What You Thought You Wanted

A few months after my first was born my husband said, “It seems like you were happier when you were working than you are now that you stay home.” In other words, he punched me in the gut. I felt a defensive, sad, and guilty because in many ways he was right and I didn’t want to admit it. I’ve wanted to stay home with my kids all my life – I wouldn’t trade it for the world or the paycheck or the 9 to 5 adult conversation. But it was true – I was stressed and often unhappy. My baby had reflux and I had overactive let-down and excess milk. He cried a LOT. He didn’t gain weight well. We went through three to five outfits each a day, multiple sheets, all the burp rags, and a ton of laundry detergent. I was exhausted. I carried him around non-stop and adored him like I’d never loved anyone before, but all the same – I missed adult interaction, using my mind, doing what I was good at (I didn’t feel very good at motherhood), taking a break, and being challenged.

Things got better and easier and the stress lessened (slightly) and changed (every day). I started volunteering as director and teacher for a local ESL program. Malachi got a prescription and my boobs calmed the heck down so he was able to sleep, gain weight, and eat in peace. I fell more and more and more and more in love with my son. I stopped bleeding and started napping and things got a LOT better. But I was shocked – shocked – at how much I missed my job.

From the time I was a child I knew I wanted to be a teacher until I hit middle school and felt called to missions. So it was no small providence that I combined both and ended up teaching English to international students. I loved it. I loved them. I was good at it and I thrived on it. Teaching ESL became a huge part of my identity. And teaching was the first job I ever enjoyed. I loved what I did and I loved who I worked with. My happiest memories of that job are the summer I worked 60 hours a week, even though I never slept or cooked anything decent. I fully expected to fall in love with my baby and be overjoyed to be home with him – and that happened. But I didn’t expect to grieve the loss of my job – which also happened.

After Malachi got older I started wanting to work part-time, teaching one or two clases a week. I knew I would like spending the majority of my time at home but also to go back to a job, ministry really, that was so fulfilling to me. The thought still appeals to me. I tried and asked and searched and attempted to tutor for a while but still there was nothing.

Then this past summer my old job offered me a class – one I had taught before and loved. I was thrilled – I nailed down childcare and talked to Jeremy and got way ahead of myself in my excitement. But after a lot of prayer and thought and agony, I turned it down. The timing was bad, the commute was bad, and it would have been really weirdly hard on my kids because of all the minutae.

Within a week a new ESL program was created in the city. It was intended as an adult community outreach. The faculty were diverse, it was close to my neighborhood, and they used curriculum I have used and taught before. I applied and interviewed and nervously waited and prayed. After my interview I discovered that although it was only 6 hours a week and payed well, it was during the worst possible 6 hours of my week it could be. I wanted the job but I didn’t want the job and I warred with myself over it while I waited for a call. Then finally I got the call and they had offered the job to someone else. My pride took a blow but my heart felt relief, and once again I was shocked.

Over the past few years my heart and mind have grieved and let go of my old job. I still miss it, but not in the same way. Letting go of a job and having a child is similar to letting go of your only child and having a second – the relatioship changes, who you are changes, and the adjustment is wonderful and priceless but also painful and surprising. I’ve also gotten really, really stupidly busy. I volunteer too much and take too much on and when I get stressed and overwhelmed it strains my relationships at home. Over the summer everything went on hiatus – both my volunteer positions, Malachi’s pre-school, Bible study, and at least half of our small groups. And it was wonderful. I had so much more patience with my kids, and we spent so much more quality time together. We baked cookies and went to the park and played games and napped and threw plans out the window to eat popcorn and watch movies instead. And in those moments, on those good days, I realized that THIS is what I want to be doing with my days. And that the biggest thing keeping me from it was my own overcommitedness (<– new word). I miss my old job because it was wonderful and I loved it, but it’s no longer what I want to do. Not all the time. I romanticized the wonderful aspects of it and diminished the things that would be challenging and God used two no-go job offers this summer to show me that.

