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Motherhood is Messy

Motherhood is Messy

072Covered in honey, how I do not know, he comes to me with his hands up, his hair stuck in impossible directions.

“I’m sticky, Mommy.”

“Tub, now!” I revert to my mono-syllabic mom-speak.

I carry Mr. Sticky to the tub, peel off the outer layer of goo which still remotely resembles a shirt and jeans, and run the water.

My smallest children have always been water magnets. They hear the water, they come running. This time is no different. With a baby on my lap and two children in the tub, I start the scrub routine, until…

“Mommy, I haffa go pottyyyyyy!”

106“Ah, ah, ah, ah! Don’t go in here!” shrieks the child who all too often has been whisked prematurely out of a tub when her brother adds a little magic of his own to the mix.

I set the slippery, wet boy on the toilet against the opposite wall and return to my scrubbing.

Flying solo on the potty behind me, my in-training son shoots me in the back with…well, the only ammunition he has at the moment.

His look of shock matches mine. This child has wet on me a lot, but usually I see it coming. Being shot in the back is a new twist. The little fellow doesn’t know whether to laugh or…run! He watches my face carefully before determining his next move.

Motherhood–it’s a messy job. I don’t mean “a stack of untidy papers, dog tracked in a little mud” messy. I mean “do I even own a clean shirt, is there really a child under all this jam” messy. I mean “is it okay for everyone under eight to eat spaghetti in their underwear, why even bother ever getting dressed” messy. I mean “don’t eat anything unlabeled, cancel all social engagements until we unearth my car keys” messy.

Big sigh.

Please understand, I love a peaceful, tidy home, and my children work by my side every day so we can consistently fall short of that goal together. I prefer for my family to steps out the door together without rat’s nests, milk mustaches, and so many stains that we look like a 70s tie-dye convention. Hey, I even subscribed for a year to Better Homes and Gardens. Then my firstborn learned to walk and tossed my favorite issue in the toilet.

Not naturally organized, I at times become overwhelmed by the daily challenges of eliminating clutter, managing messes, and creating a peaceful environment, all the while schooling, feeding, encouraging, doctoring, and managing the onslaught of paperwork that life throws at me. As my husband points out, I am always getting organized, but never am.

When I am actually “caught up” for 15 seconds, someone has a sudden three-inch growth spurt, and I find myself once again sorting through and reassigning clothing and shoes. There was a spread of about three minutes back in 2008 when I looked around at my spotless kitchen, scanned my tidy family room, and ran my hands along a dustless dining room table. I was just about to untie my apron and send the children off to play for the rest of the year when everyone except for me was immediately struck with a very volatile and messy flu. I suspected a conspiracy, but never could pin down the culprit. I retied my apron, put a smile on my face, and started scrubbing!

march-2009-057Although I work to create a peaceful environment and train my children to manage a household well, I have never been too unrealistic about my expectations for a clean house and well turned-out children. I can smile at the science projects adorning the dining room table and window sill, take no issue with the numerous piles of books I call “interior decorating,” and accept with maternal pleasure the masterpieces glued (yes, I said glued) to my walls. I can head on outings with a child who is wearing shorts, a T-shirt, cowboy boots and a tie, I can ignore the stares, and I mean it when I tell him I am proud of him for getting himself dressed. While I can tolerate a considerably large amount of “getting organized,” I am still occasionally one sigh away from putting up a “For Sale As Is” sign.

Then I look into the big brown eyes of the little man who has just doused my back from two feet away (impressive range). I read in his face the choice I have before me. I look deep into those waiting eyes…

and I smile.

And he smiles.

And I laugh.

And he laughs.

And we laugh together until we cry.

And the messes don’t matter.

But he will always matter.

“That was funny, Mommy, when I peed on you.”

“Yes, Boy, that was very funny.”

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