Friday, December 21, 2007

up and down

I've been a bit on edge lately.

It seems that having four small children, no more than four consecutive hours of sleep, changing an untold number of diapers, preparing and mailing Christmas cards, last minute shopping, wrapping unusual shaped presents (a coffee thermos?), introducing a baby to solids and all that *other* stuff that I do everyday, has finally caught up to me. It caught up, knocked me down and started kicking hard.

Sometimes I might feel this way, but it will typically pass in a day. Two at most. But this time, it's been lingering and intensifying. I've been feeling so overwhelmed and in need of a really, really good cry. A good bawling, the shaking, sobbing, slobbery faced kind of cry that will clear out my senses. The kind that will leave me with a headache from the energy expelled. The kind that will require a Tylenol and a glass of wine. And a small bowl of ice cream. With a brownie.

Everything, and I mean everything, has been setting me off. I suspect that the mental collapse and admittance in to an institution I've been teetering around has been influenced by a culmination of events. For starters.

A month ago, I turned down a potentially large career opportunity. In my heart of hearts, I didn't accept the opportunity because I don't want to work full-time. I don't want to relocate our family and work 40+ hours a week. I don't want to do a lot of business travel. On a plane.

How could I leave Charlie at home? What about his career?

How could I expect that he can do what I do? Even if he could do some things better?

How could I leave my baby?

I have reservations about returning to work. I don't want to be buried under the bureaucracy of the next "new" system and the rules that are constantly changing and evolving and nearly impossible to stay caught up on. It makes me exhausted just thinking about it. Why would I want to be sitting in a meeting about ... something ... when I could be teaching my children how to do a somersault or hold my little baby close, stroke his cheek and watch him doze off to sleep while nursing? What's really important in my life??

But then.

I am away from the children for a few hours and I feel invigorated. When I found myself on the phone with various regulators last week regarding the lawless carpet cleaning neighbor, I felt empowered. I love working and making a difference. I also love getting a pay check. Which is really important when you are the kind of person who is unable to control their buying impulse when flipping through a Pottery Barn Kids catalogue.

The reality is, we lived for so long without children, that we are accustomed to buying whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted it. Unfortunately going from a DINK (double income no kids) lifestyle, to a SINK (single income numerous kids) lifestyle can wreak absolute havoc on your financial situation if you're not careful. Even if you are careful. Offspring that are outgrowing clothes almost faster than I can wash them, are quite costly.

I love being home. But at the risk of sounding like a whiner, the triplets are driving me nuts. My friend Debbie described it as the "cumulative" phenomenon. It's easy to be impartial and level headed when you're not inundated with chaotic behavior constantly. The first time you tell them not to climb on the kitchen table, it's no big deal. The ten, twentieth, one hundredth time, you are ready to explode.

You do explode.

You raise your voice.

Your arms start swinging.

You say things that are unkind.

Like when they fall off the table and land smack on their head, instead of rushing to help them you say "That's what happens when you don't listen to me. Hurts, doesn't it? Wanna do it again?"

Or, when your son bites his sister for the umpteenth time, you wrap up his beloved blanket in a bag, toss it out the front door and tell him that it's going in to the ocean. And then you watch the most pained look imaginable cross his small face and listen to him sob hysterically for the next 30 minutes while you eat Twizzlers and pleasingly feel like the biggest ass to have ever walked the earth.

Interestingly enough, today when I heard one of the coaches at gymnastics talk sternly to my son when he was going the wrong way on the beam, I was ready to attack. I can threaten to throw his most valued possession in to the sea and yet a teacher who says "Stop! We're going THIS way, you need to pay attention!" makes me rabid.

How! DARE! She!

That's MY baby. But if he crosses me one more time today, I am going to launch him clear in to outer space.

Even though Charlie and I could live high on the hog if we were both to return to work, we are being pulled by some insane force to home school our children. Those very children that often drive us completely crazy. We are actually looking in to educating them at home. Have we been drugged?

Earlier this week, I took a little bit of time following a dentist appointment to run to the post office and pick up some baby food at the grocery store. Time was short. Charlie needed to get in to the office, so I felt like I had to rush.

I always feel like I have to rush.

I drive to a Mailboxes, Etc. before realizing that I should pinch pennies and although it would be more convenient to mail my packages from that location, I should really go to the post office. So I get back in my car and drive a mile to the post office.

