Yesterday was exhausting.
And so was the day before. And um, if I'm honest...all my days have been lately.
And it's not just because we have six kids. You may not believe me but truly, I've gotten pretty used to that fact and it's not all that big a deal anymore. They have their responsibilities and chores. They help take care of one another and around the house. They're all buddies (which I realize is pretty incredible) and love hanging out together.
The energy level is sometimes tiring, as is keeping a schedule for this many people. But that's life as normal for us. It's not what's putting me over the edge right now.
What's putting me over the edge is an overly curious toddler.
And she is every bit as draining as she is darling.
Let me be real with you for a minute.
It was Monday evening, Ben wasn't yet home from work. I was beginning to fix dinner and had it cooking on the stove. I look down and Elsabet (who is 20 months old), has opened our spice drawer and dumped out an entire Costco sized container of seasoning. Aaaahhhhh! Ok, run through the laundry room to the garage to grab the broom. And the vacuum.
We just adopted a tiny little kitten a few days ago. It's all so new and sweet Elsabet is so curious, that we have been keeping the door to the laundry room closed because of kitty's food, water, litter box, etc. But of course in my haste, I left the laundry room door wide open. I know you see where this is going. As I'm trying to figure out how to best clean up this big pile of powdery spice on both the kitchen rug and hardwood floors, Imani calls me. "Moooom, Elsabet is in the laundry room making a messsss!"
As I run to see what she's talking about, I catch little Elsabet EATING poop out of the litter box (yep, awesome). As I quickly grab her from standing in the middle of the litter box sand, we head over to the sink to wash out her mouth, soap up her hands, remove her soiled socks, and so on.
After putting Elsabet down to play with Imani and some of their favorite Dollies, I head back to the laundry room to assess the damage. Litter everywhere. Sweet girl has even filled poor Slippers' tiny food and water dishes with litter so I grab everything off the floor so I can sweep in there, too.
Setting my armload of cat-things out of Elsabet's reach on the kitchen table, I bring the broom from my half-finished spice cleanup job in to clean up the newest mess.
Meanwhile, dinner begins bubbling over and I turn to tend to it for a moment before it completely burns.
Hearing a strange sound, I turn to see Elsabet climbing from a chair and up onto the kitchen table, lapping up the litter-filled water bowl like she was a cat herself. "Elsabet, no!" I dash over and retrieve her from the table, placing her in the other room where the kids are playing & studying.
While I'm once again scurrying around in an attempt to clean everything up before she or the cat or our dog OR the other kids track it all over the place, Elsabet quietly toddles over to the coffee table where Laith had just finished doing his homework. Finding a marker from who knows where, she scribbles all over the table as well as the homework. So much so in fact, you couldn't even read a single thing Laith had written. All his examples of the letter "J" were now covered in deep green marker.
So into her highchair she went, along with the television being turned on. Mommy needed a break. And perhaps a glass of wine. And a live-in maid. (wouldn't that be nice?!)
So Mamas, I get it. Some days stink. Some days seem long and never-ending. In fact, some seasons feel that way. Ever since Anton was in the hospital after his bike accident, I have been completely emotionally exhausted. It's a struggle to get out of bed in the morning and my patience level is waning.
I'm praying for strength and an extra dose of kindness, because sometimes I feel less than kind when I'm trudging through this type of Season.
But that's ok. We just need to continue taking time for our Heavenly Father by doing our Quiet Time daily. Shoot up those little "arrow prayers" like I talked about here. Be honest with Him about our struggles and not only ask Him for help, but be authentic to those around us.
If you'e struggling like I have been, please PLEASE don't hide it.
Give thanks for the opportunity to be real with the people around you.
We need to tell our friends, our sister, our mother. Someone close by who can help whether through encouragement or baby sitting or something else. We need to be honest with our husbands. Not in a complainy way, but it's important to be honest about our struggles.
Maybe find a Mother's Helper (someone who just comes in a few hours from time to time to help with the kids and around the house). Perhaps hire a high schooler to come fold the laundry or help the kids with homework while you cook dinner. They're out there. Ask around. (totally talking to myself in this too, btw) If you're on a budget like we are, don't stress...these are not things that need to break the bank. An hour here and there a week. We can do that, right?
Each day is a new day. Today has been better, thank the Lord.
I still woke earlier than I'd hoped because Elsabet and Imani still haven't gotten used to the whole Time Change thing, but Ben and I started our day together. Spending a few quiet moments in the freshness of the morning, before the rest of The Crazies woke and the real chaos of the day began.
I'm giving thanks to Him for the beauty in the mess around me. And continuing to pray minute-by-minute for renewed strength and kindness and patience.
And The Lord is graciously giving it.
He'll give it to you, too.