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Motherhood: The best kind of exhausted

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Why do parents feel overwhelmed and exhausted? Surely it doesn’t solely come from the lack of sleep, because at some point sleep becomes pretty regular again. (Moms of littles, I promise you there is a light at the end of the tunnel!) On the days before kids you never knew a tired like this.

You know why you’re tired? It’s because you answer questions all day long. I have a very inquisitive seven year old and I know this very well. She is also on a medication that disrupts her short term memory, so a lot of the questions are the same. That’s why I’m tired.

You know why you’re tired? It’s because you listen to the same kids songs over and over again and you swear it steals a piece of your soul each time it plays. That’s why you’re tired.

You know why you’re tired? Because you wiped the table and swept the floor three times today. You know you’re going to be eating in the same place in a few hours and you know the definition of insanity is to do the same things over again expecting different results and that causes you to spend your time wondering if you fit that description. That’s why you’re tired.

You know why you’re tired? Because you can only read the same book or play the same game so many times per day before you want to chuck the whole thing out the window. That’s why you’re tired.

You know why you’re tired? Because you simply thought about what your afternoon errands are going to look like with a few little shadows in tow. You know the work it’s going to be to load up, then unbuckle, go in, keep them within eyesight, do your task, corral them out, buckle again. And then you think about how you can’t even go through the drive thru for your favorite afternoon drink because little voices in the back will cheer to see you driving to that establishment and they will request their favorite sugary drink and you will oblige so you don’t have to hear their sadness. And then you mentally brace yourself for the sugar crash to come. And you decide you are not going to do your errands after all. And after all of that thought process…. that’s why you’re tired.

You know why you’re tired? Because you gave it your all. All day long. Kids don’t just siphon energy out of you. For the most part you choose where you expel your energy.

You are tired at the end of the day – or even in the middle of the day – because you have chosen to give everything you have to your kids. You have chosen to answer their questions and kiss their owies. You have chosen to re-do the Barbie’s hair for the umpteeth time today. You have chosen to make them meals instead of stopping on your way home. You have chosen to get out the paints or the play doh while you occupy the littlest one. You have chosen to take them for a morning at the splash park or the library.

You chose to go the extra mile to help them with their school project or make them a snack instead of asking them to get it themselves.

You chose to help them put their shoes on because they wanted to wear the pair they can’t put on by themselves. You look in those eyes and you know that this particular pair of shoes means so much. You know they have a lot less to think about in life and that makes choosing a pair of shoes pretty high on the priority list.

Honestly some of the exhaustion comes from self control. There are times when you want to yell because they are fighting, but instead you calmly guide them by the hand to the piano bench to talk about the situation and their feelings. There are times when you want to snap at them because you saw the first dozen fancy somersaults they did and you don’t want to look away from the stove one more time. But you resist. Even all that pent up energy you didn’t exert can be draining.

At the end of the day you are tired because you chose to give time and energy to your kids and maybe didn’t leave enough for yourself.

AND THAT’S OKAY.

You chose the right place to give that time and energy. Give yourself some grace. Remember that some of those good-kind-of-exhausted days are so worth it. If you ask your kids if they were glad you created the butterfly out of the graham cracker and strawberries for snack, I bet they would say yes. If you ask your kids if they were glad you put your book down and played in the water with them (without sighing – and bonus points if you got your head wet!) they would enthusiastically agree.

So the next time you don’t want to move off the couch at the end of the day, just know you chose to give your energy elsewhere – to the right place even – and that’s okay. In fact it’s more than okay.

It is good.

Enjoy, Mama. Red heart

Motherhood: When you give a woman some children… part 3

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This occurred last summer. The kids were recently-turned 6, recently-turned 3 and about 4 months old.

Some of these days of my life I should refer to as “Ava days”… On this particular day, I woke up and I wasn’t ready to face the day because I woke up to two bickering sisters.

