gretchen, kasen, marit

Four Years

You get pregnant.

You immediately head to Pinterest and pin eight million pictures of baby shit.

You get the baby’s room ready.

You get the stroller and the car seat and the high chair and all the other baby stuff.

Everything is coordinating and cute and clean.

You have the baby’s going-home-from-the-hospital outfit, and your overnight bag is all packed.

You’ve got the baby book and the scrap book and about $750 worth of scrapbooking materials.

You have planned out the first three years of your child’s life.

It’s going to be perfect.

Then you have the baby.

For the first couple weeks, things go according to plan.

You have help, your parents are around, your friends offer to help.

The baby wakes you up all night and shits about 459 times a day, but that’s about it.

It’s manageable.

But then she starts moving and picking shit up.

You cannot leave her for a second.

You never knew there were so many goddamn choking hazards.

After gaining mobility, the kid moves onto throwing crap and mass destruction.

That perfect room you decorated is a completely destroyed.

You stop folding clothes and hanging them up because the second you do that, your kid dumps out every drawer and pulls every fucking article of clothing off every hanger in the closet.

The walls are covered with hand prints and other shit (and quite possibly some actual shit).

That super cute high chair and car seat are now crusty petri dishes.

The baby book and scrap book have three really fucking awesome pages in them.

The rest are blank.

That outfit you bought to inspire you to lose that baby weight gets pushed further and further into the back of your closet.

You completely delete the Pinterest bookmark from your computer because all it does at this point is piss you off.

Because you are wondering…

How long does it take?

When do things return to normal?

Actually, forget normal.

When can you even see the light at the end of the tunnel to normal?

When do you get a second to yourself? When does the inclination or energy to take care of yourself, to put on makeup, to take a shower, to wear pants that don’t have an elasticized waistband return?

When can you look at Pinterest again without throwing up in your mouth or wanting to punch yourself in the face repeatedly?

When do you start to feel human again? When will you have time and strength to tackle a project without it being completely destroyed the second you turn your back?

When will the desire to put on makeup and do all that stuff you did before you had kids return?

Honestly?

Um… in about four years.

After the last kid is born.

When the youngest one is four, it changes.

It’s still hard. It will always be hard.

But things turn a corner then.

So if you are finding yourself in that stage where your kid is bobbing for apples in the toilet or drawing  cave art on the walls of the perfectly decorated nursery or whipping Cheerios into every unreachable crevice in your house, or constantly on the verge of  falling, if you can’t get a minute to yourself because you have to shadow your eighteen month old every second of the day because she about to fall down a flight of stairs or jump into the pool or walk straight into the ocean to her death, if your kid is eating dirt and sand by the fist full as soon as you are not close enough to immediately grab him, it will get better.

But it will be a little while.

I know it may not seem like it now, but four years will be there before you know it.

And then there will be much more opportunity for make up and showers and decorating and whatever else you thought you were gonna do when you first saw those two pink lines on a plastic stick.

Until then, give yourself a break.

It’s totally okay to aim for survival rather than perfection.

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