There is a line.

Of course there's a line!! It's a week before Christmas!!

But, there is much smaller line at the automated service center (ASC). So I stand in that line, instead. Meanwhile, the long line gets really short - but because I'm next in line for the ASC, I don't want to leave. As it turns out, the woman in front of me has at least 30 envelopes and is weighing each and every one, because she has pictures in them - and no two envelopes are the same or will require identical postage. After trying to focus on something, anything other than the precious time that is slipping by while I'm wasting time waiting to mail my package - it is finally my turn.

I purchase postage for two parcels but see that Media Rate is not available at the ASC for the package of books I'm sending to my father. Considering the "book rate" is at least 3/4 the price of priority mail, I decide that I can either go stand in the line that is now extending out the door, or, go back to Mailboxes, Etc.

I leave.

As I'm driving back to Mailboxes, Etc. I'm angry that I'm flailing so much. Why didn't I just stand in the customer service line at the post office in the first place? Why can't I execute something flawlessly? Why must everything be so difficult? Why am I so impatient? Have I always been this impatient? Does a normal person feel like freaking out because it took eight minutes instead of five to get something done? Does anyone else want to scream because their child goes slower than molasses whenever they wash their hands?

What's the rush?

Am I supposed to be somewhere?

Usually, no. But that doesn't stop me from feeling like we need to hurry and move on to the next thing. And the next. And then, go to bed so I can have some quiet time. Please. For the love of all that is good and holy - children that I prayed for everyday for 10 years straight - go to sleep and leave me alone.

After I dropped my packages off, I stopped by the grocery store to buy baby food. I dash in to the store and grab a hand basket. But, there are several hand baskets stuck together. I try to pull them apart and am unsuccessful. I am visibly struggling with the hand baskets to the point that I shake them over my head before putting them on the ground and hold them down with my feet while pulling up on the metal handles. I notice people coming in after me that are picking up one basket at a time, without problem. Meanwhile, I'm ready to roll across the floor to get my stupid basket free.

Everything is easy for everyone but me.

I collect my baby food and a few other items. I head to the checkout line. I pay, collect my items and drive home. The next morning, when I go to feed the baby, the organic value pack of fruit that I bought the day before is missing. It must have been left on the counter at the store. I'm certain I paid for it, because I know that I didn't spend $23.00 on sweet potatoes, peas, carrots and a box of Duncan Hines.

I feel like I've got an undiagnosed anxiety disorder and am running in circles.

And since I've started feeding Henry solids and have cut back on nursing, there has definitely been a shift in body chemistry. Earlier this week, I was feeling so unstable that I questioned if maybe I had the onset of postpartum depression. But now that I've written this blog, I have diagnosed myself with three-year old psychosis intensified by the Holidays.

Either way, I really think I need to be medicated.

Or, drink large quantities of egg nog and brandy.

49 comments:

  1. One of many cuzzins!12/21/07, 3:31 AM

    Oh my! You need a date with your husband. You have a babysitter coming into town. This is your opportunity to LEAVE ...for just a few hours. You need a break before you have a break!

    I think you hit the nose on the head. Your body chemistry is going through a change...hormones are raging and playing havoc. This is the time to get some extra sleep...I know, I know! Impossible. You've got to listen to your body. Give your GYN a call.

    I hope tomorrow is a nicer day for you.

    Regina :)

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  2. Ahhhh, my heart really really goes out to you. I totally hear you on the 'I love you now for the love of God, go to sleep and leave me alone' sentiment. I think it every night about my own little ones! it's like i can physically feel my body decompressing once they are definitely asleep.

    Surely you could think about maybe regularly booking the trips, and even little H-man, into occassional childcare/nursery, even for just a few hours each week. Something so small can make the world of difference to how you feel. The trips would probably enjoy playing with other kids, too. And this need not interfere with your plans to homeschool; it's just, say, 3 hours on mondays and fridays, or something like that.

    please think about it, for your own sake. you know all the spiel about taking a break makes you a better mum and all that, so i don't need to reiterate it here. and it would be good for the kids! at least for the trips, if you feel henry is too young to leave.

    sending you hugs and fat doses of empthy xxxxxxxxxxx

    ps holidays can really suck for mums, can't they? lovely though they are. ;)

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  3. Awww, Jen - *hugs*. I totally understand what you're saying.

