In some ways, the transition from two kids to three was easier than the transition from one kid to two. (This is, of course, a mathematically sound observation: just think how much easier it is to add 50% more trouble than it is to double the trouble. Mathematical whiz that I am (emphatically not), I hereby cheerfully deduce that if a fourth kid comes along, household chaos will increase by only 25%, and so on down the line. Right? Right-o.)
Yet in other ways, transitioning to three kids has been more difficult for me—maybe because it actually is harder, and maybe because I exert needless hardship upon myself by gazing obsessively into the murky crystal ball of my indeterminate future (Stop it, oh ye silly self of little faith! Stop it right now!).
What I can be sure of is that certain realities (i.e., the still-mourned disappearance of Naptime and the diminishing quantity of Useful or Desirous Things I seem able to accomplish in a day) can no longer be ignored; hence the negotiation of a New Normal hereabouts lately.
My eminent associates have addressed this topic ably and, telling all the truth but telling it slant, poetically. New Normal is something that each woman, each couple, each family, must negotiate. And renegotiate. Frequently. I’m optimistically inclined to think, though, that renegotiating becomes less of a painful wrenching and more of a natural progression, for at least two reasons. 1) Casual appearances to the contrary, underlying structures and foundations are being ever reinforced, and 2) Unless we’re determined to live in angry denial, we must eventually come to terms with the fact that No Normal is in fact the New Normal.
As soon as the wrenching becomes less painful in these parts, I’ll let you know how this hypothesis works out for me ;-)
In the meantime, a number of time-saving, fret-reducing observations: I shall waste no more time in suspecting that (or caring whether) my house is the only one that occasionally, or even frequently or always, showcases crumbs in the silverware drawer, spots in the sink, and fingerprints on the window. Know what? I have been to other people’s houses. Know what else? Even houses with one or two or no children have smudges on the refrigerator door too (gasp!). Know what else? In someone else’s house, this never bothers me a bit, never detracts from hospitality, never lessens my opinion of my hostess. I find a less-than-sterile environment to be enjoyable for reasons other than mere household schadenfreude; I don’t have to freak out if my kids drop a crumb (to say nothing of dropping something more organic and offensive).
Another life-simplifying realization: these kids are my reason (or at least my excuse) for not presenting all comers with House Beautiful. Guess what? It’s these kids that most comers are here to see, and these kids claim all comers’ attention before they even reach the front door. Minding the kids may prevent me from keeping the house, but the kids do a fine job of keeping visitors from minding the house. Sure, if someone sits long enough in my bathroom, he* will notice that the woodwork could use a little attention and there’s some hardwater scale on the spigot. But if someone sits in my bathroom that long, then maybe he has more to be embarrassed about than I do anyway. :D
Can you tell I’ve got company arriving tomorrow? It’s so much more satisfying to blog in a self-justifying manner about the state of the house than to actually do anything about it. . .
But New Normal. Yeah. We’re negotiating. Or navigating. Or something like that.
*I’m using the masculine pronoun here as inclusive of all humankind—you know, old-style grammar and all that. But keeping it real—we all know that a man is unlikely to notice anything of the sort. Hee hee.