For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn? – Pride and Prejudice

Last week was our first week of school – and I received an alarming glimpse of what our year is going to look like.

Here’s what I had imagined our year would look like:

 Hailey and Zach will be attending the same school. They’ll take a bus so I don’t have to worry about drop off and pick up – just a leisurely stroll to the bus stop. Zach is in Kindergarten which is only half-day in Alberta – meaning special one-on-one time with Zach before he leaves for school. My afternoon will be spent having special time with the babies, while preparing dinner and catching up on housework. We’ll let Hailey stay up an extra half-hour in the evening for her own special one-on-one time before bed.

Our year in “reality”: 

3 times a day I am loading the babies into and out of their stroller. That’s 3. In other words, buckling each of them into their stroller 3 times (that’s 6), and then unbuckling each of them out of their stroller 3 times (another 6).

On top of that – we woke up this morning to this strange white stuff on the ground outside… Snow, you say? No way.. can’t be… it’s only September 8th! It’s still technically summer! It CAN’T be.. ok. It is. It’s snow. On the ground. I guess I forgot we live in Canada – and that leisurely stroll to the bus stop will be more like a battle against the elements, never knowing what we will be up against each morning.

My one-on-one time with Zach looks more like – me falling asleep on the couch while Zach watches an episode of “Super Why”. My special time with the babies looks  more like – me trying to get them both to sleep, so that I can sleep. And my one-on-one time with Hailey looks more like – me trying NOT to fall asleep as she reads to me.

Maybe I’m overreacting. We did buy these fantastic top-of-the-line car seats that buckle and unbuckle like a dream, along with an unbelievably beautiful stroller that just begs to be walked… plus – I could use the cardio. And sleep? We are entering into what I’ve discovered to be the “4-month sleep regression”, meaning – sleep will only get better, our routine will only get easier… right?

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn? – Pride and Prejudice

Let’s face it. I’ve become the “sport” for my neighbours. Maybe this shouldn’t be news to me, maybe I always have been, but at least it’s being made official. Last week while I was walking home from the bus stop with my 4 children in tow, I was stopped by a lady. She was very pleasant and sweet, full of conversation and just happened to ask if I ran a home daycare. I smiled and let her know that in fact, they are all mine. She patted me on the shoulder and continued on her way.

It really bothered me. REALLY. Which was probably an even BIGGER realization for me. Why did it bother me so much? Why was I so worried? Why did I care what this woman thought or what anyone thinks? Why is being the “sport” for my neighbours something undesirable?

I think this is something that I’ve been struggling with for a long time. When I was pregnant with Hailey, I was in my second year of university. I felt so uncomfortable walking through the halls, but completely in love behind closed doors. Does that make sense? The beauty of university is that you encounter people from all walks of life. Then once I had her and Zach, it was my last name. I didn’t like that my last name was different from my childrens. Does THAT make sense? Having a different last name than my children doesn’t make me any less their mother. Even more – I remember after having the twins, feeling nervous when our landlord was coming over to meet them, afraid that for some reason she would feel this place is too small for 4 children and would ask us to leave. How insane is that?

Do I judge those who have different last names than their children? Absolutely not. What about those who choose to have one child? Or seven? Or 19? I am undoubtedly one of the Duggars biggest fans. And do I size up other people’s homes – wondering if their family fits the square footage? Absurd! So why do I feel like I am being judged for MY choices?

I realize now – the only reason I am the “sport” for my neighbours, is because I let myself be… it all boils down to self-confidence. I need to be confident in that this is my family, these are my circumstances. When it comes down to it, would I change anything? No. I am so thankful for how my life has “happened”. I am truly the luckiest girl in the world.

Now it’s time for me to act like it. What a wake up call! I need to be comfortable and confident – not just for me, but for the 4 sets of eyes watching me. Whether we live in a shoebox or a mansion, I want my children to grow up feeling free to be themselves and act like it – without worrying about who’s watching. And the only way I know how to get them there – is by showing them, through my example.

Challenge of my life? I would say… But challenge = accepted!

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