I still hope down the road I can teach again and I believe I will. One day the timing will work out and my kids will be ready and I will be fully confident that it’s the right thing. But now I can look at it honestly. I can look at my kids and know without a doubt that I would rather be home with them. And I can look at my teacher-self and know that she is a part of me, too, and that one day she may get to shine again. But when I look at Christ, I realize that HE is what defines me. Everything I am – mother, wife, teacher, leader, volunteer, friend – is tied up in Who He is. And for this season, whether long or short I do not know, he has called me to be here, in this moment, with these children. Maybe I’ll get a job offer tomorrow and I’ll take it, maybe I’ll go back to work when my kids are in school, maybe I’ll homeschool and never go back to work, maybe we’ll move overseas and everything will change. I don’t know and that’s ok. This summer I needed to let go of what I thought I wanted to realize that I what I truly wanted is what I already have. And I have found so much freedom in that.

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The Fruits of the Spirit for a Mother’s Heart

Dear Father,

The further I journey into motherhood, the more grateful I am to call you my Father. When I am overwhelmed, tired, and clueless on what to do next, You are there to show me how to parent with grace. When I wrestle once again with my attitude and temper, and I wonder where the gentle and quiet Spirit I pray for daily has gone, You remind me that the fruits of the Spirit are not the fruits of my Spirit but of Yours, living and breathing inside of me.

Lord, fill me with love – a divine love for my children – a love like Yours. A love that loves without selfishness, without agenda, without limits. Fill me with a love that drives me to do the hard things for the greater good, and to offer grace no matter how undeserved.

Lord, fill me with joy – the kind of joy that transcends happiness. Joy that soaks in the precious moments and presses on through monotony and struggle.

Lord, fill me with peace – a peace that is deep and unshaken by a chaotic home, a tantruming child, or a lack of sleep. Fill me with a peace that breathes in and breathes out, accepting and giving thanks for each moment.

Lord, fill me with patience – the patience I don’t have on my own. The patience that can see the forest for the trees. The patience that recognizes my children look to me for guidance, help, direction, and security. Patience that sees my children looking up at me and bends down to speak to them in a way they can understand – just as You came down to live in our skin and guide us home.

Lord, fill me with kindness – Teach me to be kind in the face of backtalk, bad words, squabbles, and rudeness. Teach me to treat my children as my neighbors. Fill me with the type of kindness that kneels down to wash their feet. Let my kindness be an example.

Lord, fill me with goodness – fill me with You. Fill me with pure motives and a true heart.

Lord, fill me with faithfulness – the kind of faithfulness that prioritizes You no matter what is going on around me. The kind of faithfulness that holds on to Your Gospel in the moments when things seem to be falling apart. The kind of faithfulness that disciples my precious children even when I’m worn and tired. The kind of faithfulness that makes time to rest in You but does not turn away those who need You when they come.

Lord, fill me with gentleness – Lord, how I need Your gentleness. Fill me with gentleness rooted in wisdom and empowered by Your Spirit. The gentleness that speaks slowly and listens quickly, that makes room for vulnerability, that creates a home of safety.

Lord, fill me with self-control – In the moments when none of these other fruits come easily. In the moments I want to yell, be sarcastic, or ignore. In the moments I want to forsake the dignity of my children and vent their failings to the internet community – please give me self-control. Teach me to control myself by surrendering completely to Your Spirit.

Let the fruits of Your Spirit be alive in me, that by drawing closer to Your heart my children might do the same.

6 Ways to Make Your Early Mornings Easier

I was about to start off with “Last week I wrote about…” and then a little sleuthing reminded me that it’s been three weeks since I wrote anything. So.  If you were ever looking to read a post about good time management you have COME to the right place, people.

