If you don’t know me very well, you may read this post and be tempted to believe I am a whiny, complaining, unsatisfied, ungrateful mother. If you do know me well, you will know that though I am very imperfect and quite truly am all those things at times, they do not define the essence of me.
Christopher has been taking side jobs on Sunday’s filling in at churches, preaching, and it’s been a great provision for us. He works so hard to provide for our family and does a darn good job at it. Just last week he crawled under a house with sewage leaking everywhere because that’s what his job looks like sometimes. He is our champion. Let that be very clear. So I knew he would work this morning and he had graciously canceled church at our house tonight so we could spend time together as a family. We got up this morning and I quickly grabbed my chance at showering. I had rationed my favorite makeup (by not wearing any for quite a while) to have one more days worth of it today. I got dressed, too excited to wear my bright orange skirt I snagged at a garage sale yesterday for 50 cents, and picked out matching orange shirts for the boys and a darling dress for Rylee.
The day started off sweetly enough with the kids showing me their tiny little wood wheelbarrows that they had made with their daddy. They each held a little pot for me to plant a flower in.
I went to the kitchen to say hello to everyone and was quickly greeted with “Mom, can you make me some breakfast? I want sausage and eggs and pancakes. What, why can’t I have sausage, I don’t want toast. I want pancakes. Can I have some water? Mom, I don’t want to wear the dress you picked out.” Now I fully understand today, to them, is just another day. Their bellies are still hungry. They are just waking up. They have opinions about clothes. But foolishly perhaps, some part of me wanted them to understand that just for today, I secretly wanted to be treated like the queen of this house. I wanted them to shower me with love just because and not to have to ask for sweetness or kisses. I wanted Rylee to appease me and wear a cute dress. And the boys to wear matching orange polos.
Why? Just because it’s fun to be a cute bunch once in a while. Not that I don’t enjoy looking at their sweet faces no matter what they’re wearing, because I do. And not that I mind wearing my pajamas all day many days, because I do that too. But I like dressing up every once in a blue moon. For fun. Not to impress or look a part. Just because I like it. So Caleb launched into 15 reason why he could not wear the orange shirt and picked out a brown, too big, stained tee shirt. Kyler was happy to please and got ready just fine. Then everyone complained about the toast, “Honey? I didn’t want honey. I wanted jam. Jam? Gross there is jam on my toast, I wanted butter. Can you take the jam off? What? WHY NOT?”. About then I was tempted to throw all the toast to the chickens. But Christopher was already gone and I knew they did need to eat.
“Mom, you have a sad face. What’s wrong? Are you mad? Are you sad?” Rylee asked. I tried to explain myself but could not. I went to dress Audrey in whatever I wanted to and succeeded except that she threw a royal fit and kicked her bare feet into her own poopy diaper. Lovely.
I returned to Rylee still in her jammies to hear her repeat the same phrase about not liking dresses. I gave up and said wear whatever you want. So she did. Then I asked if I could at least do her hair. I said “Just today can I put your hair in ponytails? I love it like that, it’s so cute.” She begrudingly said yes. I started to do her hair and she started spitting nails at me. She started screaming. I gently brushed her tangled hair. I carefully put it up, she pulled away and yelled at me for pulling it. Then I did pull it and that was the end of the world. I told her to go to the car and she started SCREAMING her head off. Which for a 6 year old girl, who is usually delightful, totally undid me. She marched out to the driveway and SCREAMED. So loud and long that no less than 3 of our neighbors came out of their houses to see what in the world was wrong. Certainly someone had been severely injured. I took a deep breath and tried not to cry.
“Happy Mother’s Day to me” I muttered in the driveway. I told the neighbors all was okay, one stayed outside and came over to try and talk with my kids and help them get it together. She bribed Caleb to change his shirt with promise of air soft pellets later today, he had his shirt changed so fast and came around the car to hug me. I run inside, while there, Kyler chucks a toy in Audrey’s face. Rylee is still screaming in the car. I start to cry. My very sweet neighbor Shelly hugs me. I can’t believe how ridiculous this all is. And it’s only 9:30 in the morning.
I really didn’t even feel like I had grand expectations about the day. It IS just another day after all. But I think given the expenditure of energy, sleep, love and hard work on my part-every other day-it just seemed like I should get a break. And instead I got insanity and mean words and complaining and tears.
Now, in reading this I know for a fact at least one of you is thinking “You are the crazy one who chose to have four children, close in age so you have no right to complain about anything”. The same kind of person who when learning I was pregnant with baby #3 said “Is this a good thing?”. Or the one who said after my baby fell down three stairs and scratched his head badly “You know, when you have this many kids you just can’t care for them all, these things happen.” Or the one who said, in front of my children, “You have too many children!”. Or another knowing that Audrey was my fourth baby “I have the number of someone who does vasectomies if you’d like it”.
I am merely sharing my less than perfect day because it helps. It’s nice to be able to write about the not-so-perfect days. It helps me to get the words out and to be able to see the humor and the blessing staring back at me from the computer screen. For the record, yes we have chosen to say yes to the blessing of children. Yes a baby is ALWAYS a good thing. Yes I can care for and love all my children well because God is my source of strength and patience and love not myself. But no, every day is not a dream and no, I would not trade it for anything. I am not the same person as I would be if I were not a mother. I have learned to give, to share, to live and to love beyond what I thought humanly possible thanks to the little people in this home.
The benefits far outweigh the bummers. The blessings and joy of having children far outweigh the sacrifices they have required. I’ll stop now, this is another post altogether. I’m off to enjoy an hour to myself compliments of the very handsome man that (14 years ago this month) I used to dream about having babies with. The days of kissing on my parents front porch and talking on the phone till 3 AM may be over but these days are even better than I dreamed of. Different. But better indeed.