Thursday, March 21, 2013

It's Just Me

Being a mom is great, really, really great.  And being a mom is hard, sometimes, too.  And sometimes being a mom isn't really great or hard, it's just sort of a big mess and you're the only one around to clean it up.

There are moments every now and then when a series of events will occur that leave me looking over my shoulder, as if deep down inside I can't believe that no one is coming to help me figure out what to do, where to start sorting out the mess that has been made.  No one ever comes.  So finally a mother just has to roll up her sleeves and get to work.  It can be very messy, dirty, slimy, stinky, crusty, germ infested work.

This morning Heather woke up first.  She had a little breakfast with Daddy while Mommy snatched a few extra minutes.  Those extra minutes are my favorite.  Then he brought her to me, a squirming mass of pink ballerina pj's and kissed me goodbye.  Hallie came hopping in the room a few minutes later, and we all got up to have breakfast.  Hallie was telling me some story about how she looked in Hanna's bed but all she saw was chocolate.  I didn't listen much.  Heather was being clingy and cried when I put her down, but her four molars popping through notwithstanding, sometimes I can't make oatmeal with one hand.

Then we heard Hanna's footsteps.  Down the stairs she stomped, and down the hall to the kitchen where we had congregated.  She walked into the light of the kitchen, the rest of the house still shrouded in winter morning darkness, and I almost dropped Heather, who I was again holding.

She had something brown and crusty smeared all over her pajamas, and her hair had bits of the chocolate?  in clumps here and there as well.  In addition to the clumps her hair had gone wild, like a tiny person with dreadlocks.  And she excitedly proclaimed, "Mommy! There's chocolate all over my bed!"

Except that really, it didn't smell quite like chocolate.  Hanna is a recent graduate of the school of potty training, and I wondered if maybe one small lesson had been overlooked.  "Hanna, did you make a poo in your bed?" I asked, holding my breath, praying, and crossing my fingers that she would answer in the negative.

"No, Mommy, but I was just getting worried that I would make a peepee, so I need to go sit on the potty."  I sighed a deep sigh of relief, and told her to go sit on the toilet while I looked at this so called chocolate on her bed.

Up the stairs I trudged, Heather in tow, my body weary from p90x and this mysterious cold that won't go away, and oh did I mention it was snowing outside, a white blanket covering the earth?  Happy Day After the First Day of Spring everybody.

And then I saw her bed.  Bits of brown chunks were everywhere, strewn about as if they had been propelled from somewhere with explosive force.  And then I noticed the chunks of spaghetti noodles.  We had spaghetti for dinner last night.

This is me.  This is my job.  I stand there staring at it, imagining what the morning will look like.  I get to clean that up, and clean up Hanna, all the while trying to keep Heather from getting in it, listening to her scream because she wants to be held but I can't hold her and clean up dried and crusty vomit, and Hallie telling me every story she's ever heard, wanting me to respond but I can't think of reasonable responses to stories about her imaginary friends that go on and on and on and have no beginning and no end when I am knee deep in the smelly result of someone's sickness.

I closed my eyes, and took a deep breath.  It's just you.  That's it.  You are the first line of defense around here, and the last.  You are the peace keeper, the maid, the cook, the janitor, the referee, and this mess will not go away unless you do something about it.  Square your shoulders. Straighten your spine.  Get to work, mommy.

But first I went back downstairs where Hanna had just finished using the potty.  She was starving, so I thought it couldn't hurt too much to let her eat a little bit of breakfast, and then put her in the bathtub while I cleaned up the mess.  Sitting across the table from her I stared at her wild hair, teased out in vomit curls.

Eating breakfast with a little girl with vomit curls.  Yeah man, the vomit curls.  I don't know if they were the best part of the experience, or the worst.

I am the mom.  And for most of the day, it's just me around here trying to keep it all together.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Alisha. I could use it this morning!

  2. I sorta wish I could see how crazy she looked. But I am also grateful you didn't post any pics. Ha! Hope your day gets better.

  3. I... just... love you. I do. To hear the words and thoughts of women who put themselves on the back burner for someone else every day is inspiring. You may think it isn't, but it is. It is because it lets me know that just because I will hopefully have kids someday, that doesn't mean a switch gets flipped and I will automatically have Disney-like zeal for chores like cleaning up vomit and diarrhea. You are inspiring because you are real. You show me that it's okay to not like those things, to feel brain dead when people don't stop talking to me, and to know I'm not the only one who's faced with unpleasantries that I have to grit my teeth and do by myself. This was just what I needed to read this morning. Thank you for doing what you do every day. You are a great example to me.

  4. I know! Where is everybody? I know there are people sitting around who could help me, where did they go? I totally get the looking over the shoulder thing.

  5. Thanks for sharing that, Ames. I bet the vomit curls were awesome. And I really appreciate reading this as I am slowly beginning to realize what having three kids really means. I am really glad that it was vomit on the bed and not poop everywhere. Can you imagine if the same amount of poop had been everywhere?

    The messes never end.

    I will be really sad though when the day comes that I can no longer fix all their hurts with a kiss and all their fears with a hug.