    I was going to say about halfway down the post - PPD. I've had it, and questioning a second bout (my daughter is 5.5mo). But then you have 4 kids under 4, and MAN - that's tough. And don't underestimate the detrimental effect of too little sleep. I find after a bad night everything is just so much harder - even down to bothering to make breakfast for myself. And then you're dealing with the whole back-to-work dilemma, which is so hard. And the reduced nursing, which apart from the change in hormones, also has the psychological issues of reduced contact time with your 'baby'. That's a lot to deal with so close to the holidays!

    Hope you're feeling more on-the-up very soon. Thank you for being so honest in your writing, it does help the rest of us out there know we're not alone.

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  4. Oh sweety! I love you! Why?! Because you are honest. I come here just about everyday to check up on you. Because I know exactly what you are going through and it's difficult. Very difficult and holy frustrating. When my triplets were born I already had a 2yr old and a 4yr old. Then they were born. And in our situation I didn't have any help and my husband worked 80 hours + a week to just support us through the first 2-3 years. I was very alone, lonely, and crazed. So yes I think I know what you are feeling and it is insane. Your time is important. Every damn minute. And holy f'ck why can't others seem to comprehend it?! When they are that young, in order to survive everything has a scheuduale and time and a place for everything. And well shoot others, especially those wasters of time, just don't get it. You get off track for a few minutes and it throws your whole day in a tale spin. Man!! On another note, we did end up deciding to homeschool our children. And although at times it is nerve wracking, I woudn't have it any other way. So yes I encourage you, if you are serious about homeschooling to do some good studying on it and get a mentor. That way when it comes time to make that decision you will feel better prepared. Unlike me who just jumped in and dang near drowned feeling so overwhelmed. I don't feel that way anymore as I have learned a few things along the way. That yes, I wish had known before I started.
    I know we only see glimpses of your life. And that this isn't the whole picture. But I encourage you to get a better hold of the discipline situation. I know that is hard to hear, hell it's hard to say. Because if someone said that to me at this point. I would hunt them down and knock their block off. But seriously I mean, the earlier you start, the better and easier it will get. I only wish I had known that with my fisrt singelton. Oh boy, now that he's much older he's more of a handful than his younger 4 siblings. If only I could reverse the clock and get a little harder and tighter control on him. Sigh...time will eventually relax all that and life will go on. But geez he can be so difficult, now. Just breathe, or take a breather. You sound like you need to refocus. And I know right now at this stage in your life it is most difficult to break away and do just that. I encourage you to do just that. You and they need it right now. You need to refocus right away. That was the hardest thing for me to do when I was at this stage. Realizing I need to break away and refocus. And then actually following through with it. I so wish I had someone to tell me that at the time. (((hugs)))

    Henry is so sweet. Thank you for sharing him. I enjoy hearing about him and seeing his cute babe pics. Such a sweet boy. Those trips are awesome! :D

    Mom of 5

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  5. hi,
    I love your blog...and read it everyday. I'm not sure I ever left a comment, but this time I really have to. You're doing a great job, it must be so tough to have 4 kids so young. I have just 2 (newborn and todler) and my head is spinning most of the time. Can't imagine with 4!!
    It will get better, especially after xmas crazyness is over!
    good luck and merry christmas to youur lovely family!
    michela
    http://babyccinoblog.com/

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  6. Oh Jen! I'll pray for you! We all get put over the edge by our little ones, but I have no doubt that having four under three is especially challenging. Sometimes I feel bad because when I'm with them, I just want to be away from them. But, when I'm not with them, I miss them like CRAZY! It's an interesting phenomenon. (But, you're not alone, sister.)

    Here's hoping the New Year brings refreshment!

    --A faithful blog follower from Ohio

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  7. Jen,
    I am so sorry that you are feeling overwhelmed. It is tough & I can't imagine having 3 three year olds. You do an amazing job! As Mom's we all struggle, but for whatever reason, we keep it inside. I can remember leaving the house without a diaper bag for the 1st time in 11 years. What a milestone ;) The Holiday is almost over. Enjoy & great blog!

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  8. Jen,

    I am an avid reader of your blog (you and Michele S are the reasons I started using google reader) but I have only posted occasionally.

    I just wanted to respond to this post and say I totally get it!!!

