Mommy bloggers or users of social media like Facebook are accused of posting only the Norman Rockwell moments, the moments of peaceful bliss. I struggle to find a balance myself because one doesn't want to simply complain: this medium is not appropriate for emotional complaining, especially as my children get older and deserve their own privacy. But I never want to pretend that this life of homeschooling and being open to babies as God sends them is easy or simple because that falsehood is highly discouraging to other mothers (just like it is to me when I read such blogs).
What is the balance?
Lately I've enjoyed taking photos of Real Life Moments that are humorous . . . at least after the fact!
1. When I exercise each morning between 6:00 and 7:00, the kids are on their own with access to cold cereal and the television as babysitter. As I emerge from working out, I take a deep breath and tell myself that it was worth it to the health of me and the baby inside me, almost no matter what I find . . . like the 2- and 3-year-olds happily eating dry cereal off the floor . . .
. . . or my slippers on the table because our eating surfaces are where dirty shoes belong, right?
2. We used to use the bonus/play room as our school room, so it got cleaned up daily. I have since moved school headquarters down to the kitchen, meaning that the youngest children especially have unsupervised, free reign of the play room while I'm schooling. I don't have reason to go up there but once or twice per week and the result is as astonishing mess. Things happen like many books off shelves, most pieces of furniture overturned into forts, every single puzzle box emptied with pieces all mixed together, and all the crayons we own strewn about the room.
I have learned that it is very bad for my well being (read: blood pressure) to freak out about this. Instead I try to take deep breaths as I ascend the stairs, tell myself not to feel overwhelmed by this unexpected (which should be expected!) To Do Task. I am the one letting the kids have free reign up there, which is a freedom they can't quite handle without these results. (Really! Imagine a daycare center at which the sitters don't clean up each day: how would it look at the end of a week, or even one day? And I get mad, like this is unexpected?)
3. Even though I'm in the very same room, Joseph (25 months) finds pens often and writes on walls. I keep all pens high and contained, but they do have to come down during school time and that is when the little graffiti artist strikes. I use Magic Eraser liberally. (FYI, I just found out that Magic Eraser is merely melamine squares, which one can find dirt cheap in bulk on Ebay! I just bought 30 squares for a mere $7 and they work just as well.)
4. Being pregnant, my needs for rest are much higher and, even when I don't feel tired, my need to lay horizontally and rest my back is frequent throughout the day. One afternoon, I put everyone into different places for Quiet Time and lay down myself. My 8-year-old scientist took initiative, which we all admire, to get out the Lentil Science, which is a wonderful program that always results in the same mess. The photo surely doesn't capture the hundreds of lentils scattered on the wood floor. (Mama did finally take the time to teach the Mad Scientist how to vacuum up lentils himself, and the amount of work it takes rather amazed him.)
Real Life doesn't look like a Norman Rockwell painting, a Martha Stewart magazine, or a Pinterest website, but it sure is sweet if we can stay calm during the tough moments. (I need a dose of my own medicine! Off I go this morning to a much-needed Women's Lenten Retreat.)
|Making a Big Bed in the girls' room|
|Mary reading bedtime stories to her siblings|