Saturday, October 5, 2013

5 Minutes of Joy

I'll be honest, this past week I hit the breaking point in my loathing of parenting cliches.  I am so tired of the image of the perfect mom with the perfect hair sleeping with her beautiful baby. 
Where's the picture of my day?  It would probably look more like this!  Only add in about 4 more kids and LOT more toys!

Let me give you a peek:

After staying up most of the night with a baby with croup, I woke up to said baby crying, rushed to get dressed and get him up before he woke up his brother.  Too late, my 2-year-old was already awake and informed me that his diaper had leaked adding another 2 loads of laundry to the 3 loads I had already planned to do that day.  (And, how did he manage to get every blanket on his bed wet?!)  Then, my 5-year-old missed the toilet and peed on the shower curtain... 

Between packing lunches and making breakfast, I refereed a few arguments over favorite toys and tried to get my daycare kids settled for the morning. 

Throughout the day, we sang songs, colored pictures, did the calendar, read stories, played with Play Dough, kissed boo-boos, gave bottles, bounced crying babies, and generally tried to survive until naptime.  Unfortunately, sick kids are cranky kids.  By the time I fed my toddler and put him down for a nap, I was ready to drop.  Fifteen minutes later, he started coughing and then he puked all over me.  So naptime turned into "figure out how to keep two cranky babies happy and quiet so the other kids will sleep" time.

In that moment, I did what most stay-at-home-moms do.  Since we don't have colleagues or break rooms, we post our woes on Facebook.  And, that's when one of my dear, sweet neighbors (bless her soul) broke out the most overused parenting cliche of them all: Enjoy every minute of the kids' lives because they grow up way too fast. 

Really?!  Enjoy THIS?!  Did you miss the part about the croup, and the crying, and the puke, and the pee, and the cleaning?  And you want me to "cherish" this?  Do you know who says nonsense like this?  People who are sleeping 8 hours a night!  People who are meeting friends for coffee dates and rushing to their early morning spin class after the bus.  Those of us in the trenches realize that sometimes this parenting stuff stinks!  We're right in the middle of the tantrums and the late nights and we're just looking for 5 minutes to breathe!

So, I will never again write "cherish every moment" on a greeting card.  I will not tell new moms that "it goes by so fast", even though it does!  Because, when you're in the middle of it, the days seem to drag by and you wonder how you'll get to naptime - and then bedtime! 

Instead, I'll tell them to find 5 minutes of joy.  When you're day has been filled with picking up toys, vacuuming Cheerios, cleaning puke, and scrubbing pee - find five minutes to enjoy your kids.  Put down the laundry, ignore the dishes and just sit with them.  Rock the baby for five minutes after his bath and savor the sweet smell of a clean baby.  Spend five minutes singing silly songs with your 2-year-old.  Build a Lego creation and listen to your 5-year-old tell you about his day.  Challenge your 7-year-old to a Mario Kart race and spend 5 minutes remembering why you love what you do so much.

Those 5 minutes are what you'll cherish when the day is through.  Trust me, I've been there.  I am there!  I know how hard it is to feel like you're just barely surviving day to day.  Don't bother enjoying every minute.  Nobody savors the poopy diapers or folding loads and loads of laundry, but thankfully those moments will be forgotten along the way.  What you will remember are the games of Candyland, singing Jake and the Neverland Pirates over and over, and building forts on a rainy day.  Just don't let too much time pass before you start creating your own 5 minutes of joy.  

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15 comments:

  1. You just said everything I've been feeling for the last 15 years...thank you!!! I feel like I've found my new best friend; well, at least my new favorite blog! ;)

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    1. Thanks for commenting Kim! It's definitely scary to admit that parenting is not always happiness and baby giggles! Blessings :)

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  2. Amen, Tina!! Sending this to my sister who is deep in the trenches right now and pinning it to re-read on the days when I am just barely surviving. :)

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  3. This mornig I just let the laundry be the laundry and had a 20 minutes of joy with my girl when playing ludo! I have only 1 child ;-)

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  4. Well said! I have a 3 year old and 8 month old. I am totally in the trenches and get so frustrated when well-meaning people say cliche statements like that. All I want is a breather most days.

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  5. What a great reminder to find 5 minutes of joy. it sounds like we live such similar lives:) I had baby brother puking on me the other day and little brother(who is potty training) pee all over me with in minutes:0 LOL I can laugh now thinking about it but at the time i was not. I look forward to fining my 5 min with each tomorrow! Thanks for sharing your day. Now i do not feel alone!

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  6. Thank you for this wonderful post! I sometimes feel so bad taking "me" time because some little voice in the back of my head says, "She'll only be this age once. You'll miss these days soon." Your 5 minutes idea is a great philosophy - and it's those moments that kids will remember, not all the messy stuff in between!

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  7. This is so true! I often find myself pushed to the limit and then I add that pinch of guilt on top and I boil over! The other day I took that short time to color outside with the kids. It was great and then when I went in to finish my chores I did not feel the guilt. Great post!

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  8. After having a mini meltdown about this to my mom yesterday its great to see I am not alone. I'm a single stay at home mom with an 18 month old son and am sort of substitute mothering my 21 month old niece. It gets tough. My niece, has been through so many changes lately that her behavior at times is just... something I am not used to at all especially from her. We stay in my grandparents house so space is limited and I stress trying to clean up messes ASAP since it isnt my house. There are so many "bad" days but also so many more good ones. When the kids are sharing or making each other giggle, you just cant help but stop, watch and join them. Thats what parenting is all about! Thanks for this post.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Erica! Bless you for taking over with your niece! The days can certainly be long and trying with two toddlers, but those little giggles do go a long way in making them better!

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  9. After having a mini meltdown about this to my mom yesterday its great to see I am not alone. I'm a single stay at home mom with an 18 month old son and am sort of substitute mothering my 21 month old niece. It gets tough. My niece, has been through so many changes lately that her behavior at times is just... something I am not used to at all especially from her. We stay in my grandparents house so space is limited and I stress trying to clean up messes ASAP since it isnt my house. There are so many "bad" days but also so many more good ones. When the kids are sharing or making each other giggle, you just cant help but stop, watch and join them. Thats what parenting is all about! Thanks for this post.

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  10. The cliches are distancing and alienating! Wouldn't it be better to get a bit of compassion? I don't understand why it's so hard! I love this post. I'm a new host of The Sunday Parenting Party and I'm featuring it this week.

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  11. That is so well put! Some things really make me want to pull my hair out, so I do try to find happiness in little moments instead. Glad to have found you on The Sunday Parenting Party!

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  12. You can definitely write out what I think every mom in the history of motherhood feels. That is pretty awesome! Great post! Thanks for sharing at Magic Moments Monday!

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  13. Love this post, so so much. And I love the idea of five minutes of joy. I'll be featuring you in November's Magic Moments. :-)

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