    This is just how I was feeling at the beginning of the week (and I only have one child). I was feeling so out-of-control that I was seriously considering medication. Fortunately, I seem to be feeling a little better now.

    The problem is you do have some place to be -- about a million places to be and a million things to go. Being a full-time mom is overwhelming plus you have 4 kids under 3-- you are amazing!!!

    Mary Kate

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  9. You're pretty normal in my book!

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  10. I have days like yours, okay weeks and months too! I homeschool our 9 year old and my 3 year old is home all day too. There are times when I think I will lose my mind and want to run back to work. Then I think about this one thing... if my 3 year old can make me that crazy and I want to throw him out the door... what would a person in a nursery school or daycare feel? Afterall this daycare worker will have about 8 of them to deal with all day. She didn't love and pray for them to come into this world. This always helps me know that I am doing the right thing. Even if it means we are struggling financially and I am gritting my teeth at my kids like my mom used to do. I will say a prayer for you and hope that the chaos lightens some soon.

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  11. I wish I knew you when I lived in San Diego. One of my best friends has six kids, including two sets of twins. I lived next to her for kids 1-4 and she moved away before she had her second set of twins. She recruited me for just about every shopping trip and dinner-making session. I wish you much sleep and a future friendship with a childless neighbor, who likes to wrangle kids.

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  12. I could have written this post myself! Well, except for the fact that I only have 2 kids :) born at separate times. LOL. So glad to know I'm not alone! I have definitely used the line "see what happens when you don't listen to me?"

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  13. Hi Jen,
    I almost didn't check any blogs this morning, but I'm so glad that I did. As I read your post, I related to so much of it.
    First let me say that, as you know, caring for a home and children is the hardest job that anyone will ever do...physically and mentally. It is also the most important.
    I, too, gave up a career to stay home with my children. My husband and I are both Occupational Therapist, so before children and before my choice to stay home, we were pretty well off. It was a hard decision giving up the money as well as my career, however, from the time that my first born arrived, I knew that nothing else mattered as much as her. When all three of our children were in school, I went back to work part time. It was scary going back, but I feel back into it well....felt good about it. Then, just as you are, we felt the pull towards homeschooling our children. We knew that we'd be giving up my paychecks again as well as my career, but we didn't think too long about before deciding that it was the right thing to do.
    It has changed our lives. Many people wonder how I do it, but it is far less stressful than having them in the school system. I will say that as your children get older, everything will change. It gets so much easier. There were times when mine were babies...all at the same time..that I wondered if I would make it through the day...I did.
    I would also like to say that your are most probably a victim of your hormones right now. I get very PMS about ever 3rd month, and I feel like I am literally going crazy. All I want to do is get into the bed and cover my head. I feel like I am failing everyone and nothing will ever be right for any of us. I cried so hard in the shower last week that I scared myself. Then, I started and the world is wonderful. Maybe you can see a good dr. about leveling out your hormones while you are going through this transition.
    I know all of this sounds like rambling, but I so wanted you to know that I understand and have been where you are more than once. I know every circumstance is different, but the underlying feelings are the same for many moms.
    "HUGS" to you!! You are an amazing mom...I can see it in every post on your blog! What you are doing IS hard, but you are doing it...that's what matters.

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  14. I could have written this myself. Word for word. I feel guilty that I feel so *normal* when I'm running an errand without my kids. But I always have that same impatience. That nagging urge to rush because there is SO MUCH that needs to get done. I love my children so much but I am certain that they are driving me crazy. I think it is because the demands of caring for several young children leave us so little time for ourselves that we develop anxiety over it. Sometimes I feel so resentful when one of my children needs to nurse or needs a diaper or needs their butt wiped. I long for the day when I don't have 5 butts to wipe everyday. But yeah, I totally feel terrible for feeling this way, let alone saying it out loud.

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  15. I have a decent job right now but I'm planning on leaving once my baby (our 2nd) comes in Feb. I know it's the right thing - both for me, the baby, and the rest of our family, but I'm a bit wistful about the peace and quiet I'm going to leave behind.

    I see myself in your comment - I totally stress myself out trying to perfectly execute everything in my life and beat myself up when I waste 5 minutes here or there. My husband thinks I'm nuts but I think it's because there's always more to do.

    Anyway, I get where you are coming from.

