The level of crazy at home has gone up a whole ‘nother level since baby Jo arrived over three months ago. In case you are unaware, I have two other daughters, both under the age of four, and I am also a stay at home mom with no helper or nanny. With the new baby, I’m nursing round the clock, every three to four hours, on top of all the household chores, toddler activities and graphic design work.
You probably think I’m crazy for getting myself into this but it was a decision my husband and I made from the very start. Aside from the fact that having a maid or yaya is expensive, we are deliberate about being completely hands on and fully present in these early years of our children’s lives.
We do get help from time to time, like a house cleaner who comes in every few weeks and parents who make themselves available to babysit once in a while. We also have our laundry serviced. But we do not get round the clock help at home. Kayo and I do most things together and train our kids to help around the house and do some things by themselves.
It’s not a smooth ride, as expected, and there are moments it gets so difficult, it makes me want to pull my hair out or scream at the top of my lungs in exasperation, specially when the girls decide to act all bratty at the same time or when their frantic cries wake each other up in the middle of the night. Really, it can be unbearable. But during those times, I always remind myself that this is how I chose to do life. And the reasons? I want to watch my children grow as closely as I can. I want to be fully present as they discover the world around them. I want to witness them reach every single milestone. Also, it’s always been a dream of mine to be a mother so I find myself just diving into it. All in.
This lifestyle we’ve chosen for our family is anything but a piece of cake, but I do know I wouldn’t trade it for anything. That’s because I believe its rewards will completely inundate all the hard work, all the stress and, yes, even the sleeplessness. Even today, I see how this has strengthened our relationship as husband and wife like, I imagine, nothing else will.
Summer, my eldest daughter who is three years old, goes up to me sometimes, to say: “Mom, thank you very much. Thank you for making my toy” or “Thank you for playing with me” or, my favorite, “Good job feeding me, Mom!” And those moments just melt my heart and wash all the weariness away! God knows exactly how to keep me going, doesn’t he?
Before giving birth to Jo, I had no clue how I was going to manage and keep a home with three kids. Many ask me the same question. How do I manage? And the truth is, I don’t know. I simply take it one day at a time because every day is different. I have my fair share of fears and doubts which creep in almost on a regular basis, but I can also say that God has increased my confidence and makes His grace available to me all the time. It’s what keeps me together. I just know it. I believe it.
During the Pope’s meeting with families in Manila two weeks ago, he said, “What a gift this would be to society, if every Christian family lived fully its noble vocation!” These words encourage and challenge me in a very personal level because that’s exactly how I see motherhood – a vocation. So to fully live it is to fulfill a noble task that will add more good to the world. Of course I want that!
So I do get tired and I definitely lack in sleep, but despite my wildly unkempt hair and eyes highly defined by the dark circles around them, I can confidently say I’m thankful and happy to be Mom. I’m proud to have three wonderful daughters and I am extremely excited about life! Yes, it has gotten crazier, but in many ways it has also become much more beautiful!
Photos taken by Kayo Cosio during Emma’s second birthday last Dec 1, 2014.