Moms: Balancing in Chaos

E and W, Outer Banks

E and W, Outer Banks

There’s always one more thing. Y’all know what I mean, I know it’s not just me. One more load of laundry, one more bill to pay, one more homework to check, one more spill to clean up.

One more post to write, one more thing to tweet, one more thing you need to comment on. And shoot! That email from last week from your college roommate that you have a response to in drafts…did you send it?

Sometimes my mind reminds me of my desk in first grade, that Ms. Kida tutted over so disapprovingly. Papers spilling out of it, chewed pencils missing erasers, and somewhere, I just know it, my math homework is in the back of it.

Of course, the constant backdrop to all of this activity is my children. Their little voices, their wants, their needs, their  humor. My sense of them is so fine-tuned that sometimes I can go days without honing in on the miraculousness of them.

This week, they’ve been catching me unawares, at times when my defenses are down, and I sit stunned at how they change.

W, 3, has woken up the past two night at 2 am. The first time, I heard thumping from upstairs (yes, I was awake…one more thing…) and I went to check on him. He’d relocated from his bed to the floor, pillows, blankets and all, and was turning like a little doggie.

“What’s up, W?” I said, and he answered groggily, “Too much bread, mommy…” I felt his sheets, which resembled a sandbox due to his before bed snack, and dusted them off. As he was re-tucked, he smiled an angel boy smile and opened his eyes, looking right into mine. It was a look that said, “You fixed it, Mom!” Then, he was asleep.

Last night, he needed to be changed-(Still in pullups at night.) But fresh from six hours of sleep, he was ready to par-tay. “Les watch a movie, Mom! Les have some SNACK!”

“No, man, it’s time for bed,” I said, and he settled in with me, a rare occurrence. Or, I should say, he got in my bed and had a ten minute monologue about the animals he sees at the zoo. “And den dere are MONKEES…den dere are ELLYPHANTS…”

As I listened to his high, sweet voice ticking off things he couldn’t say four months ago, I made a mental note to call his former speech therapist. It gave me a chance to hear him, really HEAR him, instead of saying, “Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Now, get your shoes on, we’re late again…” without actually bothering to decipher his content.

I woke up this morning with E., 5, standing by my bed with a bowl of Cheerios and milk. “This is for you, Mommy, since Daddy and J. are away,” she said, placing it carefully on my crowded nightstand.

“Oh, WOW!” I said, and sat up. I took a bite, gingerly, since I couldn’t remember if I’d bought fresh milk since our last trip. I widened my bleary eyes, “Mmmmmmmmm!”, since it tasted reasonably not curdled. She beamed, he little face peeking out from barrettes she’d put on herself, dressed in a Hanna Andersson dress which she’d chosen and laboriously buttoned.

And I marveled, at this sweet thing who’s already taking care of people, even as she takes care of herself. Who are these creatures? I think, these people with their own ideas about what they want to eat and where they want to go. (Especially in Cracker Barrel…but that’s a different post.)

I remember when my babies were teeny, in the grocery store. All the people (at least one a day, it seemed) who said menacingly, “Cherish them. CHERISH THEM! It goes so fast…” and I would look at my milk stained shirt and squawling bundle and dark circles and think, “Yeah, not fast enough.”

But I knew, somewhere in the back along with my math homework, that they were right. That there would come a day, like this week, when I couldn’t find any pants for J, 13, and gave him some of Dan’s from the Goodwill pile…and they fit.

He was very casual, “Yeah, these are good, they fit,” while I stared, mulling the implications. That my boy was grown. That I was saved, since it was 11 pm and he was leaving for a school trip at 6 am and I could only find one pair of pants that fit him. That some moment, while my back was turned or maybe I was on my Iphone, he’d gotten so very, very grown-up.

I’m working on remembering that tuning in to my kids is the number one item on the list, not one more thing.

How do you balance everything else that needs to be done in a family with being blown away by your children?

