It's easy to appear perfect here. So white and bright and clean on my blog. I never post pictures of the nastiness (except if it is Bag Balm related). And I never, never yell at my kids. I never say nasty things to them. You think you know me... the perfect me.... but you don't.
This is what today looked like:
- Good morning world. Fed the baby at 7am. He spit up all over me and the sheets.
- I put on exercise clothes and made oatmeal for breakfast.
- I ate my oatmeal while feeding Rem some baby oatmeal with peach puree. Yum.
- Cleaned off the table while amazing husband loaded the dishwasher and started it.
- Picked-up the garbage around the house and found 15 dirty diapers sitting in the hallway where the garage can is supposed to be.
- Wondered where the garage can went.
- Said goodbye to my husband and sent the girls upstairs to get dressed, make their beds, and clean their room and put Rem in bed for a morning nap.
- Started the Shred DVD and began a very intense workout.
- Was interrupted by the girls coming down, one very smelly and one very unhappy with the smelly one. The girls started exercising with me, running through my legs during lunges and sitting on me when I did sit-ups. I endured the stench from Mandy's poopy diaper, then she decided to change her own dirty diaper and I paused the DVD to intervene.
- While I dealt with that mess, I wiped out the sink and cleaned the toilet because they were on my list for today from the motivated moms checklist.
- Rem was crying in his crib after hearing all the ruckus from dirty diaper #1 and I found that he had a dirty diaper too. Changed it making 2 for the morning.
- Tried to pick up the living room floor so I could vacuum and realized I forgot to give Rem his bottle. Sat down to feed him.
- Heard screaming from upstairs, "Mandy is cleaning the toilet and licking her hands!" I put the baby back in bed and ran upstairs to find not too bad of a mess, but plenty of germs ingested by Mandy. Gross.
- I encouraged the bed making, dressing, and room cleaning while I wiped out the sink and cleaned the toilet, changed the hand towel, and replenished the TP stash in the upstairs bathroom.
- Came back downstairs with a basket full of pink dirty clothes and vacuumed the living room, throwing everything from the floor onto the chair and couches. Another task to cross off my list.
- Ran to the basement and started a load of laundry and brought up 3 loads of clean and dry clothes to be folded. Added them to the couch to be folded later.
- Smelled something icky and realized it was me. Thought about taking a shower.
- Told Mandy to go to the potty and she did it. Amazing. Yay for dry underwear!
- Let the girls choose a Christian movie to watch on YouTube. They chose Adventures In Odessey.
- I changed the sheets on the bed in my room where Rem puked on them and then stretched out on the comfy bed to take in some of God's Word. I read in Micah and then prayed for patience, endurance, and joy. Reminded me of an old cartoon called Anamaniacs: Pinky would ask Brain, "What are we going to do today Brain?" He would answer, "Same thing we do every day Pinky. Try and take over the world." That's my life. Every day: try to take over the world with patience, endurance, and joy. I also prayed for focus of thought as I banished the Anamaniacs and tried to pray again.
- Started another 10 minute continuation of movie for the girls and once again thought about a shower. The dishwasher was still running AND the washing machine. The combination would have been horrible, so instead I called my sister to see if she had done the Shred and more importantly to gloat that I had. While chatting, I swept the floor in the dining room, kitchen, and entryway.
- Another 10 minutes gone. The girls then watched a really strange, but Biblically accurate portrayal of Adam and Eve and I ran to take a shower. Hot/cold, hot/cold, hot/cold. Love water fluctuation in old houses! I was in and out and dressed in 5 minutes, face moisturized, and moose in my hair, hoping for the best.
- I found a wall in the hall covered in blue ink. I called for Mandy and she claimed she drew me a pretty picture. I got out the soft scrub and she scrubbed (to no avail).
- I realized I was almost done with my extra chores for today and quickly did the last thing on the list, clean out the freezer. I got sloppy joes out for lunch.
- Moving on, I encouraged the girls to help me fold three loads of laundry by paying them with one piece of candy when they were finished. Both helped and folded with beautiful attitudes.