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  16. I understand completely how you feel. I love staying home with my kids but at times, I need a break too! Hell, just the other night the kids were fighting, the baby was crying and my husband was out with his friends playing poker. I got so frustrated I tossed (and by tossed I mean launched) a bottle in the sink as hard as I could. The top broke and milk went everywhere and although it was a bigger pain to have to clean up the mess...it sure felt good just to let out some of the frustration.

    However, if anyone ever looks at my kids the wrong way, I'm all over them!

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  17. i love you! you always have a way of summing up exactly how i'm feeling. know that you are not alone! i feel exactly the same way and i only have ONE 3 year-old and a 3 month-old.

    once the chores are done and the holidays arrive you'll feel better.

    you might actually be crazy with that home-schooling idea though! :)

    - Ali

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  18. Hi there, I have been reading your blog for a few months and I love it. I just wanted to tell you that there is something called Post Partum Anxiety (NOT the same as PPD at all) and it is fairly common, it just doesn't get the same attention that PPD does. I have suffered from it since the birth of my twins and just now at about one year out it's starting to get better (I tried several medications but never found anything I could tolerate). In any case, the combination of hormones, sleep deprivation, and holiday stress does not help! I don't know what else to say except hang in there and please keep writing. I'm sure it's a form of therapy for you and you are definitely reaching a very large, appreciative audience!

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  19. Oh I so am in the same boat and heres the kicker I don't have triplets- I have a four year old and a nine month old (conceived after infertility)and this is the kicker I am 10 weeks pregnant HAHAHAHHA after my doctor said it was impossible to get pregnant on our own! I should be singing praises right??? Wrong I have never been so unsettled in my life I have had to somewhat abruptly stop nursing (still hanging onto that last one) which I hate because I wanted to nurse so much longer I seem to have missplaced my patience
    somewhere I'm not sure if it's the pregnancy hormones or the stopping nursing hormones but somewhere something is definitively screwed
    I so enjoy reading your blog I feel like hey if she can do it SO CAN I!
    I hope you find your Christmas MOJO soon Just know in the state neighboring yours I am looking for it to!
    Merry Christmas
    Jessa

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  20. i too thought ppd as i started reading this post.

    maybe it is, maybe it isn't. maybe you also need to know that most of us don't have it all "together" either. we yell, we threaten, we flail around, we even wrestle stupid supermarket baskets to the ground and lose.

    we also love our children and (shh, don't tell) love our time away from our children.

    be kind to yourself, hon. treat yourself a little. the joke is that if the mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. but the truth is there is a reason flight attendants tell you to put the oxygen mask on first before helping your children. if you are ok, your kids will be ok too.

    didn't mean to write so much. but i wanted you to know that we hear you and feel your agonizing.

    and send hugs anyway.

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  21. Jen, I was sending out an SOS two days ago. You just gotta say, SCREW IT!

    Okay, about the home schooling. I think if you are toying with the idea, you should try it NOW. Get a month of the Learning Box and give it a shot. See if you like it. See how the kids respond to it. The thing I've noticed with doing it for the last year is that although I love it and I'm passionate about doing it, I have no formal education in teaching, so my execution and presentation is somewhat lacking. I know I've gotten better over the last year, but I can definitely see that MY kids respond to an objective teacher better than me. The other thing is that it's a HUGE commitment. Do you know how easy it is to blow it off and eat Twizzlers? (I have no idea what those are, but in theory I could do that.) So that's my advice, TRY IT! It's $50 with shipping for one month and they give you the entire curriculum, all the stuff you need to do for the crafts. Just try it! You may hate it and that will end your debating about it.

    I think once the holidays are over, you will get back to "normal". We are almost there!

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  22. P. S. It really helped us to be LWNINK (Losers With No Income No Kids) before we became LWNINK (Losers With No Income Numerous Kids). But we are burning through cash like a California wildfire, so I feel your pain.

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  23. P S S The kids preschool teacher told me she's never seen kids that get things done as quickly as my children. She said they finish their projects in record time. That's because their AIN'T NO TIME FOR LOLLYGAGGING around here. You get it done and you get done FAST! There's stuff to do! They will be the fastest kids working at McDonald's, I tell you!

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  24. Here is what I do when things get overwhelming at my house...

