Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's been a little crazy around here...

I guess craziness is to be expected when there are 4 young kids in a house with the youngest being a newborn! :) Clara is a sweet baby and generally only cries when she's either hungry or needs a diaper change. She's awake in the daytime more every day so now we get to see her beautiful eyes. We all just stare at her and laugh at the funny faces she makes. Even though she is my fourth, I just marvel at how little she is. You really do forget what newborns are like!

Things got much more crazy around here when Eric had to leave town on Monday. He's a consultant engineer and when you're a consultant, you have to take work when you can get it. So, he is in western New York state right now fixing a forging press. I have to say, I wasn't too excited about him leaving for an unspecified amount of time when Clara was only 5 days old. But, thankfully, my mom was able to come into town this week to help me. She's a high school math teacher and missing the first week of the new semester is definitely not ideal. I'm so thankful that she made that sacrifice for me.

But, Mom has to go back today and we still don't know when Eric will be home. Every time I talk to him things change. He thought he would be able to come on Wednesday and then he thought he might come home today for a couple of days and then go back, then he thought he wouldn't be able to come home until next Sunday at the earliest.

I've been trying so hard to be strong and supportive of Eric and understanding of the pressure he is under and how hard it is to balance professional responsibilities with family life. At times I am amazed at what I am able to do and handle (thank you Lord for the graces!) and other times I feel like I'm going to crumble. I dread having to face this next week of lunchboxes, homework, round the clock nursing, laundry, a jealous 2 year old, getting out the door and to school on time and minor catastrophes alone. Without Mom here this week, I don't know how I would have dealt with the broken heater on the van, new bed bug bites (ugh!) or the geyser that erupted in our front yard from a broken water pipe.

I'm constantly reassuring everyone around me that I've got things covered; I can handle it. So many family members want to help, but they can't because of their own life obligations. I don't want them to worry or feel guilty about being unable to help, so I spout words of confidence and self-assurance when inside I really don't know if I can do this.

So, once again I'm asking for prayers. And, if any of you mothers who have to do this parenting-alone-thing often could spare a few words of wisdom or advice, it would be greatly appreciated!


Shannon said...


She is a beauty...

Orit Sutton said...

Hi Colleen,

I'm a singe mum so I know exactly what you're going through! The main thing I'd say really is, try to keep things in perspective: if your children are happy, warm and fed, you're doing just fine :) Who cares what the house looks like or if other jobs fall behind. This is just a phase. Life is always somewhat upside down with a newborn and it sounds like you are doing an amazing job!!! Don't be too hard on yourself, do the essentials and try to get some rest when you can!

Wishing you all the very best to you and your gorgeous family,
How To Be A Happy Single Mother: An Inspirational Guide To Parenting Alone

Lillian said...

Keep things simple. Paper plates, easy meals, EARLY bedtimes, etc.

I also tend to eat out more or treat myself with Starbucks. While the kids are in school take a nap!

Is there a mom's group bringing you meals? Maybe others can help in that way. If not, my sanity savers include Two for Tuesdays at Double Dave's or Free kid meal w/ adult meal at Chik Fil A (also on Tuesday)

My house fluctuates a lot (btwn clean & messy)when Craig is gone. I really rule my chicks with a tighter fist when he's gone so I won't go crazy. They know they have to help out, not tattle so much, do as they're told.

Sometimes in the middle of the week I'll take them out for ice cream if we've had a hard day or an intense cleaning day. Or I'll rent 2 movies, one for them and one for me. Since I'm w/ them all day I need a break and sometimes don't feel like watching a kiddy show.

When I had 4 kids under 6, and Craig was gone, I had a neighbor kid come over for 2 hours on Wednesdays. I would go to Adoration for an hour and then to drink coffee w/ a magazine for the other.

Did I mention early bedtimes? ;-) A must for me and easier to do during the winter. The absolute latest they can stay up when Craig is gone is probably 8:30 but I've been known to have them tucked in by 7:30 and snoring by 8. When they were smaller they had a 7pm bedtime.

If you need to just talk email me and I'll give you my number!

Also, when I feel resentment creeping in I run to confession. Craig has been traveling for 8 yrs and I must not only deal with it, but accept it cheerfully. But I'm human and confess it during those times I struggle.
I'll be praying for you guys!!

Love, Lillian

Colleen said...

Wow, thanks for the fantastic advice and prayers!

Lillian, all your ideas are fantastic! Just what I needed to hear. I'll definitely be putting some of them into practice this week.

And, thanks for the tip of going to confession to deal with the resentment. That boost of grace is probably exactly what I need. This won't be the last time that Eric is away at an inconvenient time, so I, too, need to learn to accept it joyfully.

Ah, the words of understanding from other mothers really soothes my soul!

Blair said...

Oh Colleen, I'll definitely be lifting you in prayer! Definitely set low expectations for the week!

veronica said...

Colleen, please email me your number so I can give you a call..I would love to get in touch with you and at least send you guys a meal..after all, we are neighbors!!

You can reach me at

hope to hear from you soon!

Christine said...

Colleen, I keep trying to think of advice, but I can't think of any. Truly I think it is only grace that gets us through those times. I'm praying for you, that is rough. I'm glad so many other folks had good advice.

Jill said...

Gosh, she is precious!
I had a time like this after the twins were born. It wasn't my fourth baby, but newborn twins and a brand new two-year-old were a tall order as well. Paul's grandmother went in the hospital just days before my boys were born and my mom was working (she, like your's did spend the first week with me). So, there I was with all these babies.... :)
I think I lived minute by minute!
The good news is that looking back now I feel proud of myself for blazing through that time on my own. I feel like I can say, "I did that!"...sometimes more like, "I did that?" :)
I'm patting you on the back now (and praying), and you'll be patting yourself on the back later!
You are doing great!!

Jody said...

Clara is beautiful!!

Prayers for you too!

You are doing a great job! And if you feel like you need to cry just do it. Don't worry about the mess (I know it is easier said then done sometimes). If the kids are clothed and fed that = an A+.