We had a heck of a time getting out the door to the water park that morning the way it was. It took an extra long time to get everyone dressed and ready. As we were walking out the door I said to the girls “Go ahead and go out the door so Bella (our cat) doesn’t run out.” And they walked around the table the other way and she escaped. We got her back in the house and left. Once there, everything went pretty well. Once we finished up, both girls had to go to the bathroom before we headed home. They each went into one of the single person bathrooms as I was buckling Ollie into his seat just across the patio. Once Ava was done, I looked up and she was standing beside me. I didn’t really pay attention to her because I was busy buckling her brother. When I finished, I looked over at her and her whole swimsuit was at her knees!! She couldn’t pull it up after she went to the bathroom, so she walked across the patio area with her buns hanging out! I pulled her suit up as quickly as I could!

As we left there, she fell down in the parking lot. We had to pause life and put on a Band-Aid. It was the wrong kind of Band-Aid of course, she wasn’t sure she could walk after falling down, you know the drill. It was probably the biggest catastrophe on the face of the earth. And if you know her, you know her cry is LOUD. I could only imagine how many other moms who were able to hear her even over the rushing water at the splash park.

We got home and had lunch. It was a mess because Oliver was crying the whole time because his diaper had leaked and he was hungry. So he cried while I got the girls settled with lunch because they were hungry from playing in the water and sun. It was a chaotic several minutes. Ava helped herself to the ketchup in that time. She was so proud of the “caterpillar” she made out of ketchup. It was huge and she had way too much. I told her I liked it, but next time she could try to make a smaller one. She reached over it to get her drink and got ketchup all over the whole front of her white swimsuit cover. As I was trying to tell here her that she was getting her cover dirty, she looked down at it and also got her hair in the ketchup! Of course after we survived lunch, I finally sat down and ate cold food, ya know.

After the lunch fiasco, I was downstairs doing laundry. I came up and saw Ava’s root beer cup spilled all over my new table. All over the floor and it splashed up on the new white chairs and white table legs. There was a towel on the floor that had been used in a small attempt to clean up the root beer. So that was a mess for me to clean up so there wouldn’t be sticky brown residue everywhere.

Later I discovered she had taken the root beer cup into her room after she filled it with water. Of course she isn’t supposed to do that and of course Adelynn knocked it over! I think that day my laundry was full of wet rags used on cleaning up drink spills… and one white, ketchup-covered, swim cover.

On this day, Ollie pooped twice. So the second time was about 5 minutes after I changed the first one. Because of course. I got the girls some snacks and then I went to change the second diaper. I finished changing him and when I went to sit back down with him, my snack had disappeared! Ugh. Ava. So I decided I would get another snack after I fed Ollie. I got settled on the couch and started looking for his bottle and couldn’t find it. I know it was just right here! I was ready to blame Ava when I realized it was already in my hand because I was already feeding him! (Can I just take that moment and not call it mommy brain, but call myself a subconscious super mommy?)

That evening, I went downstairs to move laundry and Ava was in the bathroom when I went. I came back up and she was still in there. Dave said “Ava is in the bathroom again. She was in there and then she forgot to wipe her bottom so she went back in.” I go in to check on her. She’s standing there and I ask if she wiped. She said she did and wanted to show me. So she pulls the wet hand towel off the counter and wipes…

 

If you give a woman some children, the day will probably begin and end with poop.

The End.

Motherhood: When you give a woman some children… Part 2

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One day…

Again, continuing this series, keep in mind these stories were written with 2 year old Ava and 5 year old Adelynn. This is all while I am pregnant with Oliver.

Ava likes to get into everything. Even things I don’t think she would have interest in at all. So on this day, the girls were playing with the iPad on our bed. Ava came crying to me and holding her eye. I started to ask what was wrong when I could smell the answer! She had taken perfume out of my drawer and managed to squirt it in there! Ouch. That’s not a great start to the day.

Later that afternoon I was using a homemade ice pack we have. It’s just a ziploc bag filled with rubbing alcohol and dish soap. I had been using it on my back and left it on the couch beside me. I was genuinely just looking the other direction for a second when I hear Ava start spitting. I look over at her and she has opened the bag and tasted the contents. Yuck! She literally had bubbles forming on her mouth.

