I sat in the middle of the king sized bed staring at thousands of tiny stars as they sparkled and faded on the ceiling. It seems like only yesterday I was swaying back and forth in front of a crib with an infant in my arms. Now I end my days wedged between a three and five-year-old and their fifty stuffed animals mindlessly rubbing their backs and singing a song. An overwhelming sense of gratitude fills my heart when their little voices hum along with the lullaby as they drift off to sleep. I am still, rejoicing in the fact that the last thing they heard that day was “I love you.” Possibly only thing that went right today…
It wasn’t our best day. Just a day. One in which the crying and fighting outweigh the giggles and play. A day full of broken glass, lost shoes, naps that never happened and tears. So many tears.
I typically embrace the daily struggles with my young children as teaching moments, meeting each new challenge with calm and grace as we tumble through our hectic daily routine. Or at least that is my intention. It just doesn’t always happen.
There wasn’t enough coffee to compensate for two bad dreams that crawled into my side of the bed in need of a snuggle. The sleepless night threw our entire day off, before it even started. So when the glass slid off the table and shattered on the floor, I was too quick to scold the carelessness when I could have shown grace. My frustration only grew as the ballet slipper went MIA ten minutes before we were supposed to be at dance class. In the car when the kids erupted into the “who can sing the song the loudest’ contest, I yelled. All of the not-so-kind things that were running through my head finally slipped out of my mouth, causing tears to stream down the faces of my previously-happy kids.
I lost it. Just like the overflowing clothes hamper…our day was dirty and needed to be thrown through the wash. The constant sibling squabbles and the “mom, mom, mom’s” had proven to be too much for sanity, Leaving me running dangerously low on patience and compassion by the time evening rolled around. From there, emotions spiraled out of control crashing into a full family meltdown before bed.
Once we finally composed ourselves enough to read a book and get tucked in for bed, it hit me. I sat between those sweet babies humming “The Cradle Song,” fighting off the mommy guilt from the day. The “I shouldn’t have’s” and “I wish I would have’s” almost swallowed the quiet of the moment. Looking down at their sweet little faces I allowed myself to stop and be reminded of the good that had happened that day. They were clean, fed and loved beyond measure…the rest of the day could be tossed in the washer and hung out to dry.
Being a good mother doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. It’s about having the willingness to try again when things get messy. I grow each time I allow myself to wash away the guilt from the day leaving room for the magical moments that I cherish the most.