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This has been a really tough year. We have been challenged in so many ways, and although we’re doing reasonably well (or so I’d like to think), there’s definitely been some ugly moments. It’s not easy balancing two kids and a job and a newly self-employed spouse, along with all the uncertainty in my job, my threadbare mental health and the precariousness of living in Donald Trump’s ‘Murica.

Most of my conversations with my friends involve a LOT of complaining from me, just because it’s often the only time I can complete a sentence without being interrupted by the chattiest 4 year old on the planet. I’m exhausted, as my kids are just terrible at sleeping through the night, and I’m cranky because I’m tired, and I can’t get anything done on my own time.

So, with all that in mind, it’s hard to stay present in the moment, and see these times for what they are. We’re done having children, so there won’t be many more of these sleepless nights after the kids get to be a certain age (or so I tell myself). We will only have our cuddly baby times for so long, because my boys grow big and fast, and soon they’ll outgrow it. What gets me through, always, is the feeling that we’re right where we should be, that two kids is perfect for us, and four makes us a great family unit. We’re adventuring more together, spending more time in each other’s faces, which isn’t always great, but it does bond us together.

The best part of my day is getting home from work and seeing my family. Even (or especially) if they’ve had a rough day. I get frustrated if my son doesn’t get his “green light” (the daycare’s indication of good behavior), but I know if he’s below that, it’s time for some quality time with mommy. It ALWAYS helps. Like, it’s almost scary. I also am grateful for my baby’s ability to be patient JUST long enough for me to do something, like go to the bathroom, before needing my attention. It’s moments like that where I find myself thanking a patient baby, which is weird and nonsensical, but I don’t care. He gets it, and I’m so lucky.

The best thing, though, is how much my boys love each other. I’m astounded at how easily my oldest looks after his baby brother. It’s so wonderful to see the baby’s face light up with attention from his big brother. My heart soars when they chill out together, playing not with, but near each other and more importantly not fighting with each other. It’s not always easy, but now that we’re a foursome, things feel right and I’m holding onto that with everything I can to get me through the rough days.