Maybe 30 minutes after that happened, she was on the floor beside me. I was still in the same spot on the couch. (My back was hurting.) She started to pull herself up by pulling on the couch. Our couch has a cover on it, so she was just pulling the cover. My room temperature coffee cup was sitting there when she started to pull. I grabbed it, but it had already spilled on her head!

That was a rough day for Ava.

 

Nail polish:

I also used to keep the nail polish in the bottom drawer of my dresser. The girls were playing in Adelynn’s room (or so I thought.) Adelynn came to show me that she had painted her nails, which was just a clue to me to get up and see what Ava was doing. (I’m not new at this.) I get in there and she has painted the edge of Dave’s night stand with nail polish. She is sitting on the bed with it currently and had painted one fingernail. I took that bottle and all the nail polish and moved it to the top of the dresser. The dresser is about 5 feet tall.

I thought it was safe there. Until one day I was in Adelynn’s room and Ava had been playing in hers – we were the only two home. I walked by and saw that she had dumped nail polish ALL OVER herself while sitting on her bed. I seriously don’t know where she found that bottle at.

So I confiscated that one and put it in the box on top of the tall dresser as well. (I really wish I could show you that picture, but she wasn’t wearing enough clothes to have it on the internet.) Just imagine white nail polish all over her as she sits on her bed and does a little science project.

Several days later, Adelynn comes to me and says “Mom! Ava has the nail polish!” I RUN in there because I am baffled that she found another bottle. I take it before she opens it – thankfully. I look over at the tall dresser and see a tall laundry basket pushed up against it. Ah. Clearly that was her ladder to get to the nail polish. I could not have thought ahead on that one.

Now the box of nail polish has moved to the top of the refrigerator! Maybe that will buy me a few months?

 

Another day:

The girls went outside to play. Now, I have learned a thing or two and sending them out in anything but play clothes is out of the question. So they were wearing clothes that are meant for getting dirty – thankfully.

We were getting ready to leave for a weekend and Dave was going to be gone all day. I was glad it was a strangely warm day in February. I was trying to get my packing list together and think through our time away. So I was in the kitchen or at the dining room table, so I could definitely see them if I looked out the window. (Our yard has a high privacy fence). Adelynn comes up to the door and says “Mom! Ava got her stuffed animals wet.” I am wondering how in the world she managed to sneak those outside and see that she has a couple of beanie babies. Soaking. Wet. We hang them up on the clothesline, have a talk about what is okay to play with in the water, and I get back to work.

A few minutes later I look out and the girls have the hose. It is on. I go back out. We have another talk.

A little while later, I look out and see Ava with her pants down. She’s most definitely pooping in the yard. Again. So I go out and we talk about pooping in the toilet.

Another few minutes go by and the doorbell rings. Imagine my surprise when I go to the front door and it is Ava. How in the world?? Both girls are in the front yard because they figured out how to get under one part of the privacy fence. You’ve got to be kidding me. So, we have another talk.

I have gotten almost nothing done by that point except doing lots of explaining about what we can and can’t do outside. Like it’s the first time they have been out there!

At one point, I hear the water running again. You know what? Whatever. Fine. You’re in play clothes, get wet and you’ll see what I mean that it’s not warm enough to play in the water.

Uh… that was not a lesson they learned that day. The lesson they learned was that if they fill the yard holes they dug with water, there will be mud. So a little bit of time goes by and two proud little mud monsters wander up to the door.

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Thankfully, just in time for baths before we go out for the dinner plans we had! I strip them down by the back door and carry Ava in first. I am glad I carried her in first, because while just standing at the back door as I peeled her clothes off, she managed to get muddy handprints all over the edge of the door as she steadied herself. I went back for Adelynn, returned with her, and good grief was that bath water dirty! We rinsed off mud, drained the water, and went for round two. Whew!

If you give a mother some children she will think that things like nail polish and scissors are out of reach, only to be proven wrong. If coffee, perfume or dish soap are within reach, they will end up on the toddler. And at some point in life, you will do a rinse and repeat on your kids at bath time because they are covered in mud.

