I'm the type of person that is always busy. I like feeling productive, so that often results in a full schedule. But lately, it feels like my life is getting pretty quiet. At first, it was so uncomfortable that I could only attribute it to feeling bored (which I still am, kind of) but I've got it figured out. Sure, I'm no longer a work at home mom. Sure, I'm no longer running the moms group at our church. Removing those two things freed up about 10-20 hours of my time each week. And I've since slowed my pace and have learned to fill my time with other things.
But something new occurred to me today: my kids are getting easier. Ryan is independent and maturing, Kaylin is less needy every day, they are discovering a lifelong playmate in each other and have both become very helpful around the house. I'd say now is the perfect time to throw another kid in the mix, wouldn't you?
I can see why people say that having multiple children gets easier as they get older. Even Ryan, weeks away from his 5th birthday, is sliding into a very responsible role in the house. And he's loving it, to boot. A couple of weeks ago, Mike took the time after dinner to show the kids how to properly load the dishwasher. The counters and floors (not to mention everyone's clothes) were soaked, but they were thrilled to help Daddy and were learning a great skill in the meantime.
I took Mike's lead and soon transitioned Ryan's chore of unloading the silverware from the clean dishwasher to unloading the dishes. And Kaylin is now (even though she seems so young!) unloading the silverware with pride. It takes her almost as long as it takes Ryan to unload all of the dishes, which works out perfectly. And they do it with a happy heart, which is key for me. I keep the kid dishes in a low cabinet, so Ryan puts all of their stuff away, plus Tupperware and other low items. Everything else gets stacked onto a dish towel that I put on the counter for him. We've developed quite a little system.
At dinner, Kaylin usually puts the forks on the table, Ryan gets himself and his sister a drink, they both wash and dry their own hands in the bathroom and sit themselves down. Not having to do those extra things while I'm pulling all the food off the stove and putting dishes on the table is such a blessing.
While I'm folding laundry, the kids are now in the habit of grabbing a small stack of their clothes and putting them in the correct drawers in their rooms. (sometimes Kaylin's shirts aren't folded by the time she gets upstairs, but who cares...I don't need my kids to look clean-pressed every day)
Then there's bedtime. "Please go upstairs, put your jammies on and brush your teeth" results in two story-ready kids within 15 minutes. They dawdle, sure, but everyone can dress and undress themselves, Ryan is in charge of toothpaste, they put their dirty clothes in the hamper...I'm telling you, it's a beautiful thing.
I guess I'm starting to see the light at the end of the toddler tunnel. I know, I know...I can hear some of you saying, "You just wait..." (my pet peeve phrase!) I realize that my world will be rocked this fall when I'm shuttling kids to and from school, helping Ryan with homework and welcoming a new baby into my newly sleep-deprived world. But for now...life feels a little easier than it did even a few months ago. And I'm basking in the simplicity of it all!