    3 cups bisquick
    1/2 cup salt
    2 pckgs Koolaid
    1 cup boiling water

    Start with a Big mixing bowl,
    and a couple of kids (each with a spoon), measure out bisquick into the bowl... let them stir, add salt... let them stir, koolaid or another coloring (anything handy koolaide just makes it smell good and is dry so it doesn't color your hands)... let them stir, add 1 cup of hot (boiling) water... your turn to stir (might need another spoon)... When it starts to form a ball knead it on a counter or cutting board for about 5 minutes while you send kids to find some toy cars and dishes to play with in the playdough... (if it's too sticky add a little extra bisquick to it... don't add too much or it will be rock hard the following day)

    Sit down and play with them... knead and mash and cut that playdough, I will sometimes just sit there rolling a ball around in my hands while I watch my daughter and niece play...

    When finished store in a sealed container or ziploc bag

    I did this earlier this week and felt so much better afterwards. This receipe used to use flour but I ran out of flour and used bisquick because it was similar and it makes much nicer playdough. The flour works but I prefer the other. The thing that I LOVE about this receipe is that there is no need to cook it so it's not crusty the first time that you play with it and the kids can help with almost the entire receipe...

    I also understand what you are going through and I say hang in there, all will be better in the new year...

    If you (or anyone reading your blog) needs art/sensory project ideas let me know I spent 3.5 years as a toddler teacher and have tons of things to keep children busy that don't take much prep work and can be either messy or clean depending on your mood.
    When I was teaching and having a day like you are describing the children responded well to 1 of 2 things... art/sensory project or going outside and running it out. With a 1:7 ratio (and typically pottytraining 5 to 7 of them) art was usually the best choice for us...

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  25. Kudos to you for telling it like it really is. I have BEEN there. Just hng on past the holidays and it will calm down. Your kids are so cute!

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  26. I think a lot of what you are feeling is normal with the added stress triplets can bring. Ya know "having children is like being pecked to death by chickens". It is exhausting and tedious.

    HOWEVER, don't sell yourself short. Go see your doc. See if there is something you can take (safely while nursing)to relieve some anxiety & stress. You have your fair share and meds. might help you feel less anxious.

    (((hugs)))tomorrow is another day; a new and better day!

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  27. I have yet to have kids of my own, but I still feel I can relate to you anyway! I'm an overanxious person (my newish blog is devoted to my crazy thought processes, haha), and I understand that feeling of "Why is it so easy for other people?! Why am I the one always freaking out and having trouble?!".

    Having this blog is certainly a great idea, as you wrote at the end of your post, you start to realize that you're not actually nutters, you're just stressed because of the holidays. It's always best to take a moment and write down what's stressing you out; often after writing it out you get that moment of clarity and can understand what's really bothering you. I keep an "anxiety journal" in my dresser drawer, and in moments of true panic I just start writing and I very quickly calm down.

    And you definitely need a little break from the kiddos now and then. Doesn't mean you're not a good mother, or that you don't care about them, but everyone needs that break (not even just from your kids, being with anyone 24/7 would drive anybody up the wall).

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  28. I almost feel like you wrote this post about me! Especially the part where you threw your son's blanket out the door... I once wrapped my son's beloved teddy bear in a bag and stuck it in the trash. Of course, I too felt like the biggest ass while he sat there sobbing. Only I didn't have twizzlers.

    I only have 2 children, they are 13 months apart (the youngest is 2 and a half), and I definitely have days where I feel crazy... Just last week I locked myself in the bathroom and cried, I don't even know why, maybe it was PMS... But I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and you are not crazy!!!!!! As tough as things get you somehow manage to keep a sense of humor, and you seem to be doing a great job with your kids. Every one has "trying" days (them kids can be real patience testers), but you don't seem like you need medication! Maybe a pint of eggnog w/brandy, but definitely no meds.

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  29. Ug, me too to everything. *raises glass of heavily spiked eggnog*

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  30. I wanted to pop on today to wish you and yours a VERY Merry Christmas ... and as I read your post, I can TOTALLY relate.

    I'm getting ready to leave my job (which started out 10 yrs ago as full time, but is now only part time, since having my 5 yr old), so I can stay home once my little on arrives in February. At that point, I'll have 3. 5,3 and newborn. I am so sad to leave work, but also know it's a no brainer - it's what I want to do for our family. But MAN, I'll miss my "days off" (when I'm at work and I can pee by myself, eat what I want, etc!!!)

