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This is Life

Every night at 8pm I come out of our bedroom after nursing Jack to sleep. I meet my husband in the dark hallway who has just come up from rocking Exley to sleep. I pull my left breast out of the top of my shirt. I place my left hand on Exley’s back and my right hand under his bottom. My husband places his right hand on Exley’s lower back and his left hand on Exley’s arm. I scoop Exley to my breast. I carry him into our room and lie down next to Jack while Exley nurses for a few minutes. I slip my nipple out of his mouth. I stand up and look back at my 2 little boys sleeping next to each other as I quietly leave the room.

Abby Theuting, The Badass Breastfeeder

A few months after Exley was born I thought back to right after his birth. Our family was in a major transition. Jack struggled with the new addition. I felt vulnerable, I felt distant from Jack, I felt afraid for my family. We all held on tight to each other. There were some really rough days. There were times when I doubted that things could get better. Then one day I was looking back it like it was in the past. I remembered how afraid I was, how everything seemed so scary and big and dark. It didn’t feel like that anymore. Did this mean that we had made it? Did we find our new normal? Were we officially “adjusted” as a family of four?

Lately dinnertime has been the most stressful part of my day. It’s like as soon as the cooking starts some crying and screaming demon comes to possess my children. I got to the point last week when I said, “Fuck this shit! I’m calling off dinner! I’d rather starve than go through this every day!” Yeah, I know, that’s how all the parenting books say to handle it. I saw Jack being triggered by Exley’s mood swings and Exley triggered by Jack’s outbursts. I thought to myself, “We haven’t adjusted to shit. We’re a mess. We’re doing this all wrong and we screwed up our kids.” Then it hit me.

This is life.

Life is a series of transitions and adjustments. Each day brings small ones from moment to moment. Weeks, months and years bring larger ones that map out eras of our lives. Is there really such a thing as adjusted? The choreographed dance that my husband and I have perfected at bedtime is a symbol that we have a foundation. That we have structure, boundaries, love and a vision of what we want for our family. And dinnertime is a reminder that there is no destination. That we never get to stop trying. That there is no perfection. That there is no such thing as “Status: Adjusted.”

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder

Each day I eat breakfast, go for a run, shower, go to the beach, visit the park, eat lunch, lose my shit, read books, deliver 100 snacks and answer 2,000 questions. And in every moment there is a sense that we are going somewhere. That there is a happier place, that there is more, that we are working toward something, that this is good, but not quite enough. At end of the day the dishes are overflowing, the laundry isn’t done, the bills are still on the counter, the guilt lingers. Then it’s nighttime again or I bury the boys at the beach or everyone sits down and eats dinner or we have a water fight or we all lose our breath laughing. And then I realize again that we are not broken. We are not headed anywhere. This is life. This is my life. And it’s beautiful.

Comments

  1. Hi Abby,

    I’ve been a follower and a fan since our 3yo was born. I just wanted to ask: where is your post on the Orlando massacre? It would mean a lot to your LBTQ fans like me (as does the silence – but not in a good way). The LGBTQ community is hurting right now – and hurting again when our larger community is silent on this awful hate crime. Thank you.

    • Hello, I do not have a specific blog post, but I have had several public posts. I am sorry you missed them. I have not been silent, and unfortunately have gotten the opposite feedback as well. :/ My thoughts are with you and the LGBTQ community as always. It is most horrific and I cannot know the depth of fear and sorrow you feel right now. I have watched dear friends struggle and have felt great sadness along with them. Thank you for reaching out. -Abby <3

  2. Kay Hagan-Haller says:

    Abby, I think you figured it out! Days don’t really get better or worse–just different. It seems that once we have parenting figured out, it changes. Keep trusting your instincts and you will be looking back wondering how in the world your children grew up so fast!

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