Last night I raised the white flag of surrender. The chaos of motherhood just about had me un-done.
After a busy morning at the office and an afternoon working from home, I was ready to wind down for the evening. My husband had life coaching sessions at the office all evening, so it was just me with the kids. Instead of the usual quick dinner of quesadillas or mac & cheese, I decided to try a new recipe.
The Sour Cream Layered Enchilada Casserole turned out like this:
In my 5 year old’s words…”ick, watery”. Despite the dish sharing all the same ingredients of other Mexican-style foods we love, the kids wouldn’t touch it.
While I was cooking said dinner, the kids managed to destroy Salem’s (previously clean) room in a matter of minutes. According to Salem, her horses were ill and needed “doctoring”. Maybe we have a future veterinarian on our hands…or just a kid who likes to be in charge. Time will tell.
Kai was not nearly as interested in helping the horses and instead preferred to ride them around her room before launching into his now famous “goodnight” song he’s composed on the guitar.
The lyrics are tough….”goooooood-niiiiiight, goooooood-niiiiiight, goooooood-niiiiiight” sung at the top of your lungs. While he seems to think it’s the perfect bedtime song, I’d think twice before screaming that at the top of your lungs to your child before bed. Just sayin’.
After heading back to the kitchen to check on dinner, all of a sudden I heard crying because Salem has fallen off of a box I’ve told her multiple times not to use as a stool and has a pretty nasty bruise and a little scrape on her leg. I sent her to get her own band-aid.
Go ahead…I’ll wait while you give me the mom-of-the-year award!
Then the kids decided they’d rather hang out with me in the kitchen while dinner is cooking and pull out all our plastic dishware. You know, because they don’t have enough toys and “this is way more fun, mom.” Kai managed to make a pretty rad looking choo-choo train by stacking the cups on top of the bowls and Salem came behind him and turns his masterpiece into this:
And now you can imagine the outcry from Kai. If you’re having trouble imaging, you haven’t heard a 2 year old pitch a fit lately. It’s epic. Cue 2 year old being sent to the corner for time out because tantrums are not an okay way to handle your frustration (and this momma just couldn’t handle the screaming anymore…).
Once dinner was done (and before I realized it was a total fail), I wrangled the kids up to the kitchen bar. Thankfully I convinced Kai to strap himself into his booster seat (because he’s way too big for me to strap him in…”me do it, mommy”) and in approximately 2.5 seconds after I gave the kids an alternate dinner of cereal and juice, this happened:
I snapped it quickly on my old iphone3, so you might need a little guidance as to what’s going on in the picture.
- Notice the broken juice glass on the floor. Yes, it’s from my favorite set from Target from when we got married. 11 years later there are only 3 out of a set of 8 left. I’ll give you three guesses as to what happened to the rest of them. But I’d bet you can figure that one out on your own!
- Notice the Cheerios on the floor. After the glass broke and while I was getting the broom, apparently Kai decided it’d be fun to toss Cheerios all over the kitchen like confetti. Hmm, I could think of lots of things more entertaining…if he’d only asked me first…
- Notice the Cheerios ON HIS HEAD. No joke. He was putting the Cheerios on his head, then shaking his head to make them fall on the floor. I can’t make this stuff up people. What can I say, his name means “son of laughter”. Maybe he was just trying to live up to his daddy’s antics.
At this point in the evening I was just done. Over it. Ready to give up my “mother” title and hand it over to someone else.
But then, on top of everything else, I heard the words, “My tongue is fuzzy, mom.” Turns out that Salem had an allergic reaction to something she had eaten, so I couldn’t give up the “mom” title quite yet. One dose of Benadryl for her and a good sweeping of the kitchen floor later, I headed to put the little man to bed. At 7:00. Yes, I know, that’s not bedtime…but it was last night!
Things settled down after that and I took some time to clean up the kitchen. I turned on my favorite Pandora station for when I need to chill out (Aaron Keyes, if you’re wondering) and did the dishes. Nope, it wasn’t what I felt like doing, but it was the next task that needed to be done.
In reflecting on the utter chaos of the evening, I thought through all the ways I’ve handled the stress of motherhood on days like this in the past.
- Scream and yell
- Throw something (or at least I wanted to!)
- Leave the room (or the house)
- Give up and “check out” (aka: retreat to scrolling on Facebook or Twitter)
My some miracle, instead of resorting to one of these options last night, I waved the white flag of surrender and chose a better option.
I changed my perspective.
Instead of viewing the chaos through the lens of frustration, I chose to re-frame the situation and focus on the positive. Gratitude can do wonders for your mindset!
- Sure, the new recipe was a bust, but at least we had other food in the house to eat.
- Yes, Salem’s room is a mess, but it’s filled with toys and books we’ve received as gifts from others.
- Yep, that was one of my favorite glasses that’s now smashed to pieces and there are probably still stray Cheerios hiding under the breakfast bar in the kitchen, but at least the kids didn’t get hurt and messes can be cleaned up.
- It’s definitely frustrating that Salem can have an allergic reaction to food and I have no idea what caused it, but I’m thankful it wasn’t a serious reaction and she’s otherwise a healthy kiddo.
- And yes, I was exhausted after all of this chaos (I’m growing a baby too, remember!), but I cleaned up the kitchen anyway because a tidy house equals a calm momma in the morning and I’d like to start off the next day well.
Adjusting our perspective seems simple enough, but it can be SO HARD to do in the moment.
God’s been growing me in this area for at least the last year. This re-adjusting, re-framing, and re-evaluating of each situation is a process that’s breaking me into a million pieces.
Because my autopilot response to chaos is frustration and anger. The kind of anger that stems from an “I don’t deserve this” attitude. And while anger itself isn’t sin, my reaction to it…well, it was…and still is at times.
Currently this is the verse playing over and over in my mind. I’m learning that God’s word is the only anecdote to my fleshly reaction to chaos in the everyday.
Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature. Romans 12:2
I’m excited to start sharing more of this journey I’ve been on related to gaining perspective in the midst of our everyday situations. There are so many tools, resources, and strategies we can use to maintain a healthy perspective and I can’t wait to share them with you!
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Already with me on the journey? What are some ways you maintain a healthy perspective in the middle of your chaotic life? Share in the comments and let’s encourage one another.