3 Under 4: A Mother’s Fears

I was in the park with my kids a few weeks ago with my husband. He was chasing our rambunctious 22-month old while I was watching our 3.5-year old carefully scale the playground equipment. My hands rested on my growing belly when it suddenly hit me: where will my hands go?

But I only have two hands 

It sounds silly, I know, but in a hormone-induced panic, I came to a quick realization that in less than four months from now, my hands would not be resting on a bump. They would be holding a baby. Or feeding a baby. Or adjusting a tricky carrier wrap with a baby in it. No longer would my hands be assumed free to catch my daughter as she dropped from the monkey bars, or grab my son’s hands before running full speed toward moving vehicles.

“There is no way. I only have two hands.” 

“There is no way. Daycare costs are rising, and three in daycare is more than double my mortgage.”

“There is no way. I do not have the mental capacity to give my all to these kids.”

In recent mornings that is the tornado of getting myself and kids ready for school, I’ve been made aware of my limitations, both physically and mentally.

Perfection is the enemy

I have a husband who is steady in reminding me that these kids are just that, kids. They are exploring, learning, adjusting, just like I am. 

I will not have the cleanest home.

I will not have the most nutritionally balanced meals.

The TV will come on. 

I will make mistakes. 

As long as I strive for perfection in parenthood, I will be disappointed. With every addition to my family, I have gotten a little better at some things, and a little worse at others. But that is what I like to call motherhood. The beautiful, tough journey of motherhood. 

Our children are our best teachers

As I watch my children grow, it’s really fun to see what they are learning. New words, new songs, new mannerisms stem from their little bodies every day. It’s incredible. What I am learning, too, is that as much as they are learning, they are actually doing far more teaching.

My daughter teaches me how to be silly and not to forego laughter for cleanliness.

My son teaches me how to give into sleep when I am exhausted. No one wins when you fight fatigue. 

My baby girl in my belly is already teaching me how to find joy in sacrifice and have daily moments of gratitude. 

I believe that although I may not know how to use all of them just yet, I have been given the tools to learn, adapt, and lean into the challenge of being outnumbered by my kids. It is scary, but the scariest things can also turn into the most exciting.

Jessica Hauerwas
Jessica is a nonprofit leader who loves bopping around Lafayette for the best burgers or bands in town. She is the Executive Director of Downtown Lafayette Unlimited where she runs the day-to-day nonprofit. She and her husband Chris have three littles at home (Jane, Clark, and Louise) where there is lots of giggling and always a cup of coffee brewing. Jessica is passionate about community-building and empowering working mothers. Jessica also volunteers for various organizations, is a member of the Lafayette Re-Entry Coalition, a graduate of Leadership Lafayette, and a survivor of being a mother of three under 4.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here