Monday, May 26, 2014

Confessions of A Messy Life

In case you thought I had it all together, if it's any wonder at this point, I assure you I do not.

Below is a highlight reel of my recent failures.  You know, those moments that you think, if this was a reality TV show I would be rich, famous, and on the cover of tabloids?:

-Trying to pee in a public bathroom, with Fiona strapped on me in a carrier, only to realize that I was walking out of the bathroom with my skirt still hiked up to my hips.  Brilliant.
-Thinking I'm a champion (I actually said this) to walk all the way to Church with the kids on their bikes, only to have three screaming kids all the way home.  And it was a loooong way folks.  Worst. Idea. Ever.  
-Fiona spitting up all the way down my shirt, pants, and all over my friends' couch.  Didn't even change my shirt all evening because I forgot.  Gross.
-In my rush to get Toby on the potty after Silas did his business, mis-judged where Toby's leg was and splashed his leg down into the poop.  Yes.  That's right.  And it splashed up all over me and the walls.  Awesome. 
-Realizing I left not one, not two, not three, but FOUR dirty baby diapers strewn about my bedside table from night time feedings. Just keepin' it real. 
-Getting yelled at by a random stranger in the grocery store for leaving Silas in the grocery cart for ten seconds while I ran to grab some oats.  The best feeling ever (not).
-And this one is for the girls (boys, shield your eyes). Racing to the running room store to get fitted for a new sports bra only to get let-down in the change room.  Yes, that's right, bare-chested and holding my nipples so that I wouldn't spray milk all over the mirror, wiping with a half-used snot-covered kleenex found in my purse.  All the while, the bra saleswoman yelling through the door "how are you doing in there?"  "Just fine, thanks!" While I'm drip, dripping milk on the floor. I'm all glamour these days.

This, my friends, is life with 3 children.  Carrying a baby while wiping a toddler's bum, trying to settle said baby to sleep while screaming boys are downstairs, out the door and bashing each other in the head with cars. I'm amazed my head hasn't exploded off my neck yet and that I haven't been arrested for indecent exposure for my nursing bra being left un-attached and flapping away, my children pooping in random parks, and accidentally mooning a whole park full of small children after using a public restroom with a baby strapped on.

This. Is. Real. Life.
Smile for the camera!
"Help me, I am a third child and am probably crying somewhere, on the floor, unattended"

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Marathon training

I am being unraveled and remade.  Soft, and mushy ill-used flesh is turning to hard and lean muscle. 

Motherhood is like getting in shape.  

It's marathon training of the mercilessly mundane. Each day: rising, toileting, feeding, cleaning, rocking, soothing, and shelfing your own desires minute after minute. Society puts much meaning on motherhood and it is meaningful.  But meaningful, in my mind, meant that it would be glamorous.  All sparkly and shiny. 

But it is by no means glorious or exceptional.  It is life, raw and pure.  Laughter and loving, spit up on the carpet, yesterdays clothes, back aches, isolation, coping, and racing to the potty.  It is not an interruption to real life, it is not a 'season' or a 'stage' where you put on the mommy hat for a moment and then gain back your previous existence and carry on.  It is life.  It is relationship.  It is a lifetime.  Bodies carried on bodies, souls helping shape souls. Sweat, mud and tears.  Moments of great accomplishment, picture-worthy and bursting with sentiment.  And 'click' that picture is gone and the next one is marked by wailing and yelling, feeling embarrassed and undignified and the baby is awake again.  And where did you put her soother, and why are there no clean receiving blankets, and how many days has it been since their bath, and what am I going to make for dinner?

Never had I imagined that motherhood would be such work: gritted teeth, muscles aching, feet pounding on the pavement, emotional and physical and spiritual straining. I think I believed it was something else entirely. I figure I was naive, or misinformed, or just had never walked in a mother's shoes before.  Which, of course, you cannot do until you are already knee deep.  Sleeves pulled back to the elbows, praying and fighting for joy, burdened and blessed with the responsibility of the formation of childhoods.

It is life.  

I have to remind myself, this is where the training happens.  I imagined motherhood as race day.  Crowds cheering, applause ringing, music blaring, the hope of glory a few miles away.  But no. Motherhood is the training.  It is being rain drenched, getting up at 5 am, choosing to run instead of sit on the couch, going through the motions even when you don't want to.  Face against the wind, tears streaking down, arms pumping, training until you want to quit, HARD WORK.  There is glory.  There is hope. There is JOY.  But it's also a lot of work.  Dogged determination.

And here I am.  Surrendering to a motherhood I could have never imagined.  Every moment an effort, but full of the kind of rewards only gained by doing the work.  So I decide again that the outcome is worth it.  The outcome for my children, my family, and in my own character is worth every laboured step.

I need Christ for each breath, but I will keep going and will not quit.  

p.s. this makes me also want to get in shape (I say this as I eat a handful of chocolate chips)
p.p.s. I read this blog post after I started writing mine and I like hers better

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