    I can only imagine the stress that you're feeling right now ... don't be hard on yourself, you have 4 under 4, I have NO IDEA how you do it. I'm struggling w/ a 5 yr old, 3 yr old and HUGE tummy! I hope that things get easier for you after the 1st of the year. I see your cousin says that you have babysitters coming - GET OUT! You deserve it!!

    Oh - And I can TOTALLY relate to being outraged because it takes 10 minutes to do something that should only take 5. I couldn't have described that better myself.
    Anyway - I hope you have a great Christmas. Enjoy - and come back here to vent, because YOU are my therapy ;)

    - Carrie

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  31. I'm glad I'm not the only one rushing around and having everything go wrong for no apparent reason!

    Hang in there!

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  32. Leave the kids with your husband for aan hour and go regroup. That's what I do. I have four kids too. Sometimes I go to the book store, sometimes shopping or sometimes to sit at Chevys and have a margarita all by myself!

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  33. First off, I don't have four under three. I only have one that's 3 1/2 months. And some days I survive only because of the grace of God. Like you, I prayed for this child for 10 years. And I was not prepared for how hard it would be with just ONE! I honestly don't know how you do it. But you are doing it.

    You were called to be the mother of these four blessings and if you weren't, they wouldn't be here with you. Sometimes it's not a matter of getting through the tough times gracefully...just getting through them is the goal. God obviously allowed them in your family because He knew you were the best choice for their mother!

    You're doing a great job Jen! I know you don't know me, but I can't help but be proud of you. :-)

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  34. OMG! I love the DINK to SINK!!!I hear you.....with only 1 kid!:)

    hang in there.....You guys ROCK!

    Merry Christmas!!!!!

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  35. Jen

    Oh man, do I understand--and I only have 2! Though they are pretty close in age. ;)

    The holidays are tough, even on the most perfect families. Don't feel badly and don't beat yourself up. I *LIVE* for bedtime.

    Homeschooling...yup, I have thought about it. Of course, my problem is that I don't think I am smart enough...that and I really do look forward to when they get out of the house daily...without me!!!

    Merry Christmas!

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  36. Jen-
    Thanks for your honesty ... it's yet another reason I enjoy reading your blog!

    While I can't relate to your home life (although I would love to someday) I do know that as a first grade teacher somedays I just don't have "IT", whatever "IT" is that allows me to be the teacher of 20 6 year olds five days a week.

    Nobody is ON all the time, and big decisions impacted by the holidays may just be affecting your "IT".

    Hang in there ... you are doing a great job!

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  37. Sounds like your hormones are doing crazy things!! Just a warning: My docs speculate that I ended up with our triplets spontaneously as a result of a "hiccup" the first time I ovulated after my breastfed singleton began eating table foods... ovaries released 2 eggs, both were fertilized then one split. Releasing 2 eggs is not uncommon, according to them, the first time you ovulate again after a long break. My four are opposite in order from yours- an almost 3 year old singleton and 16 month old triplets.

    Hope you find a solution. Thanks for being so real in your posts... helps to have others to commiserate with, even if it is only through reading blogs. Merry Christmas!!

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  38. I have been thinking about you all day. I was having a tough moment with one of my two year old twins when I took a break to read your blog and it made me realize how happy I was that my kids go to preschool 2 days a week.
    When I first found out about this preschool program I was not ready. I told my husband it sounded like a great program but I was not ready to send my babies away for eight hours a week. As it got closer to registering the kids I spoke to the school director and decided that even if the kids were not ready at 2, they would be ready at two and a half and there would be no room for them, so I sent them. They love school. They love their teacher and they are learning so much. I still take them to the gym once a week, the zoo, park and assorted other places. The time they spend in school allows me to spend some great time with our 1 year old- something I never had with the twins. We attend the gym and a mommy and me class, just the two of us- it is great!
    Now that I am pregnant again I am thrilled that the girls have something to occupy their time where thay are safe and well cared for.
    The time I spend away from the "big girls" gives me more energy to deal with the tantrums and stubborn behavior. You deserve time for you (and for Charlie). I think they have more fun with me after they spend time away from me. Take care of yourself.

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  39. Ok, I shouldn't say this, but you sound pregnant and hormonal.

    Could it be??

    I hope you're feeling better *soon*.

