It’s been quite a week.
“I need a break.”
That was the one thought running through my mind over and over this week. That was the one thing that has escaped my tired lips the most during the past few days. All I could think about Wednesday morning as I hurried around the house, trying to find my gym sneaker (yes, just one shoe) was that I was shot, and I needed a break. I was overwhelmed with all of the things that I saw.
Dirty clothes piled high in the hallway.
A diaper pail full to the brim with diapers.
Toys piled on top of one another.
Toys in my kitchen.
Toys pretty much everywhere.
A bathroom floor covered in towels.
Dishes spilling out of the sink.
Two children, screaming and throwing a tantrum, wanting to be held, answered, talked to, fed and played with.
So what did I do? You mean what would any resourceful, responsible, mature, loving and reasonable young mother do?
I cried. Boy, did I cry.
My attitude lately hasn’t been the healthiest one. I’ve allowed myself to reach a place where the tiniest things set me off. Little things that inconvenience and irritate me. You may think that it would be perfectly reasonable to be upset over silly little things like this, but when you’re a mother with two children pitter pattering around you all day, most of what you will have to be frustrated over are little things. Stepping on toys, a dirty dining room table, bathwater on the floor. Little things that don’t amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of things, little things that can drive a mom up a wall.
This week I have wondered, where do they stop and where does Ashley begin? I can’t sneak off to the bathroom by myself for a moment, let alone enjoy a cup of coffee uninterrupted. Unless, of course, there is Mickey Mouse on the television. Then I’m good for about 20 minutes, if that. Not just that, but most of what I think about are them.
Is this you, too?
Do you know where your children’s shoes are, but couldn’t say off of the top of your head where your own shoes are??
Do you brush their hair every morning like clockwork, but forget to brush your’s before you leave the house?
Do you realize at 3 p.m. after they are fed and down for their naps that you haven’t had lunch yet?
Do you get them ready and out the door and realize getting into the car that you still have a bath towel on your head? (I have done this before.)
Does your “down-time” consist of sitting on the sofa and folding laundry or of picking up toys in that corner of the living room?
Do they get a bath everyday, but you have to carve out and fight for the time to get a 10 minute shower?
Does everyone else have clean underwear but you?
Is this you, mom? Do you feel right now like you’re trying to stay afloat. You are in the midst of a sea of dirty diapers, toys, little shoes, laundry, dishes, temper tantrums, cartoon reruns and you feel like you’re engulfed? How do you stay afloat when all that they want is you, just you. 24/7?
The answer I have for you is…I don’t know.
Does anyone notice that the dishes are done and that they have a clean cereal bowl to eat from in the morning? I’m not sure.
Does anyone notice that they always have clean socks in their top drawer? No.
Does anyone notice that the library books are returned on time? Nope.
Does anyone notice that mommy sneaks away for 2 minutes to the bathroom? You bet your you-know-what that they will.
We celebrate landing on Mars, not grocery shopping. We celebrate gold medals, not games of peek-a-boo. We celebrate movie stars, not moms in motion. But here is the truth: no one gets here (or there or even Mars) without mom. Moms are a necessity. Moms are made of sweat, blood, tears, laughs and hand-holdings. I don’t have the answer on how to never let yourself get frustrated. I don’t know how to avoid the days where you won’t want to get out of bed. I don’t know how to always keep my cool. But I do know that the more that I embrace where I am, where I am content with my lot and where I let myself be a mother, it is there that I am the most joyful.
When I mother intentionally, when I parent without abandon and try to not worry as much about the other stuff, that is when I flourish. When I welcome those hurried footsteps that seek me out in the bathroom. When I am glad that there are toys all over my kitchen because my children follow me all day. When I can be happy with myself for having put away laundry and washed dishes. If I can rest there, in the things that I can do, then I’ll be doing OK.
Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t get done. Don’t be worried if your hair isn’t brushed. Do try to get a shower if you can, if only because it makes you feel better. But don’t be concerned with the “how will I get all of this done” stuff. In 20 years, no one will know that on Friday, August 23rd in 2012 you didn’t do the dishes. They won’t know that next Tuesday you won’t fold the laundry. They will never know that you forgot milk at the grocery store last week. In 20 years, if your children are grown, flourishing, loving God and loving others, that is what people will take notice of. In fact, well behaved and joyful children even at the supermarket is what brings a smile to people’s faces. Your children may not rise up and call you blessed now, but speaking as someone who looks back now on the things that her mother did then, I can say that I have a heart of gratitude to her for all that she did years ago.
I pray that you find time to rest this weekend. And I pray that you find the time to enjoy your babies this weekend. I pray you also get some time to be yourself.