Today as I was preparing breakfast, I leaned my head against the fridge and prayed aloud that God would grant me strength to make it through the day. Parker and Maddie chimed in, "Mommy, we love you even when you are tired and grumpy." That warmed my heart and made me sad at the same time. They knew what was coming today based on the bags under my eyes.
This afternoon, I caught sight of the black bottoms of the kids' feet as I was pushing them on the swings. We spend a lot of time outside, and they had been going "barefooting" [as Maddie likes to call it] for a few days now. Parker's face bore a dried milk moustache, and Maddie's arms and hands were still blue from yesterday's craft time. When was the last time those two had a bath? What kind of mother am I? The tired kind, I decided.
It was fun. I piled the three of them in the tub. Wish I had taken a picture, but it's just not safe to even turn my back when they are all in there together. They create quite a ruckus, and most times Jack can't decide whether he should laugh or cry. He sits in his bath seat, with eyes wide as saucers, while Maddie "helps" me bathe him. Poor guy.
After the bath it was quiet time for Parker and Maddie. I closed their doors, breathed a sigh of relief, and took my time diapering Jack and placing him in a fresh sleeper. As I carted him about the house on my hip I began to smell that familiar smell. Oh boy.
Stripping off his now-soiled clothes, I was tempted to wallow. Didn't I just give this kid a bath? Why bother? Then I remembered the words of my very wise friend, Phyllis:
"Everything you do is to be undone."
She was referring to motherhood. And she was right. I cook a meal so it can be eaten. I wipe the table so it can be utilized for a different mess. I wash the clothes, fold them, and put them away so they can be worn again.
It seems counterintuitive that my friend's statement would give me such peace, but it did. There is a purpose for everything I do as a mom. At the same time, I must realize that all of those mundane tasks will be undone almost immediately. They are meant to be undone. The fact that my work will be destroyed does not negate the importance of the work. I can choose to be angry and bitter and resentful that there are crumbs on my floor after every meal, or I can just sweep them up and go on about my day.
So, as I wriggled Jack's squishy arms out of his tiny sleeves, I kissed his soft head, and tried to embrace the madness of motherhood, messes and all.