Silence is golden, unless you have a toddler, then it becomes disastrous. This stage of my life IS messy in more ways than one, and it has taken me time to accept that.
I LOVE a clean house; my anxiety levels are calm when I can see my face shining in my appliances.
When I first got married, I said my floors were so clean you could eat off them! Now I say that you can eat whatever you find on the floors! It’s an all you can eat buffet some days! 😉
The messes are cleaned up easily, and I do make my kids help with chores daily, but there was a day recently that I was in tears …. from laughing. Because that’s all I could do!
Once upon a spring day, we were invited to my friend’s wedding. I believed I was as prepared to witness their vows as best I could. Without a sitter, I brought quiet essentials like paper, pens, cereal, a can of Play-Doh, and lots of hope that it would be a quick ceremony.
It started to rain as we walked into the church, and my daughter was sobbing because she couldn’t hold the umbrella that was 4x her size. We walk into this HUGE church with echoes of a screaming 3-year-old and grab seats in the back. “A minor setback,” I think.
It was so quiet, you could hear every Cheerio hit the floor with echoes like that of the 40-foot organ. There wasn’t any music, but my kids thought it was hilarious to start singing Baby Shark to set the mood. As long as they are happy and respectful their kid-ness doesn’t bother me, but when they start arguing over who gets what, “I had that first!”, or “Stop looking at me!” then I started to have a mental battle of waiting in the lobby for the service to be over, or tough it out and hope they realized they were in the House of the Lord.
Candy! I remembered I brought candy!! Cadbury Eggs! This was my secret weapon to keeping my 3 quiet, but silly me forgot how MESSY (and gross) Cadbury Eggs are. There was melted chocolate ALL over their faces, hands, and my skirt. My daughter was letting the orange goo flow over her hands and squealing with excitement, “My hands are sticky!!!!” She proceeded to slow clap because the sticky mess had practically glued her hands together.
The wedding was quick – Yay for simple and efficient vows!
We snuck out the back into a restroom so I could clean the ever-loving-Willy-Wonka mess I made for myself.
The bathroom was a nice respite from the agonizing 20 minutes prior. Hope had to use the restroom and proceeded to take off all her clothes and boots. We walked out as an older man walked in. I thought to myself, “I can’t believe that man just walked into the woman’s restroom so freely!”
When in reality, I just took all of my kid’s into the Men’s room and he probably thought I was the one that was crazy! To be fair, I thought the urinals were some part of a family restroom.
We jetted from the wedding to a birthday party in the mall where they all had fun on the bouncy equipment. When it was time to leave, I wanted to make a quick pit stop in the restroom, and I made sure to walk in the right one this time!
It was a disaster, and I will spare you the details, but Hope had an accident and Nigel had a blowout.
I was literally sweating bullets trying to keep up with everyone and clean up each disaster.
This long day was getting longer, but it opened my eyes to opportunities we have to help each other.
I have so much respect for single parents who are doing the hardest jobs all alone. I hope you know that I will always be there to help you, and that crazy day I wished someone was there to help me. Help provide wipes (That I FORGOT!!!!!), holding open a door for a locomotive-sized stroller, or simply saying that my kids were being kids and I didn’t have to feel ashamed by their volume or busy behavior.
We aren’t here to pass judgment on to each other, but it can be so easy to. I sometimes think we are faced with certain challenges so that we know better how to help one another when someone is facing something similar. I love reading stories of babies who cry in public places and strangers have the audacity to HELP. It goes viral when they do because some have a hard time discerning judgment vs. seeing the opportunity to help a struggling parent.
If you are a parent to older children, you can say you remember those days and can laugh, but for some, this is a challenging time where we are figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Like bringing Cadbury Eggs to a wedding ceremony.