Check out this Dar Williams song (Which I think I’ve blogged before, but it always helps me remember how fleeting kids are…warning…get tissues. If you’re PMS-y, probably just DON’T. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

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Comments (9)

  1. Jo G. Wednesday - 30 / 09 / 2009 Reply
    Beautiful, as always...
  2. Susan Helene Gottfried Wednesday - 30 / 09 / 2009 Reply
    I think if we were always tuned in to the mind-blowing part of our kids, we'd grow immune to it. We NEED those distractions in order to have the flashes of "Wow." I've been having them lately, too. Must be the season. .-= Susan Helene Gottfried´s last blog ..Susan’s Promo Tales: Visiting and an award! =-.
  3. Julie Wednesday - 30 / 09 / 2009 Reply
    So true my dear! Absolutely lovely.
  4. Cammie ( Wednesday - 30 / 09 / 2009 Reply
    I sooo needed this tonight! As I am sitting at my kitchen table on my laptop along with another laptop and a printer. We had to eat dinner in front of the tv (again) because I couldn't put my work away. UGH! I am going to finish eating and then head back to their rooms and ask them a few questions, really listen and then read them each a chapter from the books we read at night. Other than bedtime, my favorite part of the day is the walk home from school. No distractions and I get lots of GREAT information as they are eager to tell me about their day. Of course, I must remember this is the last year I can do this with my daughter (she heads off to middle school next year). It was beautifully written and thank you for the reminder!
  5. Ri, The Music Savvy Mom Wednesday - 30 / 09 / 2009 Reply
    It IS hard to strike a balance...I struggle with it daily, and suffer ENORMOUS guilt when I glance at Liam and feel like I've missed things while we've both been in the same room. I honestly feel that I fail most of the time - fail in "societal standards" of balance, in that my house is never ALL clean at the same time, and if it is...then that means piles of laundry are hidden in the closets and the dishwasher hasn't been run in days. My "balance" is teetering - no, swaying and lurching like a drunk tightrope walker with a bent pole from extreme to extreme, catching myself just before the seemingly impending crash into the sawdust. It was like that before I became a Mom, though...a carryover from the "crisis to crisis" pace of my childhood. It's how I'm wired. The leveler now IS Liam. Those "wow" moments are the grounding ones, when I stop on a dime to scoop him up, cover him with kisses soaked in giggles and feel all the cosmic tumblers click back into place. The trick for me is to do it more often...before the lurching and swaying. He's my anti-gravity. :) .-= Ri, The Music Savvy Mom´s last blog ..Stuff. It’s coming. =-.
  6. Susan (Trout Towers) Wednesday - 30 / 09 / 2009 Reply
    Chris took Studley to the Red Sox game last night, so Sugarplum and I went out to dinner. She ordered for herself, excused herself to go to the ladies room, chatted on and on about school. For the first time, it was like being out with the girls. Where has my little one gone? It doesn't matter, I can't get enough of who she is now. .-= Susan (Trout Towers)´s last blog ..the official, non-muffin-top related, anniversary post =-.
  7. sarah pekkenen Tuesday - 06 / 10 / 2009 Reply
    Oh, Linds, I hear you, girl! I live for those little moments of clarity and joy amidst the crazy-making chaos of everyday (today: Dog threw up. Sink is leaking. Middle child has a sore throat... all before 9 am!)
  8. kim/hormone-colored days Monday - 30 / 11 / 2009 Reply
    So timely! My boys are 9 and 11 and have been fighting like the dickens, driving me crazy! I miss my sweet adorable preschoolers. Of course, I conveniently ignore what a handful they were back then. I have joined that chorus of seasoned moms who rush to young mothers reminding them to cherish every fast-moving moment. I can't help but think part of that involves missing my own youth (if my 30s qualifed as youth, LOL). .-= kim/hormone-colored days´s last blog ..Finally, A Blog Button! =-.
  9. JendaLynne Photography Monday - 07 / 11 / 2011 Reply
    It always is one more thing huh? ahhh It's crazy!

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