Occasionally I like to serve breakfast food for supper. Oh, I know it’s not the most healthy, low-fat, low-carb, or low-sodium meal, but it’s yummy enough to make me compromise that for one night. So a few years ago I asked Santa for a waffle-maker for Christmas. That and a large blender. Yeah, I’m a pretty practical kind of girl. Any gift that will make my life easier on a daily basis is just fine with me.
I imagined fluffy waffles smothered in butter, syrup, fruit, nuts, whipped cream….. Reality was something quite different. You see I have 5 kids who at that time were quite small. The picture below was taken around that time.
Reality was that I cooked the waffles, I buttered the waffles, I put syrup on the waffles, and I cut the waffles. For 6 people. For at least one of the children I even placed the waffles in the mouth. Then I cleaned up all the spots where syrupy hands had left sticky mess all around from touching things. This was not fun. So I learned that waffles were not for that stage of our family.
Several other things were also discovered at about the same time. We quit going to buffet restaurants because at a buffet, I became the waitress. Well, between taking children to the bathroom, I was the waitress. I could hardly get a bite in my mouth for all the “can I have some more of this” and “I’m done, can I have dessert now?” It would have been easier for me to cook a dinner than to do that.
I did my grocery shopping online. Have you ever tried to go grocery shopping with 5 small children? IMPOSSIBLE! At the time there was actually a store that did home delivery. I got my money’s worth out of that small fee they charged. But it also meant that there were weeks when I only left the house for church.
My husband was at that time (and with my blessing) working a full-time job pastoring our church, teaching part-time as an adjunct professor at a seminary in St. Louis (we live on the East Coast, by the way, so that required some traveling), and earning his PhD. We agreed at the beginning that we would do the traditional roles, with me being a full-time mom and homemaker and him bringing home the bacon, so to speak. So he definitely carried his weight, more than his weight actually, but it was just different from the weight I was carrying. When he was home I wanted it be positive time for the family, not him helping me with the things I had agreed to handle, though he sometimes did that anyway.
He still pastors and teaches, but the PhD is done. Two children are now old enough to babysit the others, so I can go out for a few hours alone. We have 2 cars now, and we can actually use them due to the babysitting teenagers. I regularly run errands, go out for a lunch alone, or have a lunch with friends. Hubby and I can spend a day out together without planning it a month ahead of time.
We both look back on that phase of life and say, “What were we thinking?”
He was thinking that to reach our goals he needed to get that “Dr” in front of his name. I was thinking that I loved having babies, and I asked for each of the 5 children.
That time was hectic but rewarding. I don’t get near as many cuddles and snuggles now-a-days. The joy of discovery is waning. Pots and pans or an empty box are no longer acceptable toys. The kids’ clothes aren’t nearly as cute as they used to be.
Each stage of life and raising children has good points and bad. Each coin has two sides. I try to look at the positives of whatever stage I am in. Those hectic tiring times taught me an immense amount. I learned to work, and keep working, even with little sleep. I learned that I can function, even with a migraine. I learned that I can do WAY more than I thought I could do. I learned that there are things more important than my comfort or free time or a spotless house or perfectly done hair. Those are lessons I wouldn’t trade for anything, for they have made me the confident woman that I am today. They taught me to prioritize, manage time, and focus on what REALLY matters.
So yesterday when I decided to cook breakfast for supper and pulled out the waffle-maker that my children didn’t even know I had, I was a little excited. At the dinner table I only had to cut one child’s waffle, and I was able to make her pieces larger than a pea. The kids even cleaned their plates and put them in the dishwasher, which 2 children later emptied after they were clean. I haven’t found any sticky spots around the house today. It is wonderful!
But we’re in a different stage now. If I could just get the kids to not argue about who gets to make the waffles…