Ahem. Three weeks ago I wrote about making time to rest when you’re tired, even if that means getting less sleep.  For me, I need to get up early and spend time praying and reading my Bible every morning or I’m a wreck all day.  Today I got up early to spend time with the Lord, and let me tell you: I am tired. The past two months have seen three family members in the hospital, two out-of-town trips, multiple meetings, and oh yeah – my normal life.  Today my children were in RARE form.  And I say “rare” quite loosely because truthfully, I wish it were rarer.  Anyway my daughter starting things off with a bang by grabbing her nasty poopy diaper out from under her butt while I reached for a wipe and whipping it across the room and herself and her adorable outfit I just found hiding in a drawer and the carpet and my hand.  (Do you want to know how nasty that diaper was?  She had black beans last night.)  My son – not to be outdone – screamed and threw things and yelled and hoarded toys and went batpoo crazy the whole time I was tutoring in my home. Things pretty much went downhill from there and at one point I texted Jeremy and told him I wanted to scream.  And then I realized – I hadn’t screamed.  Or yelled at my kids or anyone else, which to be honest, is a BIG deal for me.  And even though I was going crazy inside, I realized that God had helped me treat my kids with true grace all day, and let me tell you – that does NOT happen on the days I sleep through my time with Him.

But I HATE getting up early. I am a natural night owl.  Even on the days I wake up really early I can still stay up til 1 or 2 in the morning without realizing I’m tired but then when that alarm starts going off at 6:00 –  I realize it real good.  So I have to find ways to make my mornings easier, and maybe some of these will help you, too.

So without further ado….

6 Ways to Make Your Early Mornings Easier

Can you tell I’m an expert at making pinnable pictures with catchy titles?  This is totally my forte.

get up early

  1. Give it a fair shot.  Don’t tell me you just can’t do mornings until you’ve actually, honestly tried. If you want to wake up early you have to go to bed a little earlier, or if nothing else, at a consistent time.  You need to actually get up early consistently for at least a week to really give it a fair shot. So don’t try for a few days and give up, or try for a couple weeks without ever being consistent. It won’t work – trust me.
  2. Set your coffee the night before.  Most of your basic coffee makers have a timer setting.  You can get everything ready and have your coffee brew for you at whatever time so you can literally wake up and smell the coffee.  I even drink decaf and it still helps.  For a while I went through a phase where I put my half and half and sugar in my mug and then stuck it in the fridge the night before, too.  I got over that.  Don’t drink coffee?  Freeze half a bottle of water, fill it and add lemon, then let it thaw overnight so you can drink something cold and refreshing when you first wake up.  Drink fancy coffee like a pour over or a French press?  Well….clapclapclap.  Not sure how to help you.  Sorry.
  3. Adjust your thermostat. I like to sleep with the air pretty cold because I sweat like pig at night (did you need to know that? Sure.) but it’s really, really, really hard to get out of a warm cozy bed and step into some frigid air. So if your air has the fancy sleep setting thing that will go up and down for you – rock it. If not, do what I do and drag yourself out of bed, cut the thermostat back up a few degrees, then go get back in bed for the mandatory 15-20 minutes of snooze-button-beating.  When it’s time to get up, it won’t be so hard.
  4. Pick out your clothes the night before.  Maybe this takes you back to elementary school but so be it.  Let’s have a show of hands from all the ladies who spend way too long staring at their clothes before deciding on one of the same 10 outfits you rotate allthefreakingtime.  Check the weather and lay out your clothes the night before – jewelry, shoes, underwear, all of it.
  5. Consider showering at night.  I know I know I know – your hair looks gross when you do that and showers help you wake up.  Me too.  BUT it really super sucks to have to choose between doing my devotions or getting to shower alone and do something really self-pampering like….I don’t know….shave the forest of my legs so I can wear shorts again. Plus I find a night shower helps me relax. At least give it a go. Maybe you just can’t hack it and if so I understand, but be prepared to wake up a little earlier.
    lamp.                                           Cool lamp, right?  Buy it here.
  6. Turn on a light. Immediately, as soon as your first alarm goes off.  Even if you don’t get up right away, the light will help you wake up a little. Sunlight is the best, but if you can’t drag yourself to the window – turn on your lamp.
  7. Bonus: play on your phone:  This is a slippery slope for me so take it with a grain of salt.  You know how they say staring at a screen before bed will wire your brain and keep you awake longer? I find the opposite is true.  When I’m just having a really hard time waking up after my obligatory first two alarms (I’m not the only one who does this, right?) sometimes I’ll start browsing instagram or playing Words with Friends.  It seems to help me wake up.  The only problem is how addictive it is – sometimes before I know it I’ve been on my phone for 15 minutes and then I’m rushing to get my coffee, get dressed, and do my devotions before Malachi comes traipsing into the room at 6:50 (on the flipping dot, every day, WHY?!) telling me “I got pee-pee my diaper” and “It’s almost breakfast time!”  So maybe set a timer or something so you don’t get sucked into the iPhone void?  I don’t know.

