I had to use the bathroom. God forbid I actually have to poop in the middle of the day! Of course, all hell has broke lose in those few moments that I took for myself.
The big kids are fighting.
"Gracie pushed me down!"
"But he took my baby!"
"I had it first!", he pushes her right in front of me.
"BOTH OF YOU IN TIME OUT, NOW! No pushing, stop looking at each other, face the wall. Timer has started."
I smell something. I know this smell all too well. Ugh - SHIT. Literally. "Paisley Ann! Where are you?", I holler out. The giggle comes from the playroom. Upon entering the playroom that was spotless this morning, I find it wrecked beyond recognition. There sits Paisley in the middle of heaps of blocks, naked, brown nastiness on her hands, a bare, dirty bottom on the floor, soiled diaper face down beside her. Stay calm, Marissa, I tell myself.
Take control of the situation. Send Gracie to get three Wal-Mart bags. Bag up blocks at the scene of the crime, set aside. Bag up dirty diaper, wrap it tight, place wrapped diaper into another clean bag, set aside to take to the outside trash later. Grab baby, place in bath, scrub down.
Mid-scrub down, screaming ensues. Gracie & Reilly are fighting again. Holler out for both of them to go to each of their rooms and sit on their beds until I'm done. Not that they'll listen to that. Finish washing Paisley, get her out and diaper her. Reach into her drawer for shorts to ensure another diaper fiasco is avoided - empty. Crap. Laundry! Set her free with only a shirt and diaper, praying for the best.
I tell Gracie & Reilly they can color at the table as long as they share crayons and play nice. Yeah, right. I dump the bag of blocks into the sink filled with warm water and bleach, clean up and Lysol the playroom floor where Paisley's dirty bottom once rested. WordWorld temporarily distracts Paisley while I grab a basket of clothes and head to the garage to toss them into the washer.
"Mom! Paisley's going outside!", Gracie screams. I peek my head out of the garage door to see my freshly cleaned baby sliding her body down each dirty step, heading toward her outdoor toys. Abandon the clothes, wrangle Paisley back inside, entice her back to the playroom with Goldfish and a fresh cuppy of ice water.
I walk back into the dining room to see crayons scattered across the table and floor - no big kids in sight. "Gracelyn! Reilly! Come clean up the crayons now, please!" No response. I set out to look for them. "Reilly, Mom's gonna be mad at you!", I hear Gracelyn in her room, I think. Walk into her room, they're not there. Peek into the kids' bathroom. There sits Gracie on the potty with Reilly standing next to her, three toilet paper rolls stacked on top of each other...soaking wet. Stay calm, Marissa, I tell myself once again. Toss the ruined toilet paper, talk to Reilly, take away his new Iron Man toy, then notice his clothes are also wet. Reach into his drawer for fresh clothes - empty. CRAP, the laundry! I knew I was forgetting something.
This is an hour, probably less, of a typical day in the Peterson house while Daddy is at work.
I'm not a perfect mother, not by a long shot. I've yelled at my kids; I've let five too many curse words escape my lips in their presence; I've bribed them with sugary snacks to get ten minutes of peace on many occasions.
Do I get stressed out? Not yes, but HELL yes. All the time.
Do I feel like a failure? Every single day, almost.
Do I sometimes beg for a break? Oh, yes.
Do I still love my kids, even when it gets "bad"? With every ounce of my being. Say or think otherwise and I'll make your death look like a freak accident.
Every mom out there has had a bad day, a bad week. That doesn't make them a bad mother.
It's not all rainbows and butterflies. It's not adorable Pinterest crafts and sweet, smiling photo shoots every day. Do those beautiful moments happen? YES! Those little terrors that wreak havoc have good days, GREAT days, wonderful moments where I wish I could freeze-frame time. But, that's not the 24/7 reality.
I know I am blessed. I KNOW. I would not trade one horrible, tantrum-filled, poop ridden, sanity-taking day with them for a million amazing days without them, and that's the God's honest truth.
Motherhood is a beautiful privilege denied to many deserving women, this I know. I have never and will never take my children for granted.
When I talk about a bad day or when I make a sarcastic remark about my children, that doesn't mean that I don't love them, that I don't cherish them. I am well aware of how lucky I am to not have one, but THREE, great kids. Humor, even if sometimes in bad taste, is my way of coping with the stress of motherhood.
I may want to hang them upside down by their sweet little toes on a clothes line while I sneak away inside for an adult drink and gummy candy, but that doesn't mean I'd actually do it. Get a sense of humor, people. If I had to be straight-faced serious while parenting my three kids, I'd go a week before I'd need to be admitted into a mental institute.
There are some women, a lot of them mothers themselves, that love to tear into other mothers. Degrading you. Dissecting your every word. Pointing out all of your parenting flaws, all while claiming to "not judge". It's them with the problem. Not you. If they've taken time out of their perfect lives to criticize you, you've already won. Don't give into their attention-seeking antics.
Do your best. Hug your kids, kiss their noses, smell their hair after a bath, read them books, tickle them, tell them you love them, tuck them into bed, turn on their princess/super hero nightlight... then run like hell for the kitchen and pour yourself a drink. You deserve it.