Dear Tired Momma, Why It Really is Okay to Go Slow
by Maggie Paulus
I love how intertwined their lives are with mine.
Them and me– pretty much we share everything. He wants my buttered toast, she wants to sip my coffee. And little britches, oh man, he’s on the verge of wearing me out. No matter how far out of reach I perch, he finds me and confiscates my computer cord. Suddenly no toy on planet Earth is as fascinating as momma’s computer cord.
Nothing is really mine anymore. They scribble on my paper, tote around my books, wear my shoes, lay their head on my pillow. In vain I attempt to recover my things, only to find them in their grimy clasps again. It’s all good, though. I deserve these children. I do. Because I can recall explaining to my Pa on more than one occasion, after he inquired where his t-shirts went, “Just remember–what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine.”
And this is how a family is supposed to be –our little worlds all colliding into each other. I rub off on them, they rub off on me. Perhaps this is illustrated best when I’m scrubbing them up in the tub. They howl exasperated for all the water trickling down their foreheads and into their eyes. Even my oldest performs this obnoxious antic where he coughs and spits as if he’s drowning and then starts to belly laugh down deep in his gut from the ridiculousness of it all. I laugh too because I’m not entirely sure how, but I end up every bit as soaked as him.
And I love how, at least in this season, our worlds are incomplete without the other. Soon as I walk out of the room, one of them yells, “Momma! Where are you?” Just last night, Gideon yelled it three times in a matter of minutes. I kept answering and he kept hollering and he came looking till he found me. I was surprised at how much I loved it. Seems like I should have been annoyed, you know. Like, “can’t a momma go to the bathroom in peace?”
But, I know that all too soon, these little moments when their world so easily collides into mine, will escape. That five year old will be grown and gone and I’ll wonder where he is or what he’s doing and maybe he’ll only call once a week or once a month and I’ll miss his voice and that head full of unruly hair.
The other night, Gideon and I ran. Because I was wanting to get some exercise and he was just wanting to be with me, so he was a race car and I pretended like I was one, too. Now, I know a grown woman isn’t supposed to peel out in her tennis shoes, making loud rumbling noises on the street, but I think God knows I would never run very long for the boredom of it, so we raced and we swerved and I loved every dashing, vrooming minute of it.
There are these moments, though, when all I can feel is tired and all I can think about is sleep. And I get irritated because I just keep doing the same things, like sorting all the clothes and putting all the puzzles back together again. And I keep having the same conversations, the ones that start out, “Don’t say mean things to your sister,” or “Please stop hitting your brother,” and “Okay, it’s time to clean up. Hey…where’d everybody go?”
Kids grow up and they sum up their entire childhood with sentences like, “Our house was always loud and a wreck, but Mom and Dad did stuff with us and it was fun.
So, when it’s loud and I’m wishing for a little quiet, I’ll try to remember that all this noise is beautiful. Because it means that there’s lots of crazy life going on around me and I’ve been given some people to love.
And when I find myself in the middle of chaos, again, I’ll try to smile thankful at the piles of shoes and the heap of laundry and the toys scattered and the fingerprints smudged. Because I can’t exactly lasso the days or freeze the moments and hold them forever. I can only enjoy this one minute right now. This intertwining of my life with theirs. This mingling of all their mess right into mine.