I’ve been told, since I was a child, that I am a bit oblivious. Sometimes that can be a good trait to have. Sure, I might not know what is going on, but I also don’t hold many grudges, because I probably just didn’t notice that you did anything to hurt me. But I am learning, that as a mom, this trait is not serving me as well as it used to.
Take for instance this morning. “While I wasn’t looking” (Elise’s exact words when she alerted me to the incident), Will managed to go down into the nursery (where he is not supposed to be now that we moved Dad’s painting supplies down there), brought all Elise’s poster paints and Dad’s paintbrushes upstairs (which must have taken him several trips), and proceeded to start filling a palette with paint in preparation for who knows what. Thank goodness that this time it was poster paint instead of oil paints like last time.
I know we are supposed to be thankful for our kids. I know because I lost a child, I am supposed to be more thankful for each minute detail of my living children’s lives, right? Well, this morning as I cleaned paint from my newly set up cutting table in my sewing room, the main thing I was thankful for was that I didn’t have any fabric out to get paint on.
My morning continued to go downhill as I found that my newly placed cabinet, that I am in the process of filling with fabric and supplies, had two baskets of toys and other misc things already added to the bottom two shelves. I told Elise to move them out of there and gave the kids a lecture about no toys being allowed in my sewing room. And really, no kids are allowed, at least right now, I added. I waded out into the family room, covered in toys, trash, and junk from moving around rooms yesterday.
Feeling frustrated with the state of my house, I took a very fussy Seth down to the kitchen to start some mac & cheese for lunch. As I set the kids down to eat at a crumb-covered table, in crumb-filled chairs, on a crumb-encrusted floor, I wanted to cry. I went to finish cleaning up the paint before I could eat my own lunch and realized that it isn’t that I am not trying. It’s not like my house is a wreck because I haven’t cleaned it in forever (well at least not every part of it). The trashed upstairs was actually spotless yesterday morning (thanks to Dad and the kids working together). The dishes covering the counters in the kitchen had all been either in their cabinets or the dishwasher just last night. The dining room can reach the state it was in today after just one meal. It is just that no matter how many times I clean something, it will just become undone, sometimes in just a few short minutes, and that is what is discouraging to me.
After lunch, I did manage to clean the table, chairs and floor in the dining room. I even swept the kitchen, and returned to the dining room to find Seth sitting on the dining room table playing with the salt and pepper shakers. I took him with me to supervise Elise, who was supposed to be cleaning the upstairs. We arrived, of course, to find her “distracted” and playing with Will instead. After some unsuccessful attempts to get the kids to proactively clean up their messes, I started throwing out some unkind comments and disciplining out of anger. Eventually I realized that this was not the time to deal with the kids problems since I obviously have too many of my own right now, so I sent them all to bed.
I wish I had some thoughtful and encouraging message to end this post with, but all I can tell you is what I am going to do right now. I’m going to wrap up this post, take a break to pray and ask God for strength to get through the rest of this day and for forgiveness for the unkind way I treated my kids, and I’m going to take a nap. Then perhaps, when I wake, I will have a bit more motivation to tackle some of what lies in front of me.