I’m going to tell you what my husband told me.
I’m going to tell you because maybe you were freaking out just like I was the other night.
Maybe you are settling into this whole having a baby thing, and have just enough strength in you to look around and see – really see – all of the undone chores around the house.
Maybe you are getting tired of washing one spoon at a time as needed for each morning’s cereal, because all of the silverware is dirty in the sink.
Maybe you are picking the next days clothes out of the laundry basket, smelling it, and deciding that it still good.
Maybe your lunch consists of a tortilla wrapped over some olives and a piece of string cheese, because that’s all there is in the house, and you don’t know how you’re going to take the baby grocery shopping.
Maybe, because you ran out of bread, you made a batch of cornbread. Bread is bread, right? But finding halfway through the recipe that you only have 1 teaspoon of baking powder left, you substituted the other three with baking soda. And it turned out goopy in the middle, crispy on the outside, and tasting like salty metal.
Maybe your car smells mysteriously like dirty diapers, even though you can’t find one stuck between the seats anywhere.
Maybe you just don’t see how this can keep going on. How this kind of life could be sustainable. Then you would be just like me: crying big drippy in tears about all of the above. So, my husband lovingly sat me down in the kitchen, looked me in the eye, and told me the truth.
He said, “Our needs are not met right now. And that’s just how it is. Someday we will be able to meet all of our needs, and we will have extra time after that left over.” At this point I squinted at him. I guess he sensed my suspicion, but he continued. “We will have hanging plants around our house. We will have a beautiful vegetable garden, and a menagerie of pets to tend and nurturer. We will have beautiful meals, and more than enough to share with other people, our friends and our family. We will be able to give to those in need. We will go shopping for new clothes and look sharp everywhere we go. We will have time to write letters and shop for presents. We will have time to fold our laundry. We will have time to start and finish all the little projects around our house. And all the big projects and improvements that we have dreams of around the property.
But now it’s not that time. For just a short while, as the baby is still small, we simply don’t have enough of many things. And that’s OK. It just is what it is. There is no valuation judgments. You are not a bad person. You have not failed at life. The fact that you are still trying, and that you still intend to try – when things don’t go the way you want, when you don’t have enough – that’s when you are winning. Because winning only happens when you’re trying. That’s why I congratulate the girls when they fall down and get hurt. Because I see that they are trying. I see that they are engaging in life, and I want to reinforce that kind of engagement, and that kind of familiarity with failure. Because every time that we fail, we are statistically closer to success. So the best idea is to pick ourselves up and keep trying again.”
All at once I felt stunned and soothed.
Perspective will do that to you.
I slept better that night.
And in the morning, sitting with this new quiet in my heart, I thought two things:
One: that my husband is amazing.
And two: that you might want to hear it too. Because maybe you’re a total boss at this new-third-baby-business. But maybe you’re a normal mess like me, trying to scrape life together and grateful for every bit of cheering-on you can get.