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  40. please...please...please send your kids to preschool a couple (would you be willing to try 3?) mornings a week....one that doesn't require they be potty trained. You will love the time away from them, and they will love the time away from you. Honestly, when 3 year olds bite, it's not that they're being mean or aggressive, it's that they are BORED. Preschool!

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  41. I hope this downward dip in the rollercoaster ride starts to head upward soon. I think we all have these times, but you always have such a descriptive way of describing what you are feeling. Another keepin' it real moment on the blog that I can relate to and thank you for sharing. Makes me feel not so alone after I have had a particularly trying 24 hours!

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  42. I so often feel the way you describe, even with half the kids. I'm sorry it's so hard right now. FWIW, working part time not only pays our mortgage, it keeps me sane. I hope you are able to find some more balance - you deserve it.

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  43. If i were you, I would go out and buy a copy of the book, 1-2-3 Magic. I think I heard it mentioned by someone on your blog comments, and it truly is wonderful.

    I am one day into it and I am proud to say that I loved my kids all day long. Not once did I raise my voice to them, which is unheard of in my house!

    After you do that, take Pam's idea and enroll them in a local preschool. At first I felt guilty about the joy I got out of dropping them off at school three mornings a week, but now, there isn't an ounce of guilt in me! They love being there probably more than I like them being there.
    It's the best $800 a month bill that we get! It's so wonderful, we recently extended their day to full-day!

    In recap: 1-2-3 Magic and Preschool! It's worked for me!

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  44. Jen - thanks for your honesty.I could write what you have and I only have twins.
    I prayed for my babies for years too - no matter how wished for and how much we love them - we are human.My heart goes out to you too.
    All my advice has been offered.{hugs}

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  45. HOnestly- I think what you are feeling is a normal reaction to what you live with every day- with the added stress of the holiday season thrown in for good measure.

    Your life is difficult Jen- you havdle it all with grace and an incredible ability to see the good side of things. You are lovely optimist.
    But I think its too much! Would you ever think of trying to let the kids go to kindergarten just two mornings a week. They may just surprise you and really really enjoy it! Plus you would get some time with just Henry, the chance to maybe have a nap in the day occasionally, or go and meet Charlie for lunch without having to chase children.
    Go on! You can pretend for an hour that you are a parent of a singleton, and have the lovely time that the rest of us with a first singleton had.
    Even if the kindergarten is only for a short time, it will at least give you some breathing space to consider your options. You can't make huge decisions without some quiet time to consider- well you can, but these are obviously issues that require some thought.
    I applaud your honesty, and must say that I have felt just like you this week- breathless, teary, overwhelmed. Come mid January I will be away from my 3 kids for two full days- one spent at work, the second half at work and a well deserved afternoon of child free time (kids with a nanny in my home). I can't wait- but on the other hand, I'm nervous about what to do with that free time! Hopefully will meet my husband for coffee at his work.
    Merry Christmas to you Jenna. I love your blog, but feel breathless with anxiety for you sometimes.
    Rebecca D

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  46. LOL-I know it doesn't seem funny now, but when I read the line about, "See what happens when you don't listen to me", I had to laugh. I have made similar comments to my kids.(Like when my daughter almost ran into a car when she was driving because she wasn't paying attention) Maybe it's not the kindest thing to say, but you do have a valid point.

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  47. Thank you for sharing your experience. This is such a great accounting of what it's like to be a mom and try to get through each day gracefully. I LOVE the part about trying to get the baskets apart at the story -- I can just envision you throwing a fit, and know I would have felt the same way. Not that you have PPD or postpartum anxiety, but if you do I hope you'll visit my blog Postpartum Progress (http://postpartumprogress.typepad.com) for support from women who've gone through it. You would certainly come by it honestly. Triplets! -- You are a FAR better woman than I ...

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  48. Ah fricken men. I only have two, and I feel like this on a daily basis. Especially with the freaking buggies....

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  49. I completely understand. Who would except another mother who's body is betraying her and whose kids are driving her absolutely insane. Someone told me that each kid you add doubles the crazies. So...wow...unimaginable to have triplets and a newborn.

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers. I homeschool our 3 kids and yes somedays I wonder where I left my brain and others I'm in heavaen. Hope you can relate.

    Hugs,
    Tracey Huguley
    www.traceyhuguley.blogspot.com (my journey alongside my children)
    traceylynnhuguley@yahoo.com

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