Beautiful Chaos

I lost it at the kids again on Monday. Actually, come to think of it, I completely set myself up again for failure when I decided that Ivy should now magically be able to last 3.5-4 hours between feeds.

Not being aware of my plans for her, Ivy decided to go on a sleep strike, barely lasting to 2.5 hours, and I was in and out of her room like a yo yo, desperately (and unfairly) willing the boys to entertain themselves. Their method of doing so involved much chaos and mess, and they would inevitably gravitate towards Ivy’s room and I would hiss at them in a whisper to go and play somewhere else. They were playing on the bed in her room, wrestling and giggling, when one of them knocked the lamp over- right onto Ivy’s bassinet, narrowly missing her head. Horrified, I grabbed the lamp roughly and slammed it down… right onto my toe. I have no idea how I managed not to swear at that point but it hurt. like. hell! Then Eli sat really hard on Hudson’s ribs and I thought they might be broken. Needless to say we were all screaming/crying at one point…

Well, it was a downhill battle to keep control of my emotions and we only just made it to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in one piece. The day improved from there, thankfully, if only due to the fact that I had the accountability of someone else watching my parenting- it is amazing how that can help one’s self control!

Debriefing with Dave at the end of the day I confessed that I was so disappointed with myself again for losing it. I admitted that I was embarrassed to have to blog about my failure again and again and that I really should have this nailed by now! Dave put it into perspective when he suggested it may take until I am 40 for me to conquer this one… I sure hope not, but at least it gives me a bit more grace to try and improve before the decade is out!

For me, the best antidote to the cycle of rage/shame is to admit to it, allow myself to feel the heaviness and pain of disappointing myself and my family again, and to debrief with Dave and other mothers. Naomi came over today and it was so refreshing to chat honestly about our failures and struggles as mothers and humans. She is a massive inspiration to me as she does such an amazing job of living her values, and always being honest and vulnerable about where she is at. We have made a pact to embark together on a yelling fast for a month. 
Another helpful approach has been to repeat various mantras to myself when I’m tempted to let loose. “It’s just mess”, “People come first” and “Embrace the chaos” are the phrases of choice at the moment. This goes some way to changing my perspective and not viewing the kids as an obstacle to my desires for an ordered and clean existence. 
A big part of this blog is reminding myself that life is more than the sum of my failures as a mother. When I look back over photos in the entries I feel somewhat reassured that we did have some good times and actually, the majority of our days are pleasurable and meaningful. 

I love computer games. Moving up levels, getting stronger and more skilled as the story progresses. Motherhood is nothing like that. One moment you can be blissfully gazing at your children wondering how you can be so lucky, and the next you find your fists clenched with frustration as you wonder how many times you have to ask for them to perform one simple task.

I found a poem about this conundrum earlier this week and it is so perfectly expressed that I had to share it. Even if only so I can find it again to remind myself that the beautiful chaos is normal. That ‘brutiful’ (a mash up of beautiful and brutal as coined by Glennon Melton over at Momastery) is and should be the every day. Perfection or achieving new ‘levels’ of motherhood is not realistic, unless it is new levels of self awareness and understanding of one’s shadow self.

This is Motherhood

A discarded spoon.  

A sly smile and peanut butter mustache.
This is Motherhood.
Profound and ordinary. Whole and complete.
I am coffee, and bubbles and comfortable shoes and memories of first kicks and chubby little baby feet. I am resourceful and creative. I am cluttered and chaos and Trash trucks ready for take off. Boredom. Enraptured. Tired. Bliss.
I love them so much there’s a constant and lingering ache in my chest. An ache that keeps me warm and gives me purpose and helps the world make sense even when it possibly couldn’t.
I am muddy toes and a ring around the bath tub. I am dirty laundry and a full sink.
This is Motherhood.
Feeling exhausted, guilty, frustrated, empty, incapable and alone. Feeling giddy with love, grateful, proud, connected and strong.
I am Monday morning and a Friday afternoon. I am love and light. They are God and magic. I am teacher and student. They are happy. And so am I.

I am angry and impatient. I yell too much and am just not cut out to do this. To be this.

I am calm and peaceful, sweet and loving and filled with gratitude so enormous it is not possible to explain. They really are mine God? Thank you.
I am awesome. I am a train wreck. I am tears. I am laughter. I am take out. I am organic. I am lost. I have never been more myself. I am a million different things in the span of an hour.
This is Motherhood.

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