winner & whining

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Y’all, I gotta be honest. This has been a rough week with the sisters. They’re definitely letting me know that they’re not the same person. Although they are about the same length, their weights now differ by a little under two pounds. Honor has taken a chunky lead, and she has a red freckle on her belly to help us when we’re tired and confused. Most people say they can tell them apart, but we second-guess ourselves daily… maybe because we’re in the thick of it?
They’re so much fun. They’ve started to laugh this week – like for real laugh, not just squawk. It is so stinkin’ sweet. But other than that, they’ve been pretty hard to get along with recently. I’m not sure what it is.
I could be struggling with supply issues. They seem to fuss at the breast a lot more lately. I’m not low on milk yet, but I’m definitely producing much less when I’m away from them. Ames cut two teeth at five months, so maybe it’s that. Or they could be under-stimulated. We do a lot of swing and Bumbo time, but I’m not exactly sure how to “play” with two infants while keeping an eye on the rest of our brood. Maybe they’re not tuckered out enough when it’s time to nap.
It’s as if they’ve teamed up against us. One of them has a perfectly easy time going down, and the other screams in a threatening manner, “I’M GOING TO WAKE UP MY SISTER IF YOU DON’T HOLD ME THIS INSTANT.” When we finally get the troublemaker to sleep, the other one awakens after a short & sweet rest, ready to eat and play. Of course, I’m gritting my teeth and thinking, Schedule, ladies, SCHEDULE!
We can’t put our finger on what it is, and it’s always a different twin… so there’s no real rhyme or reason. The best I can put it is this way – two is just harder. We wouldn’t think twice about it if we had a rough day followed by a smooth night, with a single baby. But with two, one of them could have an easy day and hard night, and the other one is rockin’ an opposite schedule. This week, it feels like we’re constantly treading water.
We’re both tired and cranky but trying to stay relaxed about it. Chris likes to give the sisters voices, and he accuses one of them of saying to the other, “I’m going to sleep for a bit. Your turn to keep Mom & Dad up. Ready, GO.” I can picture it so clearly in mind. Sneaky sisters, scheming quietly in their room while we’re downstairs. They’re giving us a run for our money already. Soon they’ll be trying to take tests for each other at school, and refusing to confess as to which one sneaked out of the house.
Chris & I have implemented a “tap out” system. When one of us is losing heart and patience with the girls, we say we have to tap out. The other parent drops whatever they’re doing and takes over for a few minutes. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. Maybe the babies smell a different parent and think, SUCCESS. WE BROKE ‘EM. Maybe it’s a change in our stress level and negative energy. I don’t know, but it usually works and everyone calms down.
In the heat of the moment, though, my mind tries its best to take me to a dark place. I become bitter and resentful and frustrated all too easily. It’s during those moments that I reference a verse from Nehemiah, a lesson about which I learned from Andy Stanley. Nehemiah was responsible for rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, a city very important to the people of God. Time and time again, his enemies tried to get him to stop. They used every trick & distraction they could think of, but it didn’t work. Nehemiah simply said, “I am doing a great work, and I cannot come down.”
There are so many other things trying their best to work their way into my heart and distract me right now – things to buy, places to visit, projects to start, more things to buy. But right now? Right now, I’m a mother to five children, three of whom are extremely needy. Right now, I am a mother who works full-time and prepares boring meals. Right now, I am a mother who doesn’t make her bed very often, or even shave her legs very often. I am a mother who misses a lot of things, a mother who longs for those things & more. But right now?
I am doing a great work.
I cannot come down.

13 thoughts on “winner & whining”

  1. I’m glad to know there is another mother out there who feels how I feel. Granted, I don’t have twins, just an out of this world, seemingly unstoppable 18 month old – I felt like I was reading about myself.

    Praying for you girl!

  2. AMEN! I could have used reading this a couple of weeks ago. My girls are 9 months on Monday ::tear:: and they went though this phase that sounds nearly identical to what you are describing! (minus the fact that I’m a SAHM) On top of that, my 2yr old lost his mind as well. Between the 3 of them, I felt like we weren’t getting ANY sleep. I have been more exhausted the past month than I was right after they were born. I felt like we were going backwards. It was frustrating and very dark.

    It was in these times that I was smacked in the face with a reminder that the – only – reason I am able to do what I do is by the absolute GRACE of a loving Father. Thank you so much for this post. In your ‘whining’, I was lifted up ;). Even just to know we’re not alone and its not just us.

    btw-maybe a little encouragement, my girls have been much better this week. Not ‘perfect’ but better and we are getting more sleep again- PRAISE JESUS :) (sorry for the long comment but this really touched my heart)

  3. Something that helped me (and I had posted in the nursery over the changing table) was from this blogger that said ‘a mother’s work is but sand etches, the next wave washes it away: but don’t grains of sand carve stone?’ It reminded me that even though there will always be another mess, another meal to make, etc, that the time I’m spending with my daughter, no matter how trivial, will eventually carve her into a fabulous human being!

  4. Being a mommy is ALWAYS rewarding, the most amazing “job” in the world. But as you said, its not always easy. Any time I feel like things are getting hard, I just remember that “this too shall pass.” And it always does :) Praying for you, Rachael. You are an amazing mother!

  5. Thank you for posting this. It takes a courageous person to admit they are struggling. But yes, it helps others…those of us who read other blogs and think, “What am I doing wrong? She seems to have it all together.” LOL No, we all have our struggles and difficulties. Nothing is perfect. Blog life is just a tiny snapshot of someone’s day, too. I am writing down that verse and taping it onto the mirror in my bedroom. You are an amazing woman…infant twins, three other children, a husband and a full-time job nursing. God bless you. You are an inspiration to me.

  6. This post brought tears to my eyes, it’s truly something we can all relate to. Some days are just hard, with a baby waking up every 3 hours, getting things done, going to work, there’s just never enough time or enough hands. But these words, I will think of them this week and take courage!!!

  7. I loved everything about this post, and I think that you are an inspiration. I am not a mother, but I work at a crisis nursery for children under 7-years-old and we see a great many sets of twins. After a day with twins, I without fail come home and pray for mamas of twins because it is serious WORK. But you are very right–it is a great work. :) I related to feeling overwhelmed and our minds taking us to a dark place when dealing with neverending fuss faces, and I always think about something my dad told me long ago: Nothing worth doing isn’t overwhelming. Laughter helps,too!

  8. You are absolutely doing amazing work! I wish I had a few pearls of wisdom to sprinkle here and make it all better, but honestly, I am in awe of how you make it work. You are an encouragement to me, even when you write about how things are tough.

  9. Rachael, I agree with all of the above comments. You are so special. Working..as a NURSE on top of it. My hats are off to you my lady. I envy your honesty. It has been the second biggest reason that has kept me from starting my own blog, which I think I’d really enjoy. Keep up the good work. You and Chris seem like a great team!

  10. Love the “Tap Out” system. We might need to implement that with our kiddos, even though they aren’t infant twins. I think all parents reach that point at times.

    Also, what a great verse. I’m going to write that one down.

    you are doing a great work mama! Both at home and in your job. My hubs & I always say “we will look back at these years and wonder how we did it”

    By the grace of God we go!!

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