You would think the act of mopping would be quite innocuous. Not so in our household. It turns out that the simple task of mopping can create havoc within mere hours.
I realised yesterday that both of my dire days of mothering were immediately preceded by mopping. Each crumb taunts me with its unwelcome presence on the perfectly shiny floor. Every drink spilt and morsel dropped hits that bit harder, and if deliberately done, pierces through my defenses of serenity in seconds.
Yes, I am aware of how anal I must sound! Nevertheless, Friday was not a great day by any measure. The first half was actually great, which is important to remember, lest the good moments get swept up in the vortex of the bad. In the calm before the storm Eli and I were enjoying playing with bubbles and I was thinking to myself how magical the hundreds of bubbles looked in the sky. Then, Eli tipped all the bubble mixture all over the deck and I told him it was all over. This resulted in screams, which woke Hudson up. Chaos and overreaction ensued.
I’m not sure why I find it so difficult to rescue the day once I lose it at the kids. Perhaps it is the guilt and shame over my actions, or the worry (as I look into their melancholy eyes) that that one outburst has irreversibly screwed them up, or the fact that Eli is a master of pressing buttons once they produce a reaction (just like his daddy :p)! Whatever it is, it is so easy to listen to the condemning whisper and write off the day as lost.
Happily though, I can report that this apparent failure of a day has not defined me as a mother and we have had a number of amazing days since then! In fact, the last two nights with the kids have been pretty horrendous sleep wise, with nightmares and fear from Eli and pain and teething for Hudson. Normally, this would dampen my outlook for the day and my sympathy for the offending sleeper with each infraction until my patience is completely worn thin. Not saying I have handled every moment with grace and poise, but the same incidents which would normally give rise to a flare of anger have been replaced with a sense of perspective on mess as transient and a product of eager, learning fingers. With a knowledge that calm responses to an already hazardous situation provide water to douse rather than a flame to cause a bonfire.
So what has changed? I can’t even take the credit for my newfound zen. Every morning I have been changing my rhythms to focus on the eternal first. Just reading even a few of Jesus’ words as my bleary eyes attempt to focus on the day seems to make a world of difference. Instead of “it’s WHAT bloody time in the morning!?” it is now more “today is a new day that will never be able to be repeated”. I have these moments every now and then of just ‘seeing’ my family as if I’m watching a movie of my life. The kids’ squeals of pure delight simply to play together and wrestle each other. Dave’s playfulness and love for both of them is so beautiful to watch. The innocent and cute phrases that Eli says out of the blue. Hudson’s look of unleashed joy when he catches your eye.
It’s great to be alive.