As a working mother, I typically feel like I am in a constant state of chaos.
The hours that I have to devote to cleaning and organizing are few and far between. I have come to the realization that unless I am given one full day alone, in my house for a minimum of ten hours, the chances of my home being completely clean or having all my ducks in a row is slim to none. As I will probably never get one full day a week to myself, I have come to accept that chaos is my fate and make the best of it.
I revel in having a random day off here or there and President’s Day was no exception. The night before I sat down and went through a mental checklist in my head of all the things I hoped to do the next day. Clean the bathroom, tackle the laundry pile, and do our grocery shopping online were at the top of my list. I woke up with a purpose, and after sitting my boys down to breakfast, I got right to it.
As I started to fold laundry, I was interrupted by my oldest asking for more juice. Ten minutes later the baby wanted yogurt. I spent the morning beginning a task and as soon as I felt like I was making headway, I was summoned by my boys. Food, help with the potty, breaking up arguments over cars, putting in a new movie or answering a million questions about our day…it was never ending.
I finally finished folding the laundry at lunchtime. I stacked it all in our laundry basket and walked into the kitchen to start lunch. Not two minutes later I heard shouting and giggling and turned my head to see my boys pulling the laundry out and throwing it all over the floor. I was beyond frustrated. The laundry that had taken all morning to fold was now either crumpled on the ground or being tossed around the room with glee. I silently made lunch while I let the boys play (the damage was already done) and I resigned myself to the fact it would have to be refolded during nap time.
After lunch, I laid the boys down and quickly ate a sandwich before tackling the laundry. As I was getting ready to start folding again the baby woke up sobbing. Sigh. I grabbed him, rocked him in our recliner and ended up falling asleep as well. Game over. The entire day had gone by without any improvement to the chaos in our household.
My husband came home to laundry everywhere. I had gotten exactly zero things on my list done. When he asked me how my day was I filled him in on all of the interruptions I had that day and how much I felt like a failure. It was a day wasted and as those are so rare for our family to begin with, I was pretty disheartened that things didn’t go even slightly how I had planned.
Later that evening, my oldest son Bear (his nickname) climbed up on the couch to snuggle before bed. He settled in, looked me in the eye and said: “Mommy, I love you today.” It is not uncommon for him to tell me he loves me, but adding the word “today” caught me a little off guard. I didn’t think much of it, even when he said the statement a few more times. It wasn’t until later that night when my husband and I were discussing the day that I understood what Bear meant. My day had been pretty junky. I saw it as a total loss. Bear, however, saw it very differently. He stayed home with his Mama, watched movies, played in laundry and had a blast.
It is my opinion that almost all the time our children view scenarios much differently than we do. Sometimes it is incredibly obvious to us, and other times we won’t realize it unless they tell us themselves. It took one little word to show me that Bear’s day had been great. When I saw it through his eyes, I realized it was far from a day wasted.
Yes, we live in chaos and are constantly pulled in different directions. But Mama, don’t assume that the day has been thrown away because the things on your list didn’t get finished. Maybe every now and then we should just throw the list to the side, turn over the laundry basket, and play with our babies. There will be time for the other things. Make some memories instead.