Yesterday, Gannon asked if we could go play upstairs. I figured it would be a good opportunity to get caught up on some computer work while they burned of some energy jumping on beds. The upstairs is only half finished so two rooms are mostly storage. They jumped on beds and explored while taking things out of boxes. At one point Waverly had one of my dresses on. Next thing I knew, she was only wearing yellow rubber boots. And honestly, I’m not sure if the change of clothes happened yesterday or the last time we went up there but we will pretend it was yesterday.
I was really focusing on the task at hand and trying to tune out the noise so I could concentrate. Until I heard the cat food spill all over the floor. I left it knowing I’d sweep it up later but my concentration had been broken. I was trying to finish this ONE thing.
Gannon came in. “Mom. Mom. MOM!”
“What, Gan? I’m just trying to finish this.”
“But mom, Waverly is playing in the litter box.”
Sure as shit, Waverly was playing in the much overdue to be cleaned litter box. With a popped balloon. Her hands buried. Cat shit galore.
I immediately redlined. I screamed at her and she cried. Gannon told me Egan, too, had been sticking his hands in the filth. I was furious. We went downstairs and got hands washed and clothes changed. I was still fuming.
Gannon came up to me and put a hand on my leg. “Mom, I think you should say sorry to Waverly.”
But I couldn’t. I was too mad. Another fifteen minutes went by. I had calmed down enough to talk to her but she didn’t even want to look at me. I don’t blame her. I reacted in a way that I was not proud of and I really was sorry for that. I told her so. Even without her looking at me I wanted her to know that I was upset she played in cat poop because cat poop is dirty but that I didn’t need to yell. And I told her I was sorry. I also told her I was frustrated because I was trying to work on something that I had hoped to finish. She gave me a hug and told me she loved me and we talked a little more.
I was having a rough day. We haven’t been getting much sleep and I’ve been waking up frequently at night in a panic. I’m unable to fall back asleep easily and by the time I do, Egan wants to nurse again. Instead of sleeping I spend my time writing mental letters, poems, and thinking about how much things suck right now.
But I’ve been thinking about how awful those thoughts are. Because things don’t suck. They are just really hard at the moment. Not being able to sleep is really hard. It makes everything else more challenging and positive thoughts more difficult to come by.
All I wanted was to finish one task. That’s what I kept thinking while I was pissed at my daughter for playing in cat shit. I can’t ever just finish ONE THING. My life is a constant interruption. I can’t finish dishes. I can’t finish laundry. I can’t finish a thought.
So therein lies the problem. My expectation is while being home with three young kids that I will be able to get things done without being interrupted. It’s not possible. Maybe some people can accomplish this but I can’t.
This expectation needs to go. When they are jumping on beds, I should probably just jump with them. While Waverly is trying on my summer clothes maybe I should join her. While Gannon is asking me a question or trying to tell me something I should probably listen.
Time management has never been my strong suit, even more so after having kids. But I realize that these things won’t last. I don’t want to miss it. I do also have things I need to get done. It’s all about balance.
And perhaps I need to change my thinking from “I can’t get ONE THING DONE” to “When did I last connect with the kids who seem to be needing my attention so much right now?” Maybe then I’ll see a change in all of us. Listening more intently. Really hearing them. Giving them my time. Putting my phone down. Closing the laptop. Picking up a book and sitting on the floor. Grabbing a basket of blocks, a coloring book and crayons, a ball. Being the mom I was when there was one kid instead of three.
And also remembering that I’m human. I need to forgive myself and try better tomorrow.