And there you have it.  Some things that I hope will help make your early mornings a little easier.  When I consistently do all of the above every day (which is quite rare, trust me) I get going into a really good routine.  But even just doing a couple is enough to help.

Tick Tock

It seems like the best definition of being a stay-at-home-mom is being busy all day, exhausted at night, but still having no idea what to say when asked, “What did you do today?” I used to be proud of myself when I could accomplish my whole to-do list in a day. Now making a to-do list at all is an accomplishment. It amazes me that any day I have to grocery shop automatically means: exhausting. And heaven forbid they don’t have a car cart because the consequences are the toddler has to either 1. walk (i.e. run a 5k down every aisle and fill the cart with canned corn and fruit snacks) or 2. get covered in groceries that he may not touch, eat, sniff, crush , rearrange, or throw. Also, your legs are numb, offspring? Suck it up or tough it out – I literally have no other options. You may have a free cookie from the bakery, or 4 if the bakers aren’t looking.

Bribery is your friend.

I wouldn’t trade my role as a stay-at-home-mom for the world, but these young years can be tough. Hilarious, sweet, fun, rewarding, but tough. There are days when all the busyness is exhausting not only because it’s a constant rotation of squat, lift, bend over, carry, repeat but because reading children’s books, playing restaurant, and explaining over and over that brown grapes don’t have dirt on them is far from mentally energizing.

My church teaches this principle of the pendulum. In the first century, grapevines were given three years to rest before they were allowed to grow grapes. The vine dressers knew that without enough rest they wouldn’t be strong enough to bear fruit. the same principle applies to us – we need to work from our rest, not rest from our work. Our life is like a pendulum constantly swinging from rest to work, abiding to fruitfulness, tick tock. Neither can exist alone. A clock can’t stop at one hour and keep ticking and you cannot stop on one end of the pendulum and keep living.

I used to take this literally. Without enough sleep I get short-tempered and sad so I need to make sleep a priority. Not a bad idea, in theory – extremely hard to maintain in practice. Babies get sick. Toddlers have nightmares. Laundry piles up and thunderstorms happen and sleep is no longer a constant. It used to be discouraging to think I’d always be operating on 50%, always fighting off frustration and bad moods and apathy. I was trying so hard to get enough rest and it never paid off, so why on earth was God nudging me to start getting up early again to spend time with Him? The baby still wasn’t sleeping through the night. Wasn’t this the grace period? But finally I did, and I realized oh. Physical rest, though important and something to strive for, isn’t a constant. But spiritual rest can be. Resting my mind and heart in Him every morning lets me “go to work” yawning and tired, but renewed and at peace. Does it always “last”? No. Do I still lose focus, roll my eyes, yell at my kids, or pretend I can’t hear them sometimes because I just need a break? Yes. But giving up a little physical rest to invest in spiritual rest every morning makes me feel like a new person.

The days are long, but I want each morning to be a fresh start, not another “Here we go again.” And on the nights when I stay up too late, bending over to pick up the pieces of a day that blew up in my face, those are the nights I KNOW I need to take some time to rest in the Lord, not just to recover but to prepare for a new day investing in my children. If my job description is to parent my children with grace, to teach them about a God who adores them, and to gently shepherd them towards His heart, they need my example more than my words. They need a Mommy with rings under her eyes who showers them with grace and patience, much more than they need a Mommy who got 8 hours of sleep but is tiring under the weight of all the yesterdays that she is dragging into today.

