Friday, December 21, 2007

How was your Thursday?

It’s 3:47 pm. Eva Rose is gluing glitter to a popsicle stick star. Shepherd is making a stable on paper with the popsicle sticks. I am feeling a slight twinge of mom pride that I have them doing real live arts and crafts, even though glitter is everywhere. Then Maggie, whose diaper smells of death and has for a good hour now, gets in Eva Rose’s glitter. Eva Rose, who did not nap and will therefore be unbearable till bedtime, screams at her. Maggie growls back. Shep is whining – and I mean whining, his new hobby – that he wants apple juice. You can have water. I want APPLE JUICE! APPLE JUICE! You may have water, I repeat, louder, and if you whine again you will go upstairs. I look down and marvel at how filthy – yet sparkly - my kitchen floor can get in one day. Eva Rose yells at Maggie to get out of her business and Maggie screams/growls back. Now the baby is screaming. I walk over to him, marvel at how dirty the rug can get in one day, remove him from the exersaucer and discover he is soaking wet, because dangit I forgot he is wearing these last of the size 3 diapers I am trying to use up and that I must change immediately upon awakening or he leaks, which he has just done. Twinge of guilt. I lie him down, change him, take off his wet clothes. He is crying, and as he has glitter on his face, I hope it has not gotten in his eyes because it seems like that would hurt. Twinge of guilt for letting tiny shards of plastic in my baby's eyes. Try to wipe glitter off baby face – impossible task. Since I am here on the floor, might as well change Maggie. She has a very red heinie, and she screams as I wipe her so now I feel guilty for letting her sit around in poop for an hour. I traipse Ike upstairs to put him in the crib in just a diaper, no clothes, just like my mom always said only the white trash people do. Twinge of guilt for being a white trash mom. I hear Maggie scream loudly and speculate Eva Rose has taken advantage of my absence to whack her. As I come downstairs, I marvel at how filthy my floor is. Twinge of guilt that I can’t keep my house clean. Shep whines again. I tell him, again, if he whines again he will go upstairs. But I don’t want him to go upstairs because he is really working on art which he usually does not enjoy. Twinge of guilt for not following through on threatened discipline in exchange for artistic aspirations. Shep starts crying, really crying and hopping on one foot in circles around the kitchen. I ignore him as I try to quarantine the stinks like death diaper in a grocery bag. He sticks his finger in my face and I realize that he truly is hurt, because he has glitter and glue in a cut on his finger. Twinge of guilt for ignoring him. I clean his finger off, give him a wild animal babies bandaid and a kiss, and marvel at how filthy my kitchen floor is. Look at the clock. It’s 3:55. I really should think about what we are having for dinner. Twinge of guilt that Walker will be home in an hour and a half and I have no dinner. I decide this is why God gave me TV, and, without guilt, park all my children in front of Charlie & Lola and take deep cleansing breaths while we get 30 minutes of peace and I rummage for leftovers. The floor is filthy, really and truly amazingly filthy.
Someone close to me today told me about a friend of hers who has four children similar ages to mine. And the kids are great. Almost perfect. They sit on the couch and read books quietly. The mom is pretty close to perfect too, she never raises her voice. She wants to hang out with her more, to learn how to be a great mom. I know she had absolutely zero intent to hurt me when she said this, but…ouch.
I got off the phone, looked around at the chaos, and felt like a little bit of a loser. Ok, a big bit of a loser. Tearfully called my friend Mitzi, mom of a rather challenging three year old, who reminded me that these children, if they do indeed exist, are not normal. Mitzi said that normal kids are inquisitive and intelligent and curious and jump on the couch. And she promised me I am not a bad mom, I let my kids play with GLITTER. Mitzi said all the right things. Thank God for girlfriends. Really.
That’s life in this household. The children are rambunctious and while they can be very sweet, they can be truly truly terrible. Sometimes, today specifically, one refuses to eat her rummaged leftovers and says “I’m NOT going to” and pushes the bowl away and it slides across the table and spills onto the already filthy floor (oh yes she did) and then my proudest moment of the day comes from not killing my precious child.
I can be truly truly terrible too. Sometimes I lose my temper, and I yell. Loud. Sometimes I give a spanking and later I wish I hadn’t. Sometimes I rock a child in my lap and ask him or her to forgive me for being such a mean mommy. Sometimes I pull the covers over my head and try to pretend I don’t hear them, just for five more minutes. Sometimes I call my husband at work and he has to pray with me over the phone just to get me through the afternoon. Sometimes the minute he walks through the door I head back to my bedroom, huddle exhausted in bed, turn on Judge Judy and don’t come back out until he has put them to bed.
Not every day is like this. But some days are.
My kids are not perfect. Their mom is certainly not perfect. I don’t really suggest coming over to my house if you want to learn how to be the perfect mom.
But, if you are having a bad mommy day and need a pep talk, give me a call. If you need a friend who can one up your bad mommy story, I am here for ya. If you need me to pray with you just to get you through the afternoon, I'm your girl.
And if you want to feel really, really good about yourself, just take a look at my kitchen floor.


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