The End.

Motherhood: When you give a woman some children…

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Sometimes my days feel like exhausting versions of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. One thing leads to another thing… all. day. long. I started writing out this mini-series probably two years ago. So keep in mind that we are talking about 2 and 5 year olds. There are things that I just cannot even make up. Let me tell you some of my stories. If they exhaust you enough, you can bring me a coffee!

 

Tuesday:

I was having a day at home and trying to just catch up on phone calls and things I needed to do. The girls and I were just in pajamas all day. I needed a shower and I knew a package would be coming. I figured it would show up as soon as I got in the shower. I had ordered several things but assumed the package to come was a gift for our niece. I clearly instructed Adelynn that no matter what she was not to open the door, even if it was the mailman. So, I’m taking my shower and 5 minutes later she knocks and tells me he came and left a package. Well, Ava had nothing on but a pajama shirt at that point. Adelynn said he was waiting out there for a long time and he left before she opened the door – which was especially good, because where Adelynn is, Ava is also.

So I finish my shower and am working on making a couple of phone calls. While I am on call #1, I think the girls are playing in their room down the hall, Adelynn comes in and says “Mom, Ava is cutting her hair.” So I ask the lady to hold on a minute and go get the scissors from her after she added to the chaos that is the left side of her hair – it’s still a mess from the first time she cut it! I also thought the hair scissors weren’t accessible… She only snipped a tiny part, so it could have been worse.

I am on call #2 when the girls are sitting beside me and they have the afore mentioned package on the couch. They are so eager to know what is inside that they have gotten their kids plastic knives out of the kitchen and are tearing into it. I figure it will occupy them for a while and they will see their cousins’ gift when they open it. All I need are those 2 minutes on the phone. I am chatting away when they start yelling and getting excited. They have succeeded at opening the package and it is definitely not for their cousin. It is definitely a Christmas gift for Ava that she has been wanting. Well, shoot.

This was also laundry day. I was downstairs switching over loads of laundry after my phone calls while Ava played down there. She still had nothing on her bottom half. She came over to me and very excitedly said “Mommy I went poop!” And I was thrilled! She was thrilled! There was much rejoicing in all of the land! Until I realized that I hadn’t helped her wipe or anything. “Ava, did you go in the big toilet or the little toilet?” “Um… over there.” And she points the opposite way from the stairs that lead to the bathroom. Ugh. I had told her that if she needed to go potty that she needed to go upstairs. Well, apparently when I say that, I also need to specify poop as an option. There it was, in all its glory, on the floor of the basement. What made it even better was the fact that she tried to cover it up with shapes from a shape sorter toy, and by “covered” I mean smooshed into each of the little shapes. Baby #3 is getting a brand new shape sorter.

I cannot make this up.

That evening was a little wild as we got Adelynn off to dance class. On that dance day, Ava was going to my mom’s so I could take Adelynn to dance. We were trying to leave and I could not get Ava to put a shirt on to save my life! She decided this was the battle to pick and I just let her have it because if she went to Grammy’s house half naked while it was 60* out – fine! We were meeting some of our family for dinner after that and so my Dad brought Ava to dinner. I became concerned that he would have to figure out how to get her shirt on, but he got it. Even after my mom and I both tried. Granddads are magic.

So those were my consequences for trying to make phone calls, do laundry, and get my daughter to dance.

 

 

Friday (right. 3 days later):

Ava was being cooperative and let me take off her night diaper in the morning. I went to put pants on right after that and that was the WRONG thing to do – or so I am told. I battled her for about 10 minutes, but that was all the time I had before I had to take Adelynn to preschool. I told her that she could just be cold if she wouldn’t agree to wear clothes. I hated doing that because it was cold out! But I didn’t feel like it was fair to Adelynn to be late to school. Thankfully, we have an attached garage and so the car wasn’t nearly as cold as it could have been, and she didn’t have to go outside in her diaper. She got in, I took Adelynn to school, we came home, she still wouldn’t let me dress her. I tried multiple times throughout the day and gave up. We weren’t going anywhere. I did have to load her up again to pick up Adelynn, but the teachers escort them to/from the car, so she never has to get out (that is nice!) I asked my Dad his secrets from a few days before and all of his secrets I had already tried. So I gave up on that one.