Maybe it feels more like your life pendulum swings from cuddles to tantrums, from Caillou to Dora, or from goldfish to Oreos. Maybe your baby is precariously wedged between your arm, your husband’s back, and somehow your left knee and if you twitch she WILL wake up. Maybe you’ve given it a fair shot and decided that mornings just do. not. work. for you. I’ve been there and I get it. He understands, too. But carve out some time. Find a way to wake up and get some rest. He can restore your heart and prepare your mind for another day of tea parties, crayons, The Hungry Caterpillar, and squat, lift, bend over, carry, repeat. There is no guilt in abiding and no greater productivity than pointing (little) hearts towards Him.

7 Quick Takes – I’m not sure why they don’t give me an award for the quality of my writing on Fridays.

Linking with Jen, because I’m sure she’s missed me, my sarcasm, and my riveting hair-care soliloquies.

  1. One of the benefits of being a stay-at-home-mom is that as soon as your husband comes home you get to regale him with a 45-minute stream of super-detailed stories about your exciting day. Stories about closet organization, nap-time productivity, exactly how many people were in each check-out line at Kroger, how many coupons you used/left at home/got rejected by the checker, and how much better your hair is doing now that you switched conditioner. The other day I was excitedly telling the tale of my hair’s vast improvement since I switched to TreSemme Climate Protection and I was pleasantly surprised when Jeremy responded with, “Oh yeah, I saw that conditioner in the shower” instead of his usual, “Yeah… Wait what? Sorry….”
    Me: You were looking at my conditioner?
    Jeremy: Yeah, I was wondering what this weird global warming soap is all about.
    Me: Global warming soap?  You mean because it’s called climate protection?
    Jeremy: Yeah, I thought that was weird.
    Me: It’s called that because it protects your hair from the climate, not because it protects the climate from…your hair.
    Jeremy: Yeah, I figured that out after I looked at it.
    That was so much funnier when it happened than it seems now…. Ok.
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  2. Malachi is improving his pronoun usage slowly but surely, although he still refers to himself as “Mal-chi” most of the time instead of the generic “I.”  Mal-chi do it!  Mal-chi want orange juice!  Mal-chi go paaaaaark!  He’s still a little unclear on the whole personal pronoun thing and frequently says “My” instead of “I.”  My do it!  My eat snack!  MY feed doggie!  Which always reminds me of this:

    …so me-sa maybe start calling him Jar Jar. How wude!
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  3. I’ve always had really vivid, realistic dreams, especially when I am pregnant. But over the past couple years I’ve started dreaming in movie.  My dreams actually switch from one scene to the next, switch perspective, and have background music. Once I dreamed I was Amy in an episode of Big Bang Theory. Not only was the entire dream pretty funny but it also had laugh tracks in the background.  I’m a little concerned for my sanity at this point.
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  4. Jeremy and I finally watched Frozen last night and of course I loved it, just like the rest of the world.  (Unrelated spoiler alert: Why didn’t the troll just tell them the secret in the first place? Would that not have saved 15 or so years of familial heartbreak and malfunction and potential future therapy costs?  Anyway.)
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    Have you seen the guy that sang a cover of “Let it Go” in all these different Disney voices?

