Thursday, January 13, 2011


Lately - OK, pretty much for the past ever-since-I-can-remember-since-having-3-children, I feel like my life is spiraling out of control. I feel like, despite my very best efforts to nurture well-fed, well-groomed, well-mannered, well-behaved children who are afforded educational, service, entertaining and stimulating opportunities, while at the same time providing them with a (somewhat) clean home, (mostly) nutritional, clean clothes to wear, etc - AND paying the bills, shoveling the walk, and somehow finding time to sleep once in awhile - I continue to fall further and further behind.

Take today, for example. My 'junk drawer' was LONG overdue for a makeover. (Especially since the Mr. so kindly emptied his own personal junk drawer into mine! stinker.) So, I woke up earlier than the children (no easy task since I was up with Wiggles no less than 4 times last night!), read my scriptures, showered, emptied the dishwasher, got dinner started in the crockpot, packed Angel a lunch, started a load of laundry, and decided the rest of the day could be devoted to the junk drawer. (yes, it was THAT bad!)

As soon as the kids arose, though, my own personal plans were
set on hold. Family scriptures to read, three tummies to fill wit
h breakfast, 3 faces to scrub/mouthes to brush/head
s of hair to comb, breakfast dishes to clean up and floor to
swept, 3 kids to get dressed (since Angel refuses to be independent in the
morning...), 3 beds to 'help' the kids make, a tube of
toothpaste to coax out of Wiggles hand 34 times since she insists on eating it, 1 backpack to re-pack
since Wiggles has emptied it for the umpteen
th time this morning, 4 to bundle into snow suits/coats/hats/gloves/scarves/boots before we head out the door at 8:20. Whew. And we're only getting started.

Once we're home from taking Angel to school (about 9:30) I figure I'll have a couple of hours to attack the junk drawer before starting lunch. Then I remember I still need to shovel since it snowed a few more inches overnight. Thankfully I haven't yet un-bundled the kids, so I just get to work and hope the kids will play in the snow for a few minutes. Wiggles needs to be picked up every couple of shovels full, when she insists "Mommy, hold you!" because she's cold but doesn't want to go inside alone. I finally decide the walk is 'shoveled enough'.

10:00 I set Wiggles up with some play-doh and encourage Grins to build and I go to work. After about 2 minutes of good organizing, Wiggles 'needs to use the potty' so we go spend the next half hour reading books and singing songs in the bathroom. When she's finally 'done' (though she didn't actually DO anything in the toilet), I re-dress her and then come out to see Grins' creations, which are, by the way, incredible. I spend 4 minutes listening to everything from how the bombs shoot over here, to how the bombs are stored in there, to why they need the bombs to defeat the enemies in the first place.
(Grins explaining his creations to me)

I'm interrupted by Wiggles saying "I don't want to go poop in my diaper - I want to poop in the toilet", read: "I just pooped in my diaper, even though I know I'm supposed to go in the toilet." Another diaper change. And the clock now says 10:42. We are overdue for nack time. Open the fridge to retrieve some snow peas and oranges, and make a mental note that 1) someone has spilled SOMEthing in the fridge that requires immediate attention, and 2) our fridge is almost empty since I haven't been shopping in awhile (see previous post on food storage....). OK. So after making snacks I do as quick a wipe-down on the fridge as possible, yet if you've ever cleaned a fridge you will know that a 'quick' job requires at LEAST 20 minutes. For some reason.

11:20. While I was cleaning the kids finished their snack, spilled about 57 more goldfish on the floor, then proceeded to step on them while running around in circles. (Are my kids the only ones who can be entertained by running around in circles, almost endlessly? It is SO funny.) Wiggles had 'brushed the teeth' of all of her baby dolls and stuffed animals, meaning, of course, that they were now all covered in toothpaste. (HOW can I get the toothpaste out of her reach, but still in a place where the older 2 can reach it to brush their teeth independently - just in case they ever actually decide to try out the independence thing?) Grins had found the "sign here" stickers in my pile of 'junk drawer' findings and plastered all four of his limbs with almost the entire pad.

11:50 Collect all the miscellaneous screws/nuts/bolts from the junk
pile and put them in a container. Gather all the writing utensils and put them in the appropriate canister. Find about 500 batteries and wonder if I should just assume they are all bad and throw them all away, or prudently try to test each one. I set them aside for later.
12:00 Time to start lunch. Tuna fish sandwiches, tomatoes, cucumbers. Take another mental note that if I don't go shopping today, we will need to eat tuna tomorrow, for the 3rd day in a row. Not that I mind, mind you, but it's probably time to get to the store.

12:15 Start feeding the kids lunch. I sit and eat for a moment before hopping up to get a towel to clean up the spilled milk. "I don't want to dump my milk on my tray" says Wiggles. Of course you don't.

12:20 Since I'm up and have had a few bites, I may as well get back to the junk drawer. So that is where all the matches went. Oops, should have paid that bill last week. I LOVE all of Angel's sweet little notes/cards/drawings/stories/pictures/posters/etc - but really, which ones do I keep/scan/share/toss? I set that stack next to the batteries, for "later". Then I've got to quickly clean up lunch while the kids choose their books.

12:30 Story time. Grins brings a stack of books almost as tall as him (really, it's only about 20 books, but it still looks daunting. Yet I am so happy that he loves to read, and I also realize we haven't had any real 'quality' time together, so I don't turn him away. I read a few to him and Wiggles before taking Wiggles into her room for nap. Now that she is binkie-free, naps require a bit more on my part; at least 3 songs, sometimes more, depending on how tired she is. Fortunately today 3 is enough.

