**Originally published on Twiddling My Thumbs**
It won’t be like this forever. Facebook showed me a “memory” from four years ago with my three little boys on my lap. At the time they were had just turned six, almost four and six weeks. Looking back I love how sweet, cute and little they are. I’m sure when the picture was taken I was exhausted. All three of them were not sleeping regularly through the night. My youngest was growing like crazy and woke up crying to eat ALL THE TIME. I’m sure I was overdue for a shower.
Right around this time I remember bumping into a fellow mom at a coffee shop. The baby was cranky. Middle was being a typical middle child and making sure he got more than his fair share of attention…God forbid we forget about him! When Stephanie walked in I’m certain she saw I was near tears. She was so sweet to sit down with me and simply say, “It won’t be like this forever.”
Stephanie also had three kiddos, but her youngest was the age of my middle. She told me that I just had to survive another couple years. “I know it’s hard to believe, but in a few years the diapers will be done. They will dress and feed themselves. Hang in there. I remember being there and never thinking I’d ever survive. Look at me and know you’ll make it through this phase.”
Over the course of the next few months I learned more tidbits about her. Her husband traveled more than mine, but she survived. She was an IT person but had changed careers and was now loved working for a yoga company. She was showered at preschool drop-off. She had time for herself. She seemed to smile a lot.
Hmm…maybe I will make it. It was the first time I saw the sunlight peaking through the clouds of motherhood. Instead of cussing my decision to have a third child when I’d finally gotten everyone out of diapers, I was realizing that I’d made it through once before. I could do it again.
One day at the pool this summer all three kiddos were playing with their friends. I was sitting on the side enjoying the sunshine and watching the joy of summer on their faces. I haven’t seen Stephanie for almost three years but I still think of her. She may not even remember it, but she gave me a lifeline. Right now I’m (again) sitting in a coffee shop. All three of my boys are up the street at school (5th & 3rd grade, plus preschool) and I’m ALONE! It’s amazing.
So, hang in there. You may be busy potty training, comforting a teething baby or negotiating with a three-year-old dictator…remember you’ll get through it. When you realize you have, go to a coffee shop and drink a cup to celebrate!
Heather Guess Kemp is a writer living in the beautiful Colorado Rockies with her husband, three sons, a couple dogs and a cat…if the coyotes don’t get him. Check out her blog Twiddling My Thumbs. Her articles have been featured on Colorado Moms, Hashtag Life With Boys, Holl and Lane Magazine, in ELIFE Magazine and on the site Mommy Drinks Wine and Swears where she is also a contributing editor.