March 30, 2010

An extra-ordinary experiment.

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Today has been one of those take a step forward take MANY steps backward...
you know those days?

Oh sigh, I'm glad I actually have the motivation to even attempt to get a lot done but I think that frustrates me even more. I have all this drive and can not get ANYWHERE or anything done.


Pretty much any progress I make I turn around and that much more has been messed up in another room. It's nothing new, it's the same old story every Mom shrugs about.

I remind myself I have four kids and a job, and a husband that works long hours. It's hard, though. I should be able to do this.

I want to be able to do more than keep up. I want to be ahead!

But I can't even see the middle of the road, let alone the finish line.

Maybe it's the Venti latte I just had or the music playing right now or the breeze and the open window, but the pile of colored papers and stickers on the dining table makes me happy, really. It means we've had less TV time and more creative moments.


The dollies on the floor make my heart swell. I have a girl! And she plays with dollies.


The dishes in the sink, well, there's not much that makes me happy about that but I guess I am glad we use so many pots and pans- it means less convenience foods, it means meals are prepared here.


I wonder if motherhood has made me lazy, or apathetic to the dis-order.

Ivy and I sat and ran our fingers through buttons for the longest time the other day. Picking out the pretty ones, me teaching her colors, her showing me she knows not to put them in her mouth, me watching her turn from baby to girl.

I dry the tears from a broken cabbage plant, a school project that didn't quite survive the ride home on the bus. I put it in a pickle jar, and I'll try to save it.


I zip up a jacket, I velcro some shoes, I re-attach a Lego guy arm, I re-fill more juice, I re-place a battery, for the umpteenth time.

In the middle of finally tackling whatever it was I finally have a moment to do, everyone will want to go outside. And it's a beautiful day. And I choose who [or what] I say no to.

You know who wins.

ahlifes

I'll try again tomorrow or maybe the next day. Me in my pickle jar, watch me grow.

45 comments:

  1. your outlook on life today - I love it very much.

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  2. This is exactly how I imagine motherhood. In the never-caught-up but understanding that what you would have to give up to be "caught up" is never worth it. That the moments you choose and steal instead are exactly what define you as a wonderful parent; what will define your children as splendid human beings.
    We'll see if I like it so much when it's my home in some state of dissaray. :)

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  3. I feel the same way, but sometimes being caught up means missing moments with Ian and those moments are priceless.

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  4. I feel this way every night when I go through the list of stuff I was supposed to get done, but forgot to do or couldn't get to because I spent hours in the yard playing with the two kids and the garden hose. Or, I went to Disneyland rather than working on a marketing letter. Or I decided to play with Legos with my son instead of, well, everything.

    This time slips away so quickly. They will only be with me for such a short time. The marketing letter will be there. The to do list isn't going to go away, but these precious days will, they already are going away so quickly.

    I am glad that I get to savor them, each and every one.

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  5. You've got the right attitude about this. I am so in tune with that. I've realized that cleaning and getting the to-do list done has it's place, but moments that have nothing to do with cleanliness are what really matter. The moments where you trip on a fire truck, and send Legos flying across the floor. It's these moments we get to enjoy the fact that we're blessed enough to HAVE babies. We've got this amazing gift, and only when the evidence is all around us can we truly appreciate it....and YOU do. That's why I love your blog. And you.

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  6. I love the way you write about the real-ness of motherhood.

    Very honest, beautiful, and always so true. :-)

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  7. Very well written, Steph.

    You know what? I'm a crappy housekeeper, my dinners mediocre sometimes and every once in awhile I let the kids stay up too late to snuggle on the couch with me.

    But in 20 years, when my babies are gone, my house is gonna be spotless.

    And I'm going to be oh so sad in my oh so clean house.

    xo-z

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  8. I have had that day. The want or need to go forward but soooo many steps backward instead. Honestly I've had a few of those in a row and it has began to wear on me. So much to catch up on with all of us all being sick one after another and then repeat.

    This post is so refreshing though. A moment my soul needed to remind me I'm not the only mom who experiences this feeling. I've taken a deep breath and life looks a little shinier now.

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  9. I read this on my phone earlier and it made me so happy. I am so thankful that you are cherishing these moments and I am sure you are too.

    xo

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  10. Wow! This is exactly how I felt today! I think I had 2 steps forward and 15 back. It was the car today that wouldn't start that set me back. Although it was probably one of the 4 kids that didn't get the door shut that ran down the battery! Oh well, it was still a great day. Played games & we got to walk to preschool and enjoy the great weather!

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  11. oh yes, i know those days. how we'll miss them!

    i went to clean fish bowls today & clay looked at me and bobbed his head. he wanted to dance. so we did. i'm so thankful for that dirty fish bowl.

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  12. We have many of those days (and I've been meaning to put together a jar of buttons! It's the neatest feeling to put your fingers through them...)
    And yes, dollies! Love little girls and dollies, such a treat.

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  13. Goodness, this is wonderful. You are more amazing and wonderful and loving and LOVE than you will ever know.

