Some people may think that Andy and I are "lax" parents. Our house isn't a free range farm by any means, although just throwing food on the ground, and letting the kids wander around and pick it up when they are hungry, sounds pretty enticing. It's true that we aren't the strictest parents and that, regularly, there is mutiny on the bounty and we are held hostage by little pirate people. The drill sergeant in our house is 3 feet tall and belts outs commands like, "Get me a drink!", "Turn on Netflix!", or "You will not wash my hair!" while wearing only a pullup, squinting her eyes, and pointing an accusatory finger in our direction. Our kids are often in charge. I'm not going to lie to you. The dog may also be in charge from time to time. That's just the way it goes.
As more and more of our peers have a third child, we are, unfortunately, asked if we, too, plan to expand. Are these people insane in the membrane? Have they been to our house? Have they been witness to me managing one child rolling around the grocery store parking lot while the other rolls away in the cart? The goal is not to be outnumbered. We are 2 v 2 right now. If we were 2 v 3 it is likely that they'd tie us up with their jump ropes and then cut our curtains with kitchen scissors. Wait, haven't they already done that?
I'm not denying that we are borderline in control of our kids. In a perfect world, I am confident that we would be a well-oiled machine. In a perfect world there would be no whining, no tantrums, no bedtimes with out dessert, and no raised voices. We would set out to do something, and we would do it. We'd follow the rules. We'd smile when we are supposed to. We'd sit; we'd heel; we'd lie down; we'd bark on command. In a perfect world my kids would be robots and we'd be someone else.
Unless you are a teenage parent, by the time you have a kid, you're kind of an old dog and we all know you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Having a baby changes everything, or at least it tries to. However, just because you have a kid doesn't mean that you are suddenly going to become a different person. Don't we know this already from marriage? It's not like the day after our wedding Andy became super cuddly with me, or that he started showing up places on time. He certainly didn't become more organized. Just because I had 2 kids doesn't mean that, overnight, I gained the ability to cook really well, manage my time better, and plan some stellar crafts. Just because I had 2 kids doesn't mean that I learned to say no, but I'll tell you that one gets so much easier with time.
Andy and I are lax. Well, we are somewhat lax-there are some rules in this house. Our parenting is an outward extension of our personalities. It's hard to change who you are just because you are a parent. We do change, of course, but it's over time, and it's not that we change completely. We just adapt. Andy and I are also very tired and a bit overwhelmed. We are hanging on by a thread. Thankfully, that thread is pretty resilient and we've been able to hang onto it for 6 and a half years. So, you may see us out in public, sweating and holding back tears while our kids are screaming and hitting each other with lollipops that we shouldn't have bought them but did in an effort to keep them quiet for 5 minutes so we can buy groceries, or go to a doctor's appointment, or buy paint at the hardware store. You should know that we are doing the best that we can. Not the best that you can, or the best that you think we can. We are doing the best that we can and we are ok with that. As a matter of fact, we might even be pretty proud of ourselves. We've been hanging onto that thread for a long while. That makes us pretty strong.