The girls have quiet time every afternoon. They have gotten to the point that they often do it together, which is fine. They just know they are supposed to play quietly for a while. They asked if they could have it downstairs and I told them they could. They have done that many times before. It gives them more space to do their own things if that is what they choose. Adelynn came to tell me that Ava had gotten one of the play kitchen cups and had scooped some litter out of the litter box……. I go down there and she has just casually spilled some in several different parts of the basement. I decided I would enjoy my break and would pull out the vacuum later. The litter in our big laundry room was like walking on sand. (I didn’t know how bad it was until later, so I continued to let them play. I just talked to Ava about touching the cat box and leaving the litter in it.) We had just cleaned that basement too. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Adelynn comes up again and says that her dress is wet because Ava dumped out the cat water. What?! Is she 18 months old today?! Has she never been in the basement before?! So I am aware there is water spilled. I planned to wipe it up later, I had assumed that they would be done in the laundry room. Well, several minutes later she comes up crying. She is holding her face. She slipped and fell in the water. She got her face pretty good. She says she is all wet and I look down at her leggings… clearly, the water was spilled ON TOP of the cat litter. Because, where else would it be spilled at? So she has a clay consistency of junk all over her pants. She takes them off and comes back to get a homemade ice pack, because someone left the Boo Boo Bunny out and it wasn’t cold. The ice pack is just a freezer Ziploc bag that is full of rubbing alcohol and blue dish soap. She takes it into Ava’s room where they moved to. She brings it back and says it is melted. She also says it is wet. I believe it is condensation and tell her to put it back in the freezer. A little while later I take Ava into her room to change her diaper. There is an unfamiliar smell in there… I look around and see droplets of blue ALL. OVER. Dawn dish soap on new carpet is fun.

Like I mentioned, potty training has been on the radar. Ava has been very undecided about it. But I heard her actually going to the bathroom and rushed in there to congratulate her. I cannot express how rare and surprising this is. Most days we can’t get her to even sit and try! I was SO excited and praising her and she was just yelling at me to stop. I guess she didn’t want the attention! So I left to give her some privacy while she flushed, then I came back to help her wash her hands. I saw her with her hands in the toilet and was just standing there being amused. (I knew she would freak out if she knew I was watching her. She was in a mood.) So I am standing there, and to my great surprise, when she pulled her hands out of the toilet, she pulled her two toothbrushes out of the toilet… and brushed her teeth with them!!! She did this once before, you know, when she was 18 months old! Oh, Ava. (We bought her a new toothbrush before bedtime.) I have a hilarious video of this, but because she is naked and I don’t know how to blur it out, you’ll just have to believe me.

 

If you give a woman some children… they will scoop out cat litter and dump out cat water on top of it. That will cause an innocent child to fall and hurt her face. She will ask for an ice pack. When you give a child an ice pack, it will somehow come open and there will be tiny droplets of blue dish soap all over the bedroom. That is when mom throws the ice pack in the trash… and then notices that the cat’s white feet are now blue.

The End.

Mi Mess Es Su Mess

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It’s so cool how God has wired us for human connection and for community. I spoke to two different moms the other night about the need for human interaction. The interesting part was that they both brought the subject up to me! I spent several hours over dinner with one of my mom friends, and we talked about this season we are in. How it’s only a season – a short one that we will miss – and yet it feels like it drags on forever.

We talked about a lot of the ins and outs of motherhood. We talked about how we crave adult interaction to do our job better. It’s not that our kids aren’t enough for us, but we are happier when we get adult interaction and maintain relationships because we were created for it. Literally on my way home from that dinner, another friend sent me a voice message that detailed some of the same things about this season and how she just needed to tell someone who understood: sleepless nights, kids are sick, having bad dreams, wanting to be in mom’s bed, etc. Our kids seem to think the same thing about being close, about having connection, a community. It’s interesting that God hasn’t only wired adults that way.

