Motherhood gives me whiplash

Justin and Ethan left for basketball practice and Alex was hunkered down doing homework so the girls and I decided to run to Costco to find the necessities we didn’t need. We were cold and bundled up in our hats and cozy coats. We blasted the heat and Taylor Swift to warm up our toes and our souls. My girls, always listening and trying to figure out the world, questioned some of the lyrics to Blank Space. Eva wanted to know if boys really only wanted love if it was torture. Scores of my own mistakes flashed through my head and images of lessons she will have to learn made me cringe. But I gave her an innocuous answer and told her boys like it if you play hard to get. Gigs chimed in telling us, “Of course! No one ever wants anything to be easy.” Ohhhh….how’d she get so wise at only seven? But our little conversation on our under three mile trip forced me to wonder if letting her read books with slightly more mature themes wouldn’t be a bad thing. It’s how we all learn about some things in life, right?

We ran through Costco only spending $58 as I truly never find much of anything I need there. The girls carried on a cute little conversation with the person checking the receipts and helped me carry things to the car. We headed home to devour some brownies and jump in the shower. Life felt pleasant and crisp.

Before we drove a half mile, someone hit someone and the other one retaliated by bopping her in the nose. I started declaring the brownies off limits and things spiraled downhill at record speed. Someone managed to get shower gel in the other’s eye during a shared shower. One yelled at me for yelling at them. We discussed respect with the boys who had been teetering on the edge all day with mischievous deeds and little transgressions and the conversation went so well that 50% of the Farley kids ended up in their rooms twenty minutes before bedtime.

And I was left wondering how things could be so great and then so out-of-control in a matter of minutes on a random Thursday night. The change in emotion and behavior can occur so quickly that I’m left feeling like I have whiplash. But these little and not-so-little people are trying to figure out the world and their place in it and we’re all trying to co-exist in a house with a little brother who is always throwing some kind of round object. There are pleas for attention and cries of injustice all while someone is trying to figure out the mean, mode and median on her math worksheet.

As soon as the last Farley went up to bed, I made my way to the tub to contemplate life and some things I needed to consider for my other job which seems to only get a very little of my time lately, my writing job. I brainstormed and made decisions while realizing the whiplash won’t go away but it’s important for me, for them, to take deep breaths and find moments of solitude in the midst of the chaos. I never imagined having four children and when I knew it was inevitable I couldn’t begin to fathom how boisterous our life would become. While our loud and our crazy is quadrupled, so is our love and the twinkle of eyes.

I think Alex summed it up best in this poem he wrote almost eight years ago right after the twins were born.

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