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  14. Yes, I can relate so much. The dishes in the sink, the paint and the scraps of paper on the table, the dolls on the floor... all a testiment to more homemade food, more creative play, more time together. This is a stage. It will be over and we will miss it. Seize the day, dear friend! :-)

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  15. I was feeling this just today. I had big plans to get a handle on things this week and especially today...but then Jessica woke up with a cold nothing major but a I need my momma all day long cold and now a fever. So I was there for her. The other things can wait and everyone was fed and even some laundry was done. I love toddler snuggles (well really all my kids' snuggles) even when sick.

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  16. You really are such an amazing writer. This is just beautiful, like you.

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  17. Oh man, I could have written all those things. That blasted to-do list.

    Hey, we had some squeaky shoes (red) that Adelaide danced all over the house with but they really were going to be too small too soon, so I sent them back. Fun, aren't they?!

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  18. yes yes yes. to all of it. (except the dolly part. we have one doll, and she's naked and missing an arm. whoops!) But really - as always, I'm right there with you on this one, girl. In fact, earlier this week I just posted my confessions of things I do or have done (shortcuts, mistakes, whatever) that I declaring I won't feel guilty about. Stuff just like this. Love it, Steph.

    xo elizabeth

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  19. I can't wait to have kids.

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  20. I loved this, and needed it today :)

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  21. Yep, know those days well. :)

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  22. Beautiful way to put into words the frustration I often feel. Being home and having my daughter call me to the living room to laugh and talk makes it all worth while.

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  23. This is beautiful. This is what no one told us about motherhood, but no one can understand it until they are there. I love your outlook on the frustration of not having enough minutes in the day (and I love the button bowl idea - trying to teach my little guy colors this might be a fun way to do it!!)

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  24. We had the same cabbage plant debacle. Ours is coming along nicely now, hope yours does too. :)

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  25. awesome post Steph. it's sometimes so hard to get "real" stuff done. but then you realize that you're spending time with your kids or making memories. or just having fun.

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  26. Yes, the stop-go-stop nature of motherhood. Yes, this is it exactly.

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  27. I so love the way you write--and often it is so right on the money with how I feel.

    Love the button picture.

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  28. this is so wonderfully said. sometimes i feel like i am really behind on doing stuff around here because i am just playing all day. with my kids of course. then i realize in 15 years, they will be too big for me to play with and the mess will just have to wait.
    some days i just have to hold my baby because he definitely loves to be held (the 1st of my 3 who has)and i couldnt be happier sitting among the mess!

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  29. You have such a knack for turning the everyday drone into something so much more...beautiful? Meaningful? Or just so much more.

    Your writing inspires me.

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  30. Ooh I definitely have days like this... never quite getting on top of things... always folding laundry, always trying to wash that last dish, then G will tug at my pants, sign for milk and say 'Hi!' and none of it matters anymore!

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  31. You described being a mom in the best way... we have so much do, all the time, the commitments, the things we had planned, the work left to do. But when the children need us, we should be in the moment. Enjoy that time. The dishes can wait, right?

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  32. Nice post. I may be a little further down the road with a 15yo, 10yo, &6yo. I was just thinking today about the joy of small moments and how we all ignore that well meant advice to sleep when the baby sleeps. Now I think, I should have taken more naps - with my baby. Those early months are a blur now, and I certainly don't remember if my house was clean or if anything else got done. I do remember vividly the pleasing weight and sweetness of a sleeping baby on my chest and kissing fat cheeks. Being present is always preferable to catching up or getting ahead.

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  33. What a lovely post! I know EXACTLY what you mean.

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  34. {sigh}

    Steph. Just yes. I have tears this hits me SO hard. and just yes.

    Loves you.

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  35. It it totally wrong to look at this, and see all the cuteness and the honesty, and have my comment be: I want your buttons? :-)

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  36. any day spent sorting buttons is a good day indeed.

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  37. A great post on moments of being a mom.... It doesn't get much better then this!

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  38. This was WONDERFUL!! I can definitely relate...but I only have two kids.

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  39. I agree, kids grow so fast, I see my mom who has a perfect little house ... clean and tidy, time to do the things she wants AND she complains that she is bored. She loves for my children (her grandchildren) to come mess things up and keep her busy. My day will come when I have all that time ... until then I will enjoy my children. For me that is what being a parent is all about.

    I love how you word everything!

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  40. Oh you. I love this. One of my very most favorites, I think. It's how you spin the words and bring life to the page. I just love it.

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  41. It's a matter of your perspective - who says you aren't keeping up? Only you so change your perspective and change your life. Think of the special things you remember from growing up, now think of what your wonderful kids will remember. Will they remember a spotless, boring house? Will they even remember dishes in the sink or what wonderful goodies were in those dishes? One of the memories I have that I don't like is the rigidity we had of cleaning the house every single Saturday even though many people would stop over on Saturday to visit, like Grandma and Grandpa Wilson and Uncle Buddy. To this day I dislike cleaning, especially on a Saturday.

    Just think, if you had a broken leg how many helpers you would have to keep you entertained and fetch you all the things that are out of reach.

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  42. I can so relate. I'm sure once I'm all caught up (maybe even ahead), I'll be so sad that my babies no longer need me as much. :)

    For now, I just try to enjoy the chaos!

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