The question I stopped asking myself

Before I had kids, I traveled a lot. My goal was to pack light, walk fast, and take the trip of a lifetime at least every other year, and that’s pretty much what I did. It wasn’t even a question; I assumed that once I was married with kids, we’d take our children on new adventures, maybe even live abroad.

We took our firstborn on a dozen airplanes before he turned two, and I was proud of it. But when our daughter came along, things changed.

We knew two kids would make getting out harder. Many of you have been there. Less expected was the extra challenges we faced with our daughter. Her first year included a nightmare of feeding problems, medical appointments, tests, and eventually a diagnosis of Angelman Syndrome.

Whenever we’d try to go somewhere with both kids, I found myself struggling to remember all the special things we’d need to pack: extra burp cloths, lots of pacifiers, rigged baby gear to keep her from tipping in a shopping cart or high chair. The list grew: spare batteries for her hearing aids, seizure meds, feeding pump, syringes. Forgetting a Wubbanub at home became a near-tragedy. (She literally wouldn’t stay asleep for 5 minutes without one.) And then we had to get her potty-training brother out the door, too.

Once, we got all the way to the entrance of Universal CityWalk, after that marathon walk from the parking garage…only to discover I’d forgotten her bottles. Her pricey, hypoallergenic formula and Dr. Brown’s bottles were the only way she could eat. It was either give up for the day and go home, or find the closest baby store and buy enough supplies to get us through the afternoon. We chose the latter and came back to the park. Her supplies cost more than our dinner at the theme park.

Was it worth it? Probably not. But we did it anyway.

This scenario is a familiar one now. Two hours of work to go somewhere, only to find we forgot a feeding tube extender or misplaced a hearing aid.

So many times I’ve contemplated doing something fun and asked myself: Is this worth it? Is it worth packing up both kids just for an hour at the mall? Is it worth a wrestling match feeding session just to eat at a restaurant? Worth packing up the feeding pump just to get some fresh air? I found the answer was almost always NO. Nope, not worth it. Pretty much ever.

But what good is that question really? Doesn’t it just talk me out of living? Or make me feel worse about an already-gone-wrong day? I started to realize that if I kept making decisions based on whether things were worth it, we would be living on lockdown for a long time.

Now we have a third little one, a preemie-turned-newborn with his own challenges. Leaving the house is definitely a luxury. I spend plenty of time at home in clothing one step up from pajamas.

Doing it anyway

Now I’ve learned to stop asking that awful question: Is it worth it? Nope. But sometimes we just do anyway.

Life hasn’t gone the way we planned over the past couple of years, but it’s not going to continue going how I planned, either. It will always be hard for us to get out. We have to keep living.

One day earlier this week, I spent most of the morning feeling sorry for myself as my husband and I mapped out the week ahead, complete with seven therapy and medical appointments. SEVEN. And this is not uncommon for us.

So we made a plan. That afternoon, we left the doctor’s office, headed east to one of our favorite burger joints out of town and then spent an hour on the beach. It was a ton of work before, during and after, but we did it anyway. It was actually the first time the five of us have been out together, just us, since the littlest one was born. And we needed it.
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I don’t know whether getting out of the house is hard for your family. Maybe you’re a homebody, so going places isn’t even something you need very often. Regardless, we all have things we’ve had to put on hold or give up entirely when our kids came along. I don’t think we have to enjoy every minute of parenting small children, but we’ve got to keep living and seeking moments of fun and togetherness, at least every now and then. No season of life is worth wasting away.

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One Response to The question I stopped asking myself

  1. NJ Mom July 25, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

    Thank you for this great read. I can relate in so many ways. I found this blog while doing my research for moving myself and my 18 month old to FL next Spring. (He will be two by then.)This is how I feel every day… is it worth it? I’m so exhausted and as a Full time Student, Full Time (Single) Mom and all that goes along with it… most times the answer is No. It feels great when the effort is made, despite the challenges.. to get out of the house but gosh… I am SO TIRED. I’m actually hoping that the slower pace of FL from living in the NY/NJ area would be good for us and more in tune with how I feel. I’ll be sure to subscribe to this blog and look out for more of your posts. Have a great day!

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