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We are busy so we think other people are busy too. Too busy for us. So we don’t text or call. We think their calendars and jam-packed full like ours are. So we think we are all too busy to call. But please call. We will find time for you. For adult interaction. For letting the kids run off their pent up energy.

Saying yes to spending time together is time well spent. We welcome that text and the conversation.

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So maybe you invite us to the park and we don’t actually read it until the next day and we missed it. But you thought of us. You took one selfless minute to reach out. That minute of being thought of is awesome. You invite us into your mess? Even better. I’ll bring my kid with the shoes on the wrong feet and the same Owlette costume she has worn for days. And I’ll bring those muffins I made for something else that we couldn’t go to because we had a sick kid. And you’ll feed us the leftover dessert from your event the other night and no one will care because we are doing life together! Exactly what we were made for! We are having adult conversation and creating more memories and more messes. We are letting the kids get some of their creativity out, we are bouncing ideas off of each other and talking about the hard things that we were created to do.

IMG_3275(This is better than the Pinterest surfing we could be doing while we compare our messy house to those Joanna Gaines style farmhouses and eat our dried out cookies from the recipe that is classified as a Pinterest fail.)

We try to have a conversation mixed in with taking turns nuking our coffee and speaking to our kids about sharing and fishing Barbie shoes out of the littles’ mouths. We say a lot of “Um… I don’t remember what I was saying.” We might make macaroni and let the kids watch a movie. We stop to change diapers and feed babies. But we are getting adult interaction. We are low on sleep and we are doing it together. IMG_1085

And it’s all because you took 2 seconds to send a text and did no other preparation. You were cleaning our your hall closet and got interrupted and that’s why there are winter coats on your couch and hallway floor when it’s 70*? I didn’t even notice. You don’t have to explain it! Just because we have different weird messes doesn’t mean that we don’t both have weird messes. No shame here.

 

Please feel free to share your mess with me.

My encouragement is this: take 2 seconds to send that text and invite your friends over for a box of processed starch and powdered cheese. (Although you won’t be mad if she picks up sushi on her way over). Let your kids share the screen time with someone else. Make someone’s day by inviting them into your chaos so you can celebrate this season together. This short season where we can’t give up on our need for connection.

And have no shame in sharing your mess.IMG_2957

SAHM Sabbatical

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::  As usual, this post was written months ago and I am just now posting it! These last couple of weekends have been slower paced for me and my son is a champion napper now – if you were wondering!  ::

After four jam-packed weekends in a row, my good friend Melissa encouraged me to take a day off for myself. I was in dire need of a sabbatical of my own. So what does the sabbatical of a SAHM look like anyway? Is it asking your husband to take charge of the house so you can go away to a hotel overnight? Well, maybe for some people it looks that way. But for me, it was just going back to the basics of being a SAHM. Back when it was just Adelynn and me each day, we would spend every minute together. She would nap and I would do some of my own things, but when she was awake, we were playing or she was “helping” me with household chores.

Somewhere along the last 5 years, and mainly in the last 5 weeks, I had lost sight of that joy. The joy that means including the kids in everything I do. My current thought was that sometimes just doing the dishes myself is easier. It would feel like a win-win situation for me because they would get to watch My Little Pony and I would get the dishes done.

But what was the motivation behind that? Truthfully, I was focused on my schedule. I have an agenda. I have things I want to accomplish. I have a reputation to maintain. I want people to believe that I can make it as a SAHM. I don’t want to fall under the stigma of people coming over, seeing a mess, and whispering “What does she DO all day anyway? Her kids must be so out of control.”

Having a baby boy who doesn’t nap very well has really been a gift. (Most days I don’t see it this way at all, but what I am writing is truth.) When I am in the mindset to see it this way, he teaches me to take everything one moment at a time. I don’t know the next time he will nap or when he will wake up and I need to enjoy each moment I have whether that is resting or playing.

After these crazy weekends, Melissa encouraged me to rest. Which is so crazy because my house has 5+ weeks of messy build up in it. 5+ weeks of unfinished projects and 5+ weeks of dirt. Obviously this day was my day to catch up. But begrudgingly, I took her advice.

And you know what happened? I laughed harder than I have in weeks. I truly listened to the things Adelynn said. She notices so many things. Ava’s incurable optimism almost made me burst with pride. And her imagination is one of a kind. Ollie’s new skills of mobility and grass eating were impressive. I noticed their dirty feet and tangled hair. But I also noticed their bright eyes and overflowing hearts.

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I saw a quote on my Sabbath day that said this:

“Jesus doesn’t participate in the rat race. He’s into the slower rhythms of life, like abiding, delighting, and dwelling – all words that require us to trust Him with our place and our pace. Words used to describe us being with Him.” – Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited

Clearly, that was for me on that day and hopefully every day after!

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That same day I listened to the radio on the way to pick up Adelynn from school and they were talking about learning to say “no”. The Lysa TerKeurst quote and the radio content were no coincidence. The woman on the radio was was saying that we can say yes, but it needs to be a no if it’s not going to be a yes for our kids. And it might sting a little, but in this season of life, that is truth.

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This was a life-changing, attitude-changing day for me. I got so much more out of the day by choosing my kids and their presence over my own agenda.

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So do whatever you need to do to take your sabbatical. Ask your kids if they want to color, pick up a marker and go to town. Find the play doh and ask them what you should make. Take them out for cupcakes or morning coffee. Ask if they want to watch your favorite movie from when you were young and then lay on the floor with them and answer all of their movie questions. Blow some bubbles. Do it in the bathtub if it’s cold outside. Or do it on the kitchen floor so you can mop it together. Ask them a billion questions until they start getting annoyed with you. Invest. Being present is a gift. Choose to accept it.

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I Didn’t Accomplish Anything Today

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Several nights I have gone to sleep thinking “I didn’t accomplish anything today.”

I have felt very unproductive lately. I think there is a thick layer of dust or crumbs on every square inch of my house! I literally had to wipe down the stove before I could cook on it the other day… Smile with tongue out

Dave has been travelling quite a bit over the past several months. That leaves me with a messier house and messier kids. I think they are statistically taking fewer baths right now; but they are also emotionally messier because their lives aren’t the norm. Emotions have been running high and patience has been running thin.

I go to bed and I look around my room at the clean clothes that need to be hung up. I sit around after the kids are in bed and I just want to be on the couch with my book instead of doing the dishes. The dishes will still be there tomorrow. Well, so will my book, I suppose, but my sanity might not be if I chose the dishes over the book. Really when I think that I didn’t accomplish anything during the day… that’s not the truth.

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The truth is that my kids are fed, warm, healthy, educated and cozy under their clean sheets. It’s a joke that sometimes you did accomplish something because you kept the kids alive. But it’s also completely true! Those kids who go to you when they have bad dreams, the ones who want those extra drinks and kisses and being tucked in again when you are beyond done. Those kids who are “hungry” or need another light on, another story, or suddenly have an owie. Those kids are choosing you at the end of the day. At the end of the day where you think you failed. Those kids can only be comforted and reassured by you. Even if the day is over and you still have piles of laundry and you didn’t read the book to the kid you promised you would read to. Or you didn’t dress the Barbie you promised you would dress after dinner.

They will ask again tomorrow. The laundry piles will be a little taller tomorrow because your kids went to bed feeling loved and they woke up again feeling loved and they spilled their breakfast on their jammies! They filled their tummies, they created more dishes and more laundry and the cycle started over again.

Except on this morning you can dress that Barbie. You can read that book. And you can look at that laundry pile or mountain of dirty dishes and think you didn’t accomplish anything. Or you can look at a face that is sticky with pancake syrup and smile because you fed her. You dressed that Barbie she is playing with. You made her day. You accomplished something. You accomplished a lot. I’d even venture to say that you accomplished everything.

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