I have had one of those days.
You know the kind; the kind of day when I day dream of having a nanny who can watch the kids mid-day so that I can go enjoy a movie...in an empty theater...alone...maybe with a smuggled in glass of wine.
Really, my day doesn't begin with just today, but no bad day really is just about that one day, or that one incident. It's always about the straw that broke the camel's back. I mean, really, extraordinarily, tragically bad days go without saying. But day dreaming about smuggling wine into an empty movie theater while a nanny watches the kids in the middle of the day is usually the accumulation of one type of emotion: annoyed.
I cannot be the only mom who has ever felt like an annoyed teenage sister to her children. They ask me questions, repeatedly, which they already know the answers to. They are on my heels, causing me to trip over them when I'm trying to do some cleaning. They are whining about every little thing the other one does.
"Mommy! Chastity's saying what I say!"
(Repeated by Chastity), "Mommy! Chastity's saying what I say!"
"Stop it! I don't like that game!"
"Stop it! I don't like that game!"
"Mommy, can I have lunch?"
"Elijah, breakfast was literally 5 minutes ago."
"But I'm huuuuuuuuuuuungry!"
The dog is on my heels because I haven't had the chance to feed her yet. Heck, I haven't had the chance to feed myself yet. Isaac sneezes all over me right after taking a big spoonful of food. The delivery guy delivers the package we've been waiting for, the one he attempted to deliver 5 minutes after we went to the park yesterday, the one my husband needs in order to avoid getting a ticket for driving without a front bumper (which fell off in the middle of the road Sunday) during my only bathroom break; pounding on the door during the baby's nap. Fun stuff right there.
Then I have a minute to myself, I sit down at the computer to look up a cake recipe I need, and I'm inundated with things of this nature:
I love Pinterest. I've found really great recipes and craft ideas there, and of course some great ideas for activities with my kids, but sometimes, it just really grates my nerves.
Let me catch you up. Everything that has happened this week has been ill-timed, from a destroyed bumper to a sneeze, my children are annoying me, I want to smuggle a glass of wine into a movie theater in the middle of the day, and now Pinterest is getting all high and mighty on me and making me feel guilty about not doing a bazillion really messy, time consuming, activities with my kids. And chances are good (really good) it will take more time setting up and cleaning up those activities than my children will spend doing said activities.
I love my kids, and I love spending time with them, but when 95% of the activities I find online are painting with food, painting with eggs, painting with fly swatter (real thing), body painting, powder painting, textured painting, edible painting, it. is. exhausting. I had a mini anxiety attack while reading the list and wondering about all the fun things my children are missing out on because I'd rather spend more time with them than cleaning up after them. Let's face it, that's already the majority of my day.
But then I remembered my parents. They didn't have lists. They didn't need lists of things to do with us in order to spend time with us. We played outside, went bike riding and hiking, took walks, went for ball walks (walking while dribbling a basketball, fun and challenging on bumpy sidewalks!), read books, played learning games, played sports, watched movies, threw rocks in the water (super fun, cheap, zero clean up, activity that a child will do for hours), watched cars driving by, and we colored...on paper...with crayons. And we turned out just fine.
I often times get caught up in the kind of mother I am not rather than the kind of mother I am. Pinterest can be like the devil at times, trying to make me feel lousy as though I am not as creative as other moms, or because I don't enjoy the clean up, I'm a lazy mom. Pinterest can, at times, feel like a one upmanship contest, like "look what I came up with to do with my kids," or, "look what I'm going to do with my kids," or, "look what I plan to do with my kids (but probably never really will. Swell idea though)." Pinterest doesn't keep track of the times I play baseball in the park with Elijah, or the times I push Chastity on the swings, or the times I embrace all three of my children in a tickle fight. Pinterest doesn't keep tabs on the times we've made cookies together, or the books we've read, or the bubbles we've chased.
Sometimes we all need to be reminded of who we are, not who we aren't. We don't need to sit at the computer looking at lists of things everybody else is doing with their children. Kids care more about being with us than about what we're doing. Heck, my children get more excited about going to the store with me than anything else.
Less is often so much more.
Know that you don't have to be perfect, and you are not alone when you become annoyed with them, but remember one day, those roles could reverse, and you might find yourself at the opposite end of irritated, short answers to multiple questions you already know the answers to, but are asking anyway just so they will talk with you.
So I ignored all the crazy things I could have done with my children according to Pinterest.
But I acknowledged that I still needed to change my attitude. And clearly the best way to do that, was to join them.
I crawled onto the floor where Isaac excitedly greeted me, and climbed right on top of me.
Then I proceeded to blow up my cheeks really big...and "pop" them with his feet,
resulting in the most rewarding and attitude healing giggles you ever did hear.
Elijah and Chastity joined in the fun by wanting to take pictures
(excuse me, I'm not camera ready probably 99% of my daily life).
in the day, while Isaac was napping, Elijah, Chastity, and I sat by
their bedroom window, watching the cars, and watching the rain clouds
roll in, and just talking. I didn't find these activities on Pinterest,
but they were food for my mothering soul, let me tell ya.
Embrace them, relish their laughter, and really look at them when they tell
you a story. There is no app for that, and you cannot put a pin in it, because those little faces won't look like that forever.
Pin that, Pinterest.