1:00 Back to Grins in my room. I compliment him on being so quiet while I was putting Wiggles down, then notice his guilty eyes so I look around. Candy wrappers on my floor. Then my dresser. Covered in what was once a neat stack of papers, organized. Oh, and the basket of folded laundry? Overturned, of course. Hmmm. I calmly ask him to help me straighten things up if he'd like us to have our 'special time' (the time just the 2 of us share together while Angel is at school and Wiggles is napping - he LOVES it!) He consents, so we clean up together. He may be good at making messes, but he is great at diving right in and getting the job done (when he wants to ;) ).

1:30 Stories with Grins. Normally we do a 'reading' or 'writing' lesson, but today, he just wants to be read to. And I'm fine with that. Snuggling up with his head on my chest, his arms wrapped around me with his warm hands on my arms is pretty much heaven. And I know it won't last forever. I don't want to leave. So I read him all 20 books, with all the voices.

2:30 Time to get Wiggles up, get everyone bundled back up, and go pick up Angel from school. With the MOUNTAIN of snow (taller than the Mr. by far) blocking our path (we take a trail through the woods, the mouth of which is a dead-end street, which is apparently a perfect place for the snow plows to dump....), we barely make it to school in time. And since the stroller doesn't navigate well in the snow I get the special priviledge of carrying Wiggles the whole way....she would prefer to walk, but since the snow is up to her waist, each step takes about a minute, and we just don't have that kind of time right now.

3:00 Pick Angel up. She wants to go skating but we went yesterday and Wiggles has a difficult time in the snow, so I try to steer her in a different direction. Let's go home and make cards? OK, IF we can stop on the way home and dig for snow under the ice. It's a deal.

3:30 Digging for ice turns out to be more fun than anyone would have guessed so we keep going a little longer.

4:00 Finally home. We thaw our fingers out a bit, complete
Angel's reading assignment.

4:20 Since dinner's already in the crockpot, I figure I'll try to grab a moment to work on the junk drawer while they play nicely.

4:25 Fighting ensues. He said/she said/it's not fair. OK; junk drawer will have to wait. They need to be kept busy so I give them some jobs to complete while I work on dinner.

4:45 Table is set, salad is made. My kids are awesome!

5:00 Dinner on the table, and besides some fighting over who gets to pray, we enjoy a lovely meal together.

5:30 Try to quickly clean up while bundling the kids up - we've been asked to give a woman in our ward a ride to a ward activity tonight.

6:00 Finally leave the house (a little late, since we were searching for dry gloves/hats/etc - the ones we had worn to pick up Wiggles were still wet!)

9:00 At long last, arrive home from the activity. Teeth brushed, pajamas on, and straight to bed. Even Wiggles only needs 1 song tonight.

9:20 I can finally finish cleaning up dinner. Oops, I left the milk out all this time. Can't believe I've already swept the floor twice today and it looks this bad. Oh yeah, I need to switch the laundry. And put away the clothes I folded last night (and re-folded today).

9:45 Oh good, I still have a little time to write in my journal, and to call the Mr. to say 'good night' (he's still at the hospital.) Oh wait. I need to put together a shopping list for tomorrow, address the invitations to Angel's birthday party, take a test online to get my license, and prepare the presentation I just agreed to do at the ward activity in 2 days. Hmmm. I vow not to go to bed until it's all done.

11:00 I no longer feel productive. I'm tired. I'm going to bed. Oh no - the junk drawer is still covering the kitchen counter. Sigh. Should Wiggles will be up in 2 hours. I'm still going to bed.

Sleep a few hours. Wake up. Repeat.

At the start of this post, I hadn't intended to do a 'blow by blow' of the day. It somehow just evolved into that, so I apologize. What I really meant to say was that, as I was putting the children to bed tonight, feeling overwhelmed at all I had left undone today, I had a small epiphany. I've been praying for the wrong thing. Each morning and night I ask "Please help me to be productive, and get everything done I need to do today." Instead, I should be asking "Please help everything I do - and am - to be ENOUGH." I am not perfect, and despite my every effort, I never will be. Not a perfect housekeeper. Not a perfect mother. Not a perfect person. But I am told, if I do my part, He (my Lord, Jesus Christ) will make up the difference. He will take my weak (yet sincere) attempt ENOUGH. I just HAVE to trust that He will, and let that be enough.

Furthermore, I need to resist the urge to get caught up in the (very pervasive) idea that success is measured by productivity/results. The activities which are claiming the majority of my time, efforts, and attentions are not able to be visibly measured and are, to some, insignificant. No one sees how many times I sweep my floor each day, or how much time I spend chopping vegetables, or how many diapers I change, nor do they care. But I do, because I know that these small moments, of seeming insignificance, are, in fact, important. Important because the little girl whose bottom I'm wiping is getting 1) a clean bum (which, I'm sure we'll all agree is of utmost importance!) and 2) my love. The kitchen floor may not be spotless, but I'm keeping my home sanitary and a place my family wants to be. Mine is a noble profession. A thankless one, yes. But one for which I am deeply and eternally grateful. I LOVE being a mom!!!!
This picture is a few weeks old - as evidenced by the presence of the binkie. Wiggles had a fever and wanted to be held every waking moment - which was not allowing me to get ANYTHING done! So, in desperation when I needed to make dinner, I finally convinced her to let "Lion" hold her....and, to my surprise, it worked! Long enough for me to make dinner, at least!

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