Well, here I am sitting on the floor under my kitchen table. My yoga pants are wet with soapy water and crumbs from meals past are stuck all over me. The windows are open and I can hear the birds singing to each other. And if I can hear the birds, that means my kids must be gone. My hubby offered to take them to a family event while I stay home and have time to myself. Awesome! There’s about a million projects I’ve been putting off that I need to tackle, including scrubbing the Jackson Pollock food splatter off our walls and cabinets in the kitchen. It’s been there for, well, let’s just say way, way, WAY too long! But I’m having a hard time finishing because I’m stuck on the floor, sitting with the dried cheese on the baseboards, sobbing my eyes out. Oh motherhood, you got me again.
When I started scrubbing, my inner dialogue went something like this…
Oh my gosh, I am so embarrassed. This is so disgusting! How could I have let this go on for so long?! Do people notice this when they come to my house? I don’t notice it at their houses, maybe they don’t notice it here. But I probably don’t notice it because they actually clean it where I leave it for months and months. How much does a cleaning person cost? She’d probably be horrified. Seriously, why are my kids such messy eaters? Argh, I long for the day when we can repaint the walls and patch up all these dings in the walls from the chairs knocking into them. I’m definitely recovering the cushions on the chairs! Hmm, I wonder when I’ll be able to do that? Well, our daughter does a pretty decent job eating. She hasn’t used a bib in like two years and she’s almost four. We rarely need to wipe her hands or mouth off after a meal. So, our son, that’d be in less than six months. Six months?!?! Well, I guess that sounds right. I mean, we just got rid of the high chair and now he uses a booster seat. And he’s getting better and better everyday using a spoon and fork. Oh my gosh. In a few months there won’t be anymore messy faces that I need to wipe. He won’t wear his yogurt like a beard and make the whole family laugh. No more messy baby pics of food in his hair. Why is time going so fast?! Why am I so desperate to wash away these memories?
And now you’re caught up. So here I cry because I’m not ready for that. Yes, my house is in a constant state of disaster. There are toys everywhere, crumbs, hummus on the walls, rogue crayons that escaped the box, kids’ pants lying on the floor because for whatever reason kids hate wearing pants, a spilled sippy cup, little handprints all over the glass patio door, and all I’ve been seeing is the mess and feeling the chaos. But this! This disaster is who my kids are right now!
The dolly bed set up on the couch will eventually be replaced by Barbies in her bedroom. Eventually, she’ll want to play alone instead of with her brother. And eventually, he won’t want to play the same things as her. But this mess right now tells a tale of their adventures together. The Duplo towers that she built and rebuilt just so he could knock them down. The same Duplos I’ll probably step on later and curse for being out and not put away.
This time in life is so hard. There are moments where everyone is screaming and crying and the phone is ringing and the oven is beeping and you’re needed by everyone and everything all in the exact same moment, and you feel the chaos of motherhood. Time is so slow in those moments, yet we sit and think about everything we need or should do. The baby is crying, the toddler wants to color, my mom is calling, dinner is burning, I need to shower, the dishes are piled up, I need to put the clean clothes away, oh! and rewash the load I put in the washer yesterday and forgot about, and we’re out of milk…the list goes on and on.
Let. It. Go.
Your house won’t always be a dump, your kitchen won’t always be a museum displaying last week’s meals, your kids’ hair won’t always be matted down with orange mac ‘n’ cheese sauce, but when that time does come, your kids will be just a little bit less of a kid and a little bit more of an adult. So in the meantime, leave the messes and see the kids through the chaos.