- UNTIL we were done and I asked Mandy to go use the potty. She threw a royal fit, screaming, and throwing herself around. I left her alone to work out her frustrations until I heard, "Stupid mommy. Stupid." At that point she was made to change locations to the time-out chair where she encountered some "picy" on her tongue and other discipline. She also lost all chances of a candy prize.
- We then attempted school. Emma got out her book and reviewed the last letter while I talked with Mandy. She wanted to play Play-doh and I said sure, as soon as you go use the potty. She obediently walked into the bathroom and went with no complaint and dry underwear. Strange child.
- Rem woke up from his nap and had a poopy diaper. Changed #3 for the day.
- Rem played on the floor, Mandy played with Doh, and repeated everything I said while I talked with Emma about "C" "O" and "Q." Such similar looking letters, but are oh, so different.
- Almost time for lunch, I put carrots in the oven to roast with seasoning salt, salt, and pepper.
- Made the girls set the table.
- Was thankful for hard to break Corel dishes.
- Nursed the baby who was far more interested in the dish breaking attempts in the dining room.
- Got a call from my husband saying he would be late for lunch.
- Smelled something gross and realized it was Mandy in her nice, clean (formerly) underwear. Changed #4 for the day.
- The baby cried for more food.
- Finally sat everyone down for lunch. Sloppy joes and carrots for us, oatmeal and apple sauce for the baby.
And here I sit, the house quiet with all three napping. My list isn't all that impressive, although I was a tad more motivated than usual. Moms have a constant "to-do" that look like this. Finish one thing, just to realize there is more to be done somewhere else. It is a relentless job.
I really reached a low this last Fall. The relentless, all consuming push of motherhood had taken the best of me and I was beaten. Although I had a new baby, it wasn't post-partum depression. I was void of joy. It was a bad attitude leaving me irritated with life 24/7. One morning in particular I woke up with dread like any other morning. My loving husband kissed me and tried to snuggle as I tried to hovel deeper under the covers, "What do you have going on today," He pleasantly asked. And I snapped back, "The same horrible day I always have. The children will make messes and be naughty, the house will be a filthy mess. I DON'T WANT THIS DAY!" And he was sorry for asking and happy he got to go to work.
On that morning, I finally grumped out of bed at the last possible moment and turned on the computer. A friend posted on Facebook that Dobson had a great podcast to listen to called, "Real Help for Angry Moms." I knew I needed to listen to it. I put a movie on for the girls and found the podcast on and listened while I cleaned a really yucky kitchen. I cried all the way through both episodes. The speaker, Julie Ann Barnhill talked about the frustrations of motherhood. Yes, they are normal. Yes, it's hard. And here is how to get through it without the anger. Without the stress and irritation that robs all the joy from the process.
I immediately ordered her book, "She's Gonna Blow, real help for moms dealing with anger." When it arrived in the mail a few days later, I devoured the contents. For so long I had known that I had a problem with anger, even reached out to a few other moms asking how they dealt with it, but received no real help. This book gave me real help. Julie Ann defines the anger moms feel and then shows how to overcome it and change. Along the way, she gives concrete ideas based on Scripture. The book was just what I needed.
All this happened in early December and the road to change has come very, very hard for me. There are 40,000 things a day that are irritating. If you made it through my to-do list for today, you saw that I didn't finish my work-out, I had to change 4 gross poops (one being in underwear), found ink pen on my wall, was called "stupid" by a child, taught school, potty trained a 2 year old, and had a husband who was late for a meal I prepared. All of those things are reasons for me to simmer, be irritated and snappy and/or explode. But I didn't. By the grace of God and his ever sufficient grace, I am gaining ground and changing. I found joy and pleasure with my children like I've only heard about on blogs. My God is so good.
I know I'm not alone, but it is not an easy thing to talk about. Although I don't expect lots of comments saying, "I totally understand," I hope to lure you in with the promise of a free book. So, I'm giving away a "She's Gonna Blow," book to one lucky mom who is ready to read it. Enter to win by leaving a comment and I will randomly draw a winner on Thursday, April 29th. My only condition is that you are willing to read the book and that you think you might learn something. If your greatest life's stress is whether you should pick your toenails or watch Oprah today, then you need not apply.
Have a joy filled day,