Tuesday, October 30, 2012

excerpt from Motherhood is Application

Excerpt from "Motherhood is Application"

The days of a busy mother are made up of millions of transformations.  Dirty children become clean, the hungry child is fed, the tired child sleeping.  Almost every task a mother performs in the course of a normal day could be considered a transformation.  Disorder to order, dirty clothes to clean, unhappy children to peaceful, empty fridge to full.  Every day we fight against disorder, filth, starvation and lawlessness, and some days we might almost succeed.  And then, while we sleep, everything unravels and we start again in the morning --transforming.

Rachel Jankovic 
-author of Loving the Little Years

The rest of the article can be read here 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


You'll never believe this.

I'm still in shock myself.

Today, a friend of mine came over to my house.  Walked in through my garage, then through my kitchen, and entered the living room.  She looked around and then said:

"Thank you.  This makes me feel better.  Just one time your house looks just as messy as mine."

I stared at her for several seconds, trying to understand what she had just said.  Finally I said, "What?"

She went on about how nice it was that for once my house was messy.

I was too shocked to burst out into laughter or I would have.  I would have laughed so hard I'd peed my pants.  Speechless, that's what I was. 


I mean, I spend 30% of my life cleaning, so you'd think I had a clean house.  But it never is.  This friend?  She's not smoking crack.  She had a baby less than a week ago and is sleep deprived, that's what it was.  I hate to totally rip her credibility on here, so we'll just say she's "delusional from lack of sleep."

The TRUTH is that my house is never clean.

I gave up "clean" a long time ago.  I no longer buy into the lie that I must keep a perfectly clean house at all times in order to be a good wife.

Aunt Nancy helped me with that one day when I called her tired and frustrated. (I was the one tired and frusterated. I did not refer to her as "tired and frusterated.") She told me that I didn't have to have everything clean at the same time.  She gave me some tips: Wipe a section of baseboards if there is a tub of wipes close and you have a few extra seconds.  If there are some crumbs in the silverware drawer, pick them up by pressing your finger on top of them and dust them off onto the floor --cause sooner or later it's going to get swept up.   A little bit here, a little there.  It won't ever be "clean" but it won't be nasty.

Those words changed my life.  No longer do I strive for clean.  My new goal is "not as nasty."  As in:  "not as nasty as it was a few minutes ago."  Most days I reach that goal. I'm happier now, I feel less like a failure.  I mean, I know what I did today and I know my house is not as nasty as it was before I swept up the muffin crumbs or before I wiped the splattered milk off of the cabinet.  So I alone can give myself a high-five and say, "You did it! It's 'not as nasty!'"

Last weekend we had guests, Aunt Kay and Uncle David came to see us as part of their vacation (I love it when people do this!!)  I set aside the afternoon before and the morning of their arrival to do my house cleaning.  There's no point in doing it any earlier than this as long as there are children living here.   ...and there are.

So I begin to clean.  and clean.  and clean.   Then I look around and think.  You know what?  Aunt Kay and Uncle David are going to think I forgot they were coming today.  The floor has spots on it, the dusting sure as heck hasn't happened, the bathroom still isn't clean and the front porch hasn't been swept.

No one was going to walk into this house and say, "Wow!  Everything looks so great!  You look like you've been cleaning all day."  No one knew (or knows) what crazy things I have to scrape up and off of things.  Like spaghetti stuck to the table legs or sticky grime off of door knobs.  They don't know the work that has to be done. But if they did, wouldn't it be great?   Wouldn't you feel so rewarded if someone walked into your house and said things like:

"Wow! What happened to the table?  There's no dried on cereal!"  or "Whoa, no spider webs above your kitchen window.  Nice!"  or "Don't tell me you vacuumed out the shoe cubbie again!  No sand?!"  or even "I can't find any of the seventeen puffs go that Brady strategically scattered all over the downstairs.  You are quite the finder. Have you ever considered trying out for the amazing race?" 

but they never do.

They don't know how many magic erasers it takes to make the place look livable. 

But now you know.

Next time you walk into a home with preschoolers, if your hand doesn't stick to the door knob, you tell that mama. 

You tell her:  "Whoa!  Clean door knobs!  Way to go!"

then high-five her.  Tell her that one's from me.    

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fall decor

This sweet little guy lives just outside our garage in the corner of the garage door opening.  He's been there several weeks.  I've decided he is our Halloween decoration.  The house down the street on the corner has gone all out for Halloween.  They have some gigantic eyes peering out at you from their upstairs window.  It looks like a giant cat is trapped in their house.  Every time we drive by Austin says:  "SCARY!  LOOK TY, BACK DER!  SCARY!"    They also have a coffin on their front porch --which totally creeps me out.  I don't understand why people like to be scared, but then, you probably don't understand why I am letting this huge spider live in a place where I could walk right into his web.  I guess it's because Hannah comes to mine every time I think about messing with him.  I wonder though if I'm going to regret it.   Hmm..  would I rather have the absence of guilt or the peace of mind that I will not be running headlong into a spider and his web.

That's a toughie.

For now he stays.

A few days ago we were on our way out.  It seems I'm always the last one out to the van.  Probably because I sit around till the last minute playing and then I can't find my shoes and have to comb my hair and change my shirt because I've gotten food on it... then I forget and leave the lights on all over the house so now I've got to go turn them all off...  whatever the reason, I'm always last.

 I hop in and witness the following discussion going on in the back of the van: 

What to name the spider.

Ty's nomination was:  "Scary."  I was definitely catching what he was throwing.  Scary seemed like the perfect name.  Jack, however,  said he wanted to name it Jeremiah. 

Me, being the second born natural peacemaker said:  "Why don't we call him Scary Jeremiah?"

My Camp-David-like tactics had the same affect they usually have on the kids:  "Nawww... they both respond."

Not even Mike was with me.  His response?

"Well, we can't name it Jeremiah."

"Why not?" I ask.

"Because.  Jeremiah was a bullfrog."


Monday, October 1, 2012

Death by Austin

I know how I will die.

It's bound to be Austin. 

I know, it seems every few months I announce that a different child "will be the death of me."  But this time I'm sure of it.

He's two.  I don't know if we'll both make it to his third birthday.  It's not me that is going to try and take him out.  It's him.   He's got more zeal than brains and is constantly doing things that end up disfiguing himself in some way.  Take the last 8 days for example, Austin has:  run through a window, landing on the concrete of the front porch.  Busted his eyebrow on a piece of playground equipment, walked right in front of a fast swing (my friend scooped him up and saved his life), intentionally ejected from a swing while still going at full speed (same friend caught him before he hit the ground).  Caught a stomach bug, sliced the end of his thum with Mike's razor, fell off the edge of the couch and sliced his bottom lip --talk about a lot of blood.  It was a deep cut!    We won't even try to count the times he whacked his head on the coffee table or ran into chairs or tripped over rugs...

I can't keep up with any of my other jobs for trying to keep this child alive!  (at least that's what I'm blaming my dirty floor on).

Then there's the flooding of the bathroom that happened yesterday.  The child locks himself (intentionally) in the bathroom, stops up the drain, turns the water on and sits on the counter and plays.  I'm not sure how long he was in there before I broke through and grabbed every towel in sight to try and save the walls and floors...

Then there's Brady.  Lord help that boy.  If I turn my back, Austin will be on Brady's head, or will be riding him like a horse or his favorite jumping over him, pretending to trip and landing on the poor child.

Brady may not make it to Austin's third birthday either.

I pity the woman who has to raise this child's babies.  Remind me to send her flowers and bandaid coupons often.