during the summer with grandparents). All I can say, is medicate in the mean time. I do so in cookies 😉

    • Leah Ambrose on

      Same here. Although lately I can’t even take a shower alone. My 18 month old daughter insists on watching on the sidelines.

      I agree with a previous poster just to live in the moment. Before you know it, you’ll have two bratty teenagers. I just take it day by day. Otherwise, I think I’d lose my mind.

  8. My situation is different, as I don’t have children yet, but I am a full-time nanny to 17 month old twins. Between chasing them all day, doing their laundry, keeping their house clean, and then coming home to clean my own house and do my own laundry, I’m exhausted. Add in the stress of moving to DFW in 5 weeks where I have no friends and no job! (Need a nanny?! haha) Topped with the stress of infertility and how many more cycles I can fit in with my doctor before we move, should this cycle not work. Never did I think this would be my “normal”.

  9. Oh no! I have a 3 week old and a 3yr old and have been telling myself how great it’s going to be in a few months when the baby gets on a schedule I can finally get caught up. Better to know now that its not going to happen I guess!

  10. oh goodness I have all sorts of arbitrary future dates when things will get back to “normal”. none of them is even close to being now.

    and that scares me because I’m so terrified of missing the most precious years because I’m busy trying to keep my head above water, waiting for it all to get easier.

  11. It is so crazy. When my second baby was exactly 6 months I felt this same way. I felt like I was seriously just barely keeping my head above water, and that the house was falling to pieces around me, and that my toddler wasn’t getting enough attention, and my husband wasn’t getting enough attention.. so on and so on.

    Let me tell you what I did. I took a deep breath, let things slide and napped whenever I could, even if that meant napping for ten minutes at a time. Now, four months later, my house is sort of clean, my kids are happy and somehow things just are working out better. I found that making sure I got some sleep and let go of some of the small things, life just was better. Good luck! I know you will be able to handle it, you are an amazing woman. You frequently inspire me!

  12. Jilly poo – I feel ya, I really do. And if I’m being honest, this post kind of makes me feel better about my situation. Sometimes I think I could be more organized and have my shit together if only I didn’t have to work outside the home! Well, we all know that it’s difficult whether you’re home or you’re working full-time. It’s a seesaw. It’s tug of war. You know how everyone always says “it’s about learning to balance.” That’s so NOT it. This life – it’s about learning to get back up on the balance beam after you lose your footing and fall off. We will fall off for the rest of our lives. The question is, can you get back on =)

    p.s. Shall we de-stress at blogher? I think so.

  13. I totally understand! I have a 2.5 year old and 6 month old and I work part time with a husband with a crazy travel schedule. Trying to balance work, kids, house and anything the hubby does while he is away, I feel like I am always playing catch up (usually on sleep since the 6mo has decided waking up multiple times a night is fun). When hubby is home we are in full speed catch-up for house projects that can’t get done while he is away…

    I also keep saying, once we get on a schedule, once I make (and write down) a schedule, if I only had a few extra hours in the day things will get better!

    Hang in there!

  14. Normal – what’s that? My current normal involves being 7 months pregnant, a two year old who is refusing his naps, a four year old who is apparently smarter than I am while managing a part-time job FROM THE HOUSE, selling our home (what the hell was I thinking?), packing our home, writing a contract on a house to build, searching fruitlessly for a rental home that doesn’t cost more than our current mortgage and isn’t a complete dump (no, I don’t want to pay $2K a month to move into a house that smells like your dog pissed all over every inch of carpet). Oh, and to top it of my mom is in the hospital and I spent two hours on the phone today (with a screaming 2 year old at my side) calling social security, medicare, health insurance companies, etc. trying to figure out her insurance options.

    I guess normal is what we make of it. One day, I yearn to be able to take a nap again in the middle of the afternoon…or just get to sleep before midnight.

    Thanks or the vent!

  15. Ha! I could have written this exact blog post, replacing the words “children” with “small business purchase,” “kitchen remodel,” or “taekwondo World Championships.” Thankfully, this is the first moment in about a year that I see “normal” in the distance. And it feels GOOD. It will happen for you too. Your babies will grow up and be quieter and more self-sufficient. I’m sure of it.

  16. I agree, normal is “crazy”. Crazy is normal. At least at my house and I only have one. One day (a long time from now) normal will involve an empty quiet house with children who are grown and moved away. Then you can have your wine, shows, and couch. But I am sure then you will miss the old crazy normal. We all will. I guess that means we should enjoy our crazy normal now. 🙂

  17. I only now feel sort of normal now that Vicki’s over 9 months old. Of course, next week we’ll be back to crazy, I’m sure. So once things are sort of normal, that means it’s time to add another kid to the mix, right?

    Of course, I still have plenty of boxes from our move 5 months ago that have yet to be unpacked. And my maternity clothes to put away. And we’ll be spending every weekend for the rest of the summer away. Maybe things are a little crazier than I thought.

  18. Normal? There is no such thing anymore. Just when I think we get into a routine with three kids that are relatively well behaved, but still leave me feeling like I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown daily… something changed, and normal is no longer normal.

    Someone is going to school, someone is potty training, someone is doing something that sends the whole house into a drastic change none of us were prepared for.

    One day we will all get back to that “comfort” zone we were in before these miniature tyrants entered our lives, but some days, the chaotic normal, or abnormal, or whatever this is… Feels right?

  19. I keep banking on my youngest being 4 before I feel like life will start to have a semblance of normalcy or at least be something that I enjoy again. Unfortunately, my youngest is still only due in three weeks (meaning I have four years to go).

    I cry. A lot… This is not what I thought it would be like. I’m not cut out for mothering babies and toddlers, and it depresses me to see and hear all these mommies who gush about how great it is. Meanwhile, I’m literally taking it day by day just to survive (I’ve used the treading water metaphor myself in many a tearful explanation). It’s no way to live.

    Sorry I can’t be more uplifting or helpful, but I’m not a “Sunshine Suzy” kind of girl. When something sucks and isn’t going to get better for a LONG time, I don’t bother looking for a silver lining. I just try to bide my time and keep my head above water; unhappy but at least alive.

  20. I’m with you! I’m taking it day by day, and sometimes minute by minute for now, and if you had told me a couple years ago that I would be able to sleep at night with such a messy house & no plan for the next day, I would have laughed- or started planning for how to not let it happen. I blame Hollywood (and possibly some blogs) for making me think I’d have yummy, nutritious meals, a clean, beautifully decorated home, always happy babies, all while looking all put together. haha

  21. I think it’s all about embracing what “normal” looks like. For me, it’s a messy house scattered with toys and never a clean floor. Not being a perfect size 6. But feeling more loved and overjoyed each day with the blessings of my kiddos. Hope you continue to enjoy what is normal to you now!!!

  22. My normal looks just like yours. With the same age kids. Who also won’t sleep. Someone remind us the magazine photo days are soon coming….

    1ht holding a sleeping baby who wakes up every time I put her down today… while the 3 year old calls from her room that she’s awake. After her whopping 1 hour nap…

    I feel your pain momma

  23. I often comment to my child-ridden…er.. blessed friends – why did we complain that we didn’t have time before we had kids?! We had TONS of it – and what the heck did we do with all of it. I could (should) have gotten so much more done.

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