19 May 2010

Being a mom is an experience like nothing else.

I parent day and night, day in and day out without predictable breaks or vacation time. My home is filled with toys and craft supplies, my bed has little people sleeping in it, and my shoe size has been dictated by the widening of my feet through three pregnancies. The skin of my belly is striped with stretch marks and my breasts do a great impersonation of an all-hours buffet. I spend my days pulled in fifteen directions at once as dirty laundry, hungry bellies, and chattering mouthes all clamor for my attention. I wake up in the mornings with overwhelming amounts of work waiting for me and I go to bed at night wondering where my days have gone.

And yet...

I watch miracles unfold daily. I see moments of deep and heart-melting tenderness between siblings. I see lightbulbs flashing over heads, I watch dreams swirling behind eyes, and I witness wonder and intrigue awakening in young minds.

I spend my days with these beautiful young souls who pounce on each day like it's a fresh adventure and I watch in awe as they squeeze in every last moment of fun. I stand beside them as they step into the world like its' animals and plants and people are the greatest treasures ever, and I get to see the world through their eyes.

My body has played a part in making people. I have felt the flutterings of tiny feet dancing beneath my skin, the rush of milk flowing from my breasts into hungry mouthes. I have birthed three babies, bringing them from deep within my body out into the world that awaits them. I have held their soft little bodies against my chest and I have experienced a pure love that I have never seen elsewhere.

And so the days may sometimes be long and the pile of dirty dishes may grow bigger by the day, but the struggles and the difficulties in parenthood can never come close to being equal payment for the joy and love of which I am a part.

04 May 2010

Shortly after moving into our house, we converted what is meant to be the master bedroom off the kitchen into a playroom for the kids. It suited us better to have everyone sleeping upstairs and a play area in the main living area for the kids.

As anyone who has been to our house knows, the playroom typically looks like...well, a typical playroom. It gets played in, stuff gets dumped into it, and the mess grows quickly.

Last night, the kids headed to my parents' house for the night and Olivia and I started decluttering the playroom. I ended up working on it for an hour or so last night and then most of today. In the end, I had 11 garbage bags of stuff pulled out of it and I finished just in before the kids got home.

It was the most satisfying cleaning I've done in ages, both because of how much I got accomplished and because I had in my mind that I was creating a beautiful space for my family. The typical resentment, frustration, and overwhelm when I tackle that room disappeared when I set family happiness as my goal. It made it super easy to toss stuff into bags too. I didn't worry about how much items has cost or who had given them to us. If they didn't fit into the context of a happy space, out they went!

When the kids came home they totally flipped out over the room. It hasn't looked anything like this since early in my pregnancy with Olivia. Lily screamed and then fell over. Nick kept jumping and yelling and acting like a total goof. It made a Mama happy and totally validated my work.

Here's what the room looks like now. Liam, by the way, is not beating Lily up even though it looks like he is. They're reading a book. Promise.

See? There's the book. Dollhouse and random toys on the far wall.

Craft table:

Games and some toys in the closet:

Bookshelves! I culled quite a few, if you can believe it.

Reading area next to the bookshelves. There was another chair here earlier but someone peed in it. I'll let you guess who.

Someone made a mess...


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