    The part with Scuttle absolutely cracked me up because I used to do that. Malachi was pretty freaked out by the whole thing until we got to Winnie the Pooh. Then he looked at the little picture and said, “Hi Innie Poo! Is so cute!”
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  5. Have you heard of Listia?  It’s like E-bay, but free. It’s mostly a colossal waste of time, but I am 600 Pampers Rewards Points away from getting Malachi a free Cozy Coupe and I can usually muster up enough Listia credits to win some Pampers points auctions and you don’t care. Anyway, I listed an auction mostly for the bonus points but the woman who won had a problem and so an e-mail conversation ensued. Basically I would write her a thorough, polite, grammatically correct e-mail offering several solutions plus an apology and she would respond with something along the lines of:
    “yeah it didnt work”
    I mean, seriously. Can you not throw in a “Thank you” or at least some gratuitous punctuation? Does this kind of thing bother anyone else? Answer: yes. (Language alert, FYI).
    Also, if you want to join Listia, please use my link – I will be forever grateful.  https://www.listia.com/signup/5477022
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  6. It snowed again last week and Malachi’s make-up day was cancelled, so now we are having a make-up make-up day and of course they are calling for snow next Tuesday as well. I was “re-re-re-re ‘cited” about his first-ever school pictures but they aren’t offering a snow date for that so I’m just gonna save myself from the agony of dashed hopes and just operate on the assumption that those will get canceled as well.  But maybe I’ll try and do some cute portraits on my own because, you know, my track record is THE BOMB.
    100_3051 DSCN4903 102_3914.
  7. The other day I went into the farmer’s market by myself and got a little confused and overexcited by the free samples at the cheese shop.  I ended up spending 20 dollars on cheese because it was so tasty when taken out of context and seasoned with “I’m here alone and I need to reign myself in!” Then when my sister and I pulled it out to eat together it honestly smelled like a hot, sizzling cow patty and tasted about the same.  I decided to return it because, seriously.  When I took it back the manager said, “This is how this cheese smells and tastes.  Did you not see on the wrapper?  It’s called ‘Barnyard Smell.’ I’ll refund it but if you don’t like it, don’t ever buy it.”  So I guess she was right and I am grateful she refunded my money even though she treated me like a 2-year-old the whole time and wouldn’t let me finish a sentence. But for real? They made it smell like cow poop on purpose?  WHY?!
    ??????????Bon appetit.

Dry Cereal and Alcohol and Quality Television and Run-On Sentences and Run-On Blog Titles

You know you’ve had a long day when you are eating dry Cheerios and drinking champagne before the kids are even in bed. Malachi also has a habit of taking a sip of any drink he sees sitting around, no matter whose it is or how old it is or how long its been sitting in the hot car or whether or not it’s fermented.

“Nummy Mommy soda!”
“All done, Malachi! No more Mommy soda! That’s yucky!”
“No, nummy Mommy soda! More Mommy soda!”
“How about a lollipop?”
“Yay, yahyeepop yay! Hahahahaha ta-da!”

The younger me that swore she’d never bribe her children or sit on the couch and watch TV while they clambered over her feet begging for attention “just” because she was tired (so selfish) would maybe be horrified but hopefully she’d just be amused and assume it was a rare occurrence. Which really, it is, kind of, mostly.

My two-year-old’s new favorite game is called “Smack the baby on the head over and over until Mommy reaches me and throws me in timeout” followed closely by “Push her over onto the floor and laugh.” And said baby is cutting four teeth.

So.

Here’s your violin, please play me a song, because no other mother has ever had it as rough as me.

But it is the Christmas season and my house is all decorated, and every time I pulled a new decoration out of the box Malachi would gasp and whisper “Wow!” in the most perfect wonder-filled kid-voice ever. He likes to spit on my Christmas carousel because it’s the only way he knows how to blow and he wants to get it to spin “me-self!” with out any help from me. And every time he passes one (and I have a LOT), he announces “Nutcwackah!” Naomi is teething and stuffy which = finally letting me rock her to sleep again and actually cuddling with me for more than .5 seconds at a time and I love it soooooo much.

And even though I’m sitting here eating dry Chex (YOLO!) and watching Dirty Dancing for the thirty-somethingth time (I really wish that was an exaggeration) and then subsequently being appalled at the trashy commercials on VH1 (shocker) because apparently I have higher expectations of a channel that would air Dirty Dancing on a regular basis and I don’t know how I was planning on finishing that sentence, but it’s gone on long enough, don’t you think? Anyways, life is good. Good enough that I’ve been living it the past couple weeks instead of blogging about it

But Imma blog it up now. Buckle your seat belts for an overload of drama because if anyone can create enough drama to dedicate an entire online diary to, it’s a stay-at-home-mom. And no, I won’t stop blogging about my kids ever ever because, you know…

Nobody puts baby in a corner.

Not even the possibility of a chemical burn can dampen my mood

Just typed out two whole paragraphs, went back and fell asleep trying to re-read them, and then deleted them. You’re welcome.

Yesterday was awesome. Aside from the fact that Naomi quite literally pooped 8 times, all on my shift, and that during one of these times when I was about to change her I heard a bloodcurdling scream from the bathroom that turned out to be the reaction of my poor son who had just sprayed Daddy’s cologne into his eye. Yes I rinsed it, yes I panicked, yes I called the doctor to make sure I didn’t need to take him to the ER, check check check. He was fine five minutes later and I still feel like crap for leaving him unattended with his footstool but “lesson learned” and all that yada and also his hair smelled fantastic all day so there’s that.

Anywho, both kids slept straight through the night the night before and they both took spectacular naps – Malachi had zero night terrors and woke up happy for the first time in a week and Naomi actually took two full-length naps in one day so I guess she finally got around to reading Babywise and praise be. But it wasn’t the great sleeping or amount of alone-time that made me happy. Having the kids sleep in gave me time to start my day with the Lord, which makes absolutely the BIGGEST difference in my day of anything. The great naps gave me time to focus on my to-do list – and actually finish it. Guys, I crossed off every item! That alone makes me giddy not to mention the fact that stuff actually got done. And the finishing the to-do list made my stress level go down to the point of nonexistence. When Malachi got up we baked cookies and he dumped the flour and sugar into the bowl and kept saying “yum, chocolate!” when he licked the beaters before the chocolate was even in it. And Naomi and I played peek-a-book and patty-cake and fake-laugh. Dinner got started, finished, and eaten on time. Jeremy came home from work and I wasn’t frantically pretending I didn’t desperately need to just hand him a kid and go pee alone for the first time all day. I randomly organized something which always makes me happy. It was just a good day.

At the end of the day I realized that this was the kind of day I envisioned when I thought about being a stay-at-home-mom. Not that I expected perfection or perfect sleepers or whatever, but just the ability to approach my day and its tasks and joys and scares and opportunities with peace. And even when Naomi woke up crying with inexplicable gas at 10 and I had to hold her writhing self for 45 minutes, it was ok. I was ok.

Also, this happened:

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I’m not sure what it would look like for me to be able to have this kind of day every day. Not the sleeping and cookie-baking per se, although that would sure be nice. But just the lack of stress. Feeling productive. Having the home be peaceful when Jeremy gets home. I’m trying to identify a few of the things that made this happen:

  • I stayed on top of my chores. For a while I’ve tried to do a chore a day and I schedule it out, but for some reason I just never keep up with it. This week I kept up with it. Not only was it surprisingly easy to do, but it made me feel so much better about myself and my home when I did.
  • I did my devotions first thing. Always a goal, not always accomplished. But so long as I don’t have a child asleep in my bed and I’m not sick I don’t really have an excuse.
  • I didn’t allow myself to sit down at the computer until my list was done. Um, yeah. It’s kind of embarrassing how big of a difference this made. Not that I waste hours and hours online every day, but sitting down “just for a minute” interrupts my focus and my momentum and I practically have to start over whenever I get up.
  • The kids slept really, really well. Here’s hoping.
  • The kids behaved really, really well. Here’s praying.

Today Jeremy is home because it’s Saturday and of course Malachi is ecstatic about that. We’ve run errands and wrestled and cuddled and it’s been fantastic and I’m just really, really hoping this continues but even if tomorrow brings screaming, sleepless nights and endless time-outs and more scum than I can scrub, at least it’s been nice to have a little bit of a break.