I jolted upright in my bed awakened from a deep sleep by the sound of crying. I clumsily got up and walked down the hall in a stupor. The crying was coming from the Pepto Bismol pink bedroom of my girls. As I entered I continued to hear wailing sounds, saw two pj clad girls writhing on their beds and I smelled vomit.
What was happening here?
I kept blinking my eyes and tried to get a clear view of the situation. Had my girls gotten sick at the exact same moment? Who had tossed their cookies? Why were they both crying? What time was it? Why did it smell so awful?
I was so confused.
I continued to stand there assessing the damage. I tried to shake the fog of sleep out of my head.
The reports were coming in now and I was beginning to get word that one daughter had gotten sick and had made quite a go of it and had sprayed both beds. The other daughter was (understandably) crying because her pillow had been hit. As I continued to stand there looking back and forth from bed to bed the crying children got up and walked past me downstairs to get a drink of water. Thirty seconds later the youngest came back upstairs and said, “But Mama, where is our water?!”
At that moment I wasn’t really sure either.
Motherhood is like that for me. At times I see it with bright clear eyes and I feel like I’ve got things figured out for the time being.
Other times I have no idea what is going on.
Just the day before I had a brief moment where I felt like I not only had my head above the motherhood waters, but I was actually swimming along quite nicely. I had the laundry done, the house cleaned and my children were playing together outside in the sunshine. Yeah, I felt pretty good. I’ve got this.
And then the Pillow Puking happened and started a chain of events causing me little sleep and much frustration. One kid sick on the couch, laundry in nasty piles, a little one wanting another breakfast and a son asking me questions about the Iroquois Indians for a school project.
I go from feeling like all is calm and under control to feeling stretched thin. Sometimes in a matter of minutes. Okay… seconds.
But I’ve been learning that it’s just going to be like that. I’m never going to have it “done.” I’ll never be “all caught up.” It’s not like I can accomplish all the needs and demands of motherhood and then just sit back and feel the wind on my face as I smoothly sail through these years.
On the contrary, it’s a bumpy, smelly, mess.
I don’t want to wait to feel good about my life and my role as a mom until my kids are grown and the laundry piles are small and simple.
I don’t want to base my worth on appearances-whether it be of my home or my family, but instead I want to realize how much the mess is worth to me.
So I roll up my sleeves and hold my daughter’s hair as she looses her lunch once again. I act like I care deeply about Native American festivals and I put peanut butter on crackers for yet another snack time.
This place is a mess and there’s much work to be done. That’s the way it’s going to be.
And what a privilege it is to be the mom of this mess!