This was a full bag of chips. Brand new. Opened about five minutes ago. I walked away from a bag that I thought was safely on the counter, then while completing another task I heard:
crinkle crinkle crinkle
WHSOSOSHSHSOISHSHHSH (the sound an entire bag of chips being dumped out upon itself from four feet in the air)
tappitysmack (the sound of the empty bag landing on a pile of chips)
After one yelp of “Noooooo!” coming from my lips, I died laughing. Of course the bag of chips would dump if it was full. Empty bags don’t have the decency to make little messes while the full ones are there. I have no idea what made it suddenly turn over and spill out, but since I’m the last person to touch the bag, it’s probably something to do with how I left the bag.
I saved most of the chips, as the majority of the chips fell upon other chips, and those bottom chips landed upon a mostly-clean blanket. I have no qualms about eating close-to-the-floor chips, though I won’t serve them to guests.
But this episode got me thinking, what if this happened and I wasn’t a mom? I feel like there are so many things that I now don’t freak out about after doing the mom gig for two years, and I think these are the most important requirements for momhood.
What momhood has taught me I need:
I NEED TO LAUGH.
Laugh when something (non-dangerous) spills. Spills are funny. If you have a dog, 99% of the time you don’t have to clean it up anyways, and if it’s not breastmilk there is definitely no reason to cry.
Laugh when poo gets places you never knew poo could. Or breastmilk. Or spitup, or drool, or anything else gross. It’s actually pretty funny, and messes are cleanable. Embrace your inner eight-year-old who loves fart jokes.
Laugh when your toddler says “Pull my finger!” during the quietest, most solemn part of Mass. Multiple times. Loudly.
I NEED TO REMEMBER THAT CHILDREN ARE WASHABLE.
Children make messes. Children adore messes. Did you know yogurt was basically food paint? I didn’t, but my toddler did. The good news is that children are completely, 100% washable with mild soap and water, and occasionally a washcloth is required for spots that need extra scrubbing.
That brand new, adorable outfit? It’s gonna get ketchup on it. It doesn’t matter that the child has a bib on that covers his entire torso, ketchup will get SOMEWHERE on that outfit if it is served. And that’s ok. Ketchup washes out.
Mud will eventually get on Sunday clothes. That’s ok. Better to have an amazingly good time with church friends than to sit quietly, annoyed you can’t play because the outfit is too nice to breathe in.
Oh that reminds me, clothes are washable, too. *gasp* Who knew??
I NEED TO EMBRACE MY MOM-TYPE.
I will never be a Type-A, Montessori-style mom. I just won’t. I am a full-fledged Type-B, make-up-fun-plans-as-we-go kind of mom. I’m a toys everywhere mom. I’m a crafty mom. I’m a teaching mom. I’m a read-a-story mom. I’m a last-minute-playground-day mom. I’m a mom who prefers to cuddle and play on the floor than stick to a strict schedule (though I do try to keep meals, naps, and daily routines like getting dressed, bathtime, and bedtime regulated, as I’ve found that does help my kiddos have a better day). I’m a mom who would rather have quality time with her kids and be happy then cry at the end of the day because I feel like I can’t keep up with other people’s Type-A expectations of what MY mom-life should look like. Which leads to….
I NEED TO REMEMBER THAT IF MY KIDS ARE HEALTHY, HAPPY, GROWING, AND LEARNING, THEN WE ARE DOING GOOD.
My husband has to remind me sometimes that yes, there are toys everywhere, and the dishes didn’t get cleaned before bedtime, but I spent time with our kids and they feel safe, loved, and are happy. They are passing milestones early. I’m good at teaching, and don’t have to rack my brain to notice “this is a teachable moment” so my kid gets his daily dose of learning. I just… do it. It’s party of my mom-style, and if my kids are doing well, I know that I am doing a good job.
I NEED TO ACCEPT HELP.
Ah, my biggest struggle. Notice it doesn’t say “ask” for help. I suck at that, too. Both my husband and my best friend have emphasized to me recently that I need to ASK for help, and that asking is not a sign of failure (because in my mind, it totally is). Accepting help should not make me feel hours of slimy guilt in my gut, though it does. I’m getting better. And thankfully I have a hubby who will rub my shoulders when I feel like I a guilty failure (which I believe is the cure for both feelings), and friends who will randomly come over with wine and run loads of laundry without asking.
I NEED TO SNUGGLE.
Everyone benefits from snuggles. Right now I’m technically snuggling my baby as he sleeps strapped to my chest in a baby carrier. I love to snuggle my toddler when we read a book or watch a show (that latter one has been the norm this week because this Mama Bear has a head cold… ugh). Spouses like snuggles, too. And the dog. Everyone loves snuggles. I’m getting good at just going up to my husband and instead of griping, asking for a long hug. Best remedy ever.
I NEED TO PRAY.
And it’s perfectly acceptable for a mother’s prayer life to consist of two prayers:
“Lord, give me grace to handle this moment.”
“Lord, let my kids be okay, and grow to love you.”
That’s what I need to be a mom.
Laughter. Soap. Accept myself. See the successes. Help. Snuggles. Prayer.