Way back in my young, single days living in Chicago, I had the most amazing, hilarious co-workers. I used to love going to work because at lunch time, these ladies would make me laugh until my belly hurt. It’s actually crazy to think that our days back in the office together are over 10 years ago. Around the time I moved away from Chicago, my co-worker Chrystal moved to Atlanta. She is married and now has 2 adorable little boys. Thanks to social media, we’ve stayed in touch and I was so excited to see Chrystal started a blog, More Lemonade Please, centered around thriving in spite of the life’s lemons. I love reading her posts, because it reminds me of chatting with her years ago. She’s smart, witty and has an awesome outlook on parenting and life. Chrystal is a corporate writer and has been published in various Atlanta-based magazines. Most recently, her writing was featured on POPSUGAR. I am thrilled to have her guest posting here today! Follow her blog at https://www.
Why I Can’t Afford Any More Children
I can honestly say I was tired for the first six years of being a mom. The lack of sleep with my first son continued right into lack of sleep with my second son. Being tired became apart of my personality. I tired of hearing myself tell others that I was tired. Having two children, who disliked sleep, nearly broke me.
My alarm clock is set to chime Monday-Friday at 5:20 am. I often found myself finally getting a child back to sleep when the alarm would chime, or staring at the clock praying that I could get sufficient rest in the remaining 45 minutes before the alarm would sound. I was doing my best as a functioning zombie to hold it together. Countless people would give me advice on how to get the boys to sleep, I tried it all, to no avail. When I told them of my failed attempts, I know they secretly thought to themselves that there must be something I was doing wrong. I had one who refused to sleep through the night, while the other woke up before the sun rose.
While at work, I spent my lunch breaks researching top books, top gifts, and top learning programs to ensure my children would not be scarred by the fact they have a working mother. When I wasn’t doing that, I worked on graduate school assignments and ensured my work to-do-list was complete, so I could get my children to soccer practice, basketball games, swimming lessons, and everything else you are “supposed” to do with your children.
Yes, I was a little snappy with my family and friends, surely they knew I had a lot going on, they will get over it. This was a phase, at some point in time the light would come to the end of this exhaustion tunnel. I was pushing myself past my limits, because my children needed me, I had a marriage to sustain, I worked full-time, but there is a cost to everything.
One day, while doing my hair, I noticed how thin it felt. My hair was falling out. I took a close look in the mirror and bags were under my eyes. In addition, I now had an acne problem. My years of sleepless nights were taking their toll on me. This was not what I signed up for. I could feel that I was on the brink of losing control, and then it happened….
I woke up one Saturday morning on my own, it was 8am and my house was quiet. My husband snoozed beside me. I slid out of bed and peeked in on my boys, who were still asleep. I was overjoyed. I made it.
It’s funny how just one great night of sleep, felt like years of lack of sleep were erased.
It happened again on Sunday and it continued to happen. Just like that I had sleepers and all was right in the world.
Here I stand, two years later and the bags under my eyes have slowly began to disappear, my hair is slowly growing back after my big chop, and thanks to help from the dermatologist, my skin, while not quite back, is better than it was.
While leaving Target one day, my oldest son turned to me and asked, “Was two kids all you could afford?”
I thought back to how impatient I was for years, my many sleepless nights, the way I felt seeing my hair in my hands instead of on my head, the missed opportunities to be nice to my husband who was only trying to help, and how I almost forgot who I was as I person. “Yes, God told me two was my max.” I replied back.
As much as I love my two children, the price I paid to get to this place of peace is a cost that is now outside of my price range. Two children are all I could afford.
Written By: Chrystal Neely