I often say that in this season of having two littles under two years old, you have to take things moment by moment. Not day by day or hour by hour. Moment. By. Moment. Most of my moments are just about survival and are not pretty. But some are beautiful.
I say this because things can change so quickly, like the path of a tornado. You can be sitting having a great breakfast together, your first sip of caffeine is on its way to your grateful lips, when all of the sudden your toddler is screaming bloody murder because she wants to be drinking your tea instead of you and your baby starts crying because she’s just a baby. And then the storm blows over and you lovingly, though warily, look at your kids again, realizing that since its only 7:30am this type of thing will probably happen 730 more times by the time Daddy gets home at 6:30ish. And the day seems long. But that moment of calm between the storms is so sweet and quiet. So suspiciously sweet and quiet. But sweet, it really is.
Let me tell you a story to illustrate my point.
You, miracle of miracles, manage to get up and dressed before the babies. You get the babies up and fed and mostly dressed. After wrestling a potty training almost-two-year-old into a diaper and clothes for mommy and me class, you head out the door. You gaze lovingly at said almost-two-year-old and think how cute she is carrying your umbrella.
You arrive at mommy and me where things glacially progress downhill. Slowly and surely several nuclear meltdowns occur, particularly when you attempt to get toddler to use the potty. After the second attempt toddler has washed her hands and gotten her shirt entirely wet. During circle time in class she takes off her shirt. Since you pick your battles wisely you let it slide.
You attempt the potty one last time, just in case her board-stiff-screaming bathroom induced tantrums are suddenly behind you. Plus, since she has already taken off her shirt she is successfully trying to pull off her diaper, tutu, and tights. As you try to get her to sit on the potty, she goes rigid, screaming and wiggling. You accidentally stick her tighted feet straight down into the toilet (after all you thought she would bend at the waist and sit down once you got her near). This induces a wild tantrum, splashing toilet water all over the bathroom. You set her down on the floor and try to remove the tights and tutu and clean up. Your once beloved, cute-as-can-be, sweetish toddler takes off running at the speed of light down the school hallway. In her birthday suit. Wet with toilet water. Screaming with delight and laughing with a sound that can only be described as evil.
A teacher’s aid (Chinese of course. And that is significant because you and the toddler are committing some serious cultural no-nos) sees her and gasps, trying to speak but unable to get any words out. You finally catch the toddler in the school lobby where, mercifully no one is waiting. You throw toddler back in her school classroom, out of breath and gasping for air because that is how fast the toddler can run and its hard to sprint while laughing hysterically chasing a naked, toilet-water covered toddler through a proper international school. The teacher looks at her and says, “Oh! Naked!” offering some help as you go back to try to clean up the bathroom. The teacher is very gracious and happens to have a bag of extra clothes with her for such purposes, and a plastic bag for the clothes you’ll be destroying once you get home.
The toddler proceeds to wheel around the room naked. Until you catch her and wrestle her back into a diaper and clothing. Which she again tries to take off.
Like I said, not pretty.
But then there are moments when they wake up from naps and I give toddler a healthy snack of raisins and cookies and I manage to get us out the door for a walk. And the weather is just right and the Air Quality Index is below 250 and the spring cherry blossoms and flowers are out and it feels just perfect. And I get a chance to pray and see the city and chat with toddler about the dogs and leaves and trees. And I think I got this, I can do this, this IS getting easier!
Until the next meltdown…
Like Glennon Melton of the Momastary
blog says, if you can grasp a few good moments in your day, its a good day.
Not all moments are good or pretty or easy. But some are. And those moments make it worth it.
You got this mama! You are strong enough and you have what it takes to love your babies as they need to be loved.
Moment by moment.
Don’t forget to laugh!
This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!