Madness, I Say
For those of you who do not live in the Pee Dee and for those of you who do but haven’t gotten the May issue of She, I am posting below my Mother’s Day article:
Madness, I Say
Today I have been in the business of motherhood for six years, but I’m still just a neophyte, feeling way over my head. I seriously feel like I need a psychology degree to effectively handle the most basic scuffles. That and a dependence on the Lord like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
Take this scenario for example. Last week I was showering when Carson, my oldest daughter, came to tattle on her two year-old sister. With great pleasure, she informed me that Campbell was peppering the coffee table with milk from her sippy cup, and in my mind’s eye I could see her doing just that as she circled and sprinkled the table with joy. I instructed Carson to send Campbell to me, and she came in, head low, wearing the guilty look. I inquired; she confessed, and I promised a spanking when I was clean and clothed. As I was dressing, both girls marched in to announce that they had cleaned up the spilled milk. I was baffled. What was that? Carson ratted out her sister and tried to save her hide all within the same episode of Dora. “Uh…, good, Carson. I’m proud of you for helping your sister. Campbell, good job cleaning up the mess, I think…” Clemency was granted more out of my confusion than the generosity of my heart.
There are a few issues to camp out on here. First, they take full advantage of the whole wet and naked factor when I’m in the shower. There was another day when Carson came to tell on herself while I was showering. She revealed that she had kind of, sort of, accidentally on purpose pushed Campbell off the kitchen stool. Even more concerning was the fact that Campbell would not speak to her. I instantly deflated and felt nauseous as I imagined Campbell contorted and unresponsive on the kitchen floor (I have a hyperactive imagination in the shower these days). I tore out of the shower and through the house, leaving large puddles in my wake. I found Campbell tucked under the counter, completely miffed with her sister. Thankfully she was unharmed, but there I was wet and naked nonetheless.
Secondly, the paradoxes of motherhood are really more than I can wrap my brain around. I am a mom who needs time alone, time away from my children, but I immediately miss them. I don’t get it. If Chris and I go on a date and see a family out with their children, I get a lump in my throat and have to fight the urge to sprint home for a squeeze and a kiss. I am also a mom who strives to teach my children to be independent yet I am unsettled and weepy when it seems they need me less and less. I am a huge proponent of teaching my children to dress themselves at an early age, but I wince at their fashion choices. “Oh, that’s an interesting ensemble. You have really chosen so many different colors,” I say. Just ride by our house on a Saturday morning to see what might be skipping down our driveway. Color, I can promise. Sibling rivalry. Tattling. It really all just twists my brain and my heart into knots most of the time.
And it’s not just the overwhelming complexities of being a mom; it’s the daily, simple madness too. It’s Campbell as a newborn screaming at such a high pitch that she set off the glass break sensor on our security system. It’s Carson decorating my life with 5000 stickers I bought at Sam’s – stickers permanently adhered to the drum of the dryer, stickers affixed to the soles of all our socks, Chris attending an engagement party with a sticker stuck to his rear end (5000 stickers. I know, what was I thinking?). It’s Campbell with a piece of Honey Smacks cereal stuffed up her left nostril (thank the Lord she sneezed it out after about five minutes of futile nose blowing). It’s Carson waking me up at 3:47 this morning crying because now she is six and can’t play on the mats at the gym anymore (that made me want to cry too).
I told you I am way over my head, right? But in all seriousness, I find being a mother scary and joyous and confusing and draining and a lot of fun all wrapped in one. I do ask God for a lot of wisdom because I bring none to the table and for a lot of grace because I mess up so often. I try to take every opportunity to point them to their Perfect Parent in light of my own inadequacies as their earthly parent, and I pray toward that day when they will know Him as the One who does not disappoint or goof up.
As for my parting advice, I say buy cereal too large to fit in a child’s nostril (although that would probably make it a choking hazard), shower with caution, and lobby against the production of insane sticker books – they’re of the devil!