"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important that appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company ... a church ... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people act in certain ways. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes. "
The importance of having a positive attitude in life cannot be over emphasized.
Especially when you are a parent.
It's the honest truth that sometimes, I am emotionally, mentally and physically drained. And I haven't even gotten out of bed yet.
There are some days, I would give my
As much as we love our children and even after all that we went through to become parents ... the shots, the surgeries, the psychological rollercoaster, the tens of thousands of dollars shelled out over 8+ years ... there are moments in time when we wish the only responsibility we had ... is to take care of ourselves.
One of the biggest adjustments for us, after having been married for 10 years before children, is the giving of ourselves completely each and every day. There is no doubt - the happiness that our children bring to our lives is immeasurable. But so is the amount of work that is required to care for and clean up after them.
During a recent dinner with our triplet group, I sat next to a new mom. She looked exhausted and at one point, leaned over to me and in all seriousness asked "When will it get better??" As I was about to respond, another triplet mom chimed in and said "You think what you're going through now is hard?! Just wait until you have three toddlers that are in to EVERYTHING and are an absolute danger to themselves!"
At first I felt like saying "Ah ha! validation! I'm not alone!!" But when I looked at this new mom and the expression of horror that spread across her face, I felt compelled to say something positive. So I added "It doesn't get easier, per se ... it gets different. You will be a lot more capable of handling the challenges of parenting triplets when your babies are sleeping at night, and that will happen soon. More than that - the JOYS that you get to experience with three babies are exponential."
I must not have been very convincing because she went on to order vodka ... straight up.
On Saturday, we attended church again. After the service, a mother with 3-year old triplets came up to me and said "This sermon [on patience] was so timely. I was at my wits end. I actually called my husband and told him to come home because I couldn't spend another moment alone with 3-3 year olds."
Giving her a stern look I asked "I thought it got easier at three? Someone TOLD me it got easier when they were three!! Can't you reason with them?? Can't you just have them color quietly while you paint your toenails?" Her husband sensed my anguish and chimed in "It doesn't really get easier, per se ... it just gets different..." Before he had a chance to finish, I looked him square in the eye and said "I was born at night - but not last night. You go tell that to someone who doesn't know any better!"
Yesterday, I took down all the baby gates and let the children have free run of the house... moments before I stepped out the door to go to work. I'm good that way.
But I figured since Charlie's Los Angeles triathlon is this coming Sunday, an increase in his aerobic regiment would be welcomed. Besides, maybe we are being too restrictive on our children. Maybe they do need to explore more...
When I called home a couple hours later to see how the kids were doing with their new found freedom, Elizabeth was scaling the bookshelves, Carolyn was standing on the dining room table playing with the chandelier, William was hiding beneath our bed and Charlie's heart rate had been sustained at 180 for the past two hours. I think he'll do just fine this weekend.
As far as I'm concerned - we are at the peak of how challenging raising children can be. If you'd told me last week that THIS week was going to dish out new obstacles I'd never considered (trying to flush the remote control for our television down the toilet; figuring out how to unscrew the child-resistant cap for Maalox; unlocking and opening the backdoor), I wouldn't have believed it. It's nearly impossible to imagine our lives being any more chaotic than they are right now ... but I suspect they will be.
So what it comes down to is ATTITUDE.
At some point, each day, I usually have to remind myself that these moments with my three children are fleeting. They are growing up so fast. Our standards for the immaculate house we once had - have been completely shot. Our standards for the hours upon hours of "me" or "us" time we once had - have been completely shot. In their place are a messy house ... children hanging off our legs ... hugs - kisses - and laughter.
There is little doubt, these are challenging times and TODAY we are at the peak in raising triplets. But these are also the best days of our lives, and from this perspective, the view couldn't be any better.