Monday, April