It was just one of those days.
All day it was a battle – swimming upstream – trying to gain footing. I moved around the house, me, the grumbling mom. I grumbled about the ballet/yoga mat left on the ground, about the dishes left on the table, about the shoes spread about, about the too loud of voices, and the laundry to do, about the little boys who needed snack after snack, about the tight finances, about, oh about almost everything.
I was getting myself worked up in one of those overwhelmed grumbling mom pity parties.
Then I looked at the wall leading from my main level upstairs. There were handprints all over the wall. The one that I had just, mind you, washed down a couple weeks prior.
Boys, I told you to not run your hands along the wall.
I grumbled as I picked up the rag and started to wash down those taupe colored walls. I grumbled as I looked at the top of the stairs and saw a pile of legos sitting there and a pair of shorts thrown in the corner. I grumbled as I scrubbed away the dirt and those handprints and then – then I stopped.
I looked at the handprint. A four year old handprint. And I started to tear up.
When, today, did I resort to becoming the grumbling mom?
The days will come when I won’t ever have to wash the walls until the days that I repaint come up again. In fact, that four year old will grow. He’s growing right before my eyes. As I slowly wiped the dirt from the walls, my heart was convicted.
I don’t want to be the grumbling mom.
If my house is spotless but I grumbled my way to get it there is it really worth it? Is it worth me getting all anxiety ridden over all there is to do if I end up forgetting the hearts of the little ones that I’ve been given the privilege of parenting? I just let the exhaustion of the day creep into my demeanor. I lost that spark, that joy of motherhood.
That’s so not my heart.
My heart is to be intentional.
Awake. I don’t want to be like the mom that I heard just yesterday in Target yell to her four year old looking son you’re such a jerk. I hate that. Yet, my grumbling demeanor from this afternoon conveyed this temporary exasperation with motherhood, with them, and made me seem discontent, irritated, and ungrateful.
Life just gets overwhelming at times.
Yes, there’s the mothering part – which is overwhelming enough – but then you’ve got life on top of it. Finances, relationships, that massive and never ending to-do list, work or not work, the house to manage and laundry and the yard to care for and all you need to do. And then again, on top of it all, you’re a mom. And somedays it becomes the day where one, like myself, wants to throw in the towel.
But, I couldn’t. So instead, I grumbled.
Until I realized that I’m given one shot at this mothering thing – not in the guilt don’t ever mess up way but in the realization that those kids aren’t going to wait to grow up until I get my life circumstances straightened out. They’re growing up now. In front of me. And they’re watching me. They’re watching me grumble about fingerprints on the wall, and the yoga mat, and making dinner. I don’t want to habitually grumble on a hard day.
So I made myself stop.
There’s a difference between grumbling and parenting. So I don’t want them to touch the wall with the muddy hands – then we talk it over. I don’t grumble. All the grumbling does is suck all the joy, all the zest for life right out of this house. I have the power, as the mom, to rise above all this stuff and to live intentionally and joyfully and filled with hope despite the circumstances.
So, to break the pattern of the tedious and challenging day, I stopped my grumbling, looked at those wonderful gifts that I’m blessed to parent, and made some cookies. Simple, I know. But, truly baking and giving of self took the focus off of me and my grumbling mood and redirected my energy to them and to all that was good. After those morsels cooled I called out to that same four year old who left the muddy handprints on the walls to come and get a cookie. He looked at me with the such joy and came running to get his cookie and milk.
We sat outside.
Me, the no longer grumbling mom, and my four year old who was dipping his cookie away. Milk spilled and splashed, but I didn’t care. He, my Elijah, was more important than that milk. He was more important than the handprints on the wall. Sitting there, watching him, I realized that my teenage daughter was more important than the yoga mat, the boys more important than the cereal dishes on the table, and those loud voices that I had been trying to quiet all rainy day long mattered to me. My family wins over grumbling mom – even on those really hard motherhood days.
So yes, that. Humbled, again. Motherhood has a way of teaching us about ourselves. But I know in sharing it can help us all to step back, pause and look at our day.
And truly that grumbling – it wasn’t their mindset that needed to change, but rather mine.
So grace and blessings to you as you parent away. And if you ever find yourself in one of those days – make cookies. For some reason that always seems to help.