I write this post for the purpose of encouraging other moms. We have some beautiful, perfect days around here. And then, we have days like this one. Moms, you aren’t alone. This parenting gig is not for the faint of heart!
The days are long, but the years are short.
And when they say that, they actually mean, sometimes, the days last for about a hundred years.
Being a mom is hard work. It’s hard if you have one child or twenty. Nothing makes the job easier, it is always hard. But, it is such GOOD work. However, there are some days where you really have to convince your mommy self that you are doing a good work.
Yesterday, Greg was at work. It seems the crazy days, he is always at work.
The kids woke up from naps and everyone was grumpy. The sun was shining outside, but there were thunder and rain clouds inside our home.
We played all afternoon and then it came time for dinner, and that’s when it all started going downhill. Fast.
When I am in my first trimester, I usually lose about ten pounds or so because I don’t want to eat anything. Everything I normally love to eat sounds horrible and cooking is even worse. So, after making food for my children, which is quite a feat in itself; everyone was agitated with everyone else. I could tell that bedtime really needed to be early today.
Gracie was in the middle of telling me some horrible thing Levi had done (I think he had licked his food), and I was grabbing some milk for Benjamin. Just as I pulled the gallon of milk out, a milkshake from Chic fil A bounced off it’s perch, on a peanut butter jar, and splattered all over the fridge and the kitchen. So, with sticky strawberry sludge and an endless barrage of questions, I tried to pour milk for my Ben and somehow ended up spilling it over the stove. Needless to say, the food was cold by the time I finally sat down to eat.
My children all have clean up jobs, this time it was Gracie’s job to clear the table. Even though she has been warned against doing it, she loaded up her arms with things to carry from the table to the kitchen. Her arms were overloaded. Which resulted in a large mason jar shattering all over the kitchen floor. The same kitchen floor that had just been cleaned of pink strawberry sludge. It wasn’t the easy break, either. You know, the kind where you can just pick up the big pieces and it’s all good? No, this time, there were tiny fragments embedded in my floor.
Was it bedtime yet? This mama was tired and running on fumes.
After clean up, it was time for bedtime snuggles and prayers. However, tonight, no one wanted to snuggle. They all wanted to be wild and crazy. Imagine that.
I let Benjamin stay up, so I could spend some quality time with him. I was delighted to hear that it was pretty quiet in Gracie and Levi’s room. I figured there were so exhausted, they had both just fallen asleep. All of a sudden, there came a horrible crying. I knew Levi had been hurt. So I ran in there to see what was going on. Grace just ‘happened’ to throw an abacus at Levi’s head. Apparently, an abacus isn’t only useful for math.
After some consoling, and lots of teaching conversation, I was headed for the door and Levi told me he needed a diaper change. He had poopy. You see, Levi is to that age where he is very aware of his bathrooming. He is just about potty trained, except at night. He knows that if he gets his diaper changed, he gets to be out of bed for a bit. Often times, he gets to go sit on the potty. So, it’s a game. I let him go in the potty, changed him and put him back to bed.
Then, it was time for Benjamin to go to bed. I came out to find that he had opened the dryer and touched the ‘fire’, as he calls it. Which is really just the hot part at the back of the dryer, and had burned himself. He grabbed some ice and was currently making designs with it on the couch. There was a huge puddle on the couch where the ice had melted. Off to bed for him, which resulted in an angry little guy. While he was busy being angry, Levi started calling for me that he had poopy again.
I put Benjamin to bed and went to repeat the same bathroom process with Levi, except this time, I left him on there for a bit longer. Keep in mind, both times, there was only a little rabbit pellet in the diaper.
After putting Levi back in bed, I could hear that Benjamin’s fussing had awakened his baby brother. So I had to go calm Stephen down and put him back to sleep, while at the same time, hearing Gracie yelling from her room.
At this point, I had started crying out to God out loud. “Okay, Lord, there is just NO WAY I can keep this up. I am desperate for your help!” Lots of prayers that had the word “HELP” in them.
I went into Gracie’s room, she was tired and emotional and just needed some snuggles. As we were snuggling, I heard Benjamin fussing in the other room. It didn’t sound bad, so I decided to finish with Gracie and then check on Benjamin. I prayed aloud with Gracie and we talked. I told her that I knew I was not being a good mom, but I was overwhelmed and had reached my max. I had nothing more to give. I tried to use this time to point her to Christ and remind her that He is perfect. “Sweetheart, I am a sinner and I will make tons of mistakes, but there is a Father who can love you perfectly and will never mess up.” She knew I was talking about God, but added, “Well, Daddy does a pretty good job, too. He doesn’t mess up as much as you do.”
I think I agree with her on that one.
I finally made my way into Benjamin’s room, where he was sitting on his bed fussing.
“What’s going on, baby?” I asked him.
“Mommy, I stuck a piece of carpet up my nose and I can’t get it out.” he responded, full of trust that I could rescue him.
I didn’t have that same trust in myself.
I called my sister in law – the nurse – but my phone went black. Just completely stopped working. Wouldn’t turn on, wouldn’t even show signs of life. It was just me and the carpet piece.
Keep in mind that I have NOTHING LEFT! The day has drained all that I have!
So, in we go to the bathroom to see if we can spot the carpet in the cavern of his nose. I shined the flashlight up there and saw a tiny piece, wayyyyyy up. I looked to be practically stuck in his brain. I told him to blow his nose out.
“I don’t know how.” he responded through little tears.
“Okay buddy, you just grab a big breath in your mouth and then push it out your nose.”
Immediately, he took a big breath in through HIS NOSE!
Oh no! I thought, that carpet piece is going to get lodged into his brain for sure now.
After about five minutes of practice, he finally learned to blow. He blew and he blew and he blew that carpet out. Actually, he didn’t blow it all the way out. He just blew it enough where I could grab it with the tweezers.
Finally, that nasty thing came out and the little man was all better. Meanwhile, in the other bedroom, Levi was calling for me to change his diaper – again. After putting Benjamin in bed, I went into Levi’s room at the same time that what he was saying registered.
“Poopy in the bed. Poopy on my hand.”
How right he was. Since I was taking care of Benjamin, he decided to take matters into his own hands. Literally. Gone were the rabbit pellets, replaced by material that Levi could ‘paint’ with. One bath and change later, he was back in bed and ready to sleep.
One more time of kissing all the babies and telling them I loved them and I was finally able to fall into my own bed for the night.
I was feeling pretty awful by the time I got to talk to Greg. I told him the whole story, including the parts where I exasperatedly told my children that I was running on fumes. He laughed and encouraged me. Somehow, he made it seem like just another typical day around here, rather than how I felt – that it was the worst day EVER!
I drifted off to sleep that night, praying for strength. Praying for the Lord to love these children in spite of me. Asking for help to love them well.
A few hours later, my door slowly opened, waking me up. In walked little Levi. He came over and stood next to my bed, holding his favorite stuffed animal. I noticed the clock above his head read one in the morning. None of my children usually get up at night. I put them to bed in the evening and don’t see them again until it’s morning. So, this was an unusual occurrence.
“Levi, baby? What do you need?” I asked him.
He just looked at me.
“Sweetheart, I love you. It’s time to go back to bed.” I whispered as I kissed him on his forehead.
He turned, fussing just a bit as he walked back to his room. I heard him settle into his bed and knew he was back asleep
I let out a long sigh. The day was over, I had a few more hours of rest until it was time to start again. I turned and covered myself up and started drifting back to sleep. All was quiet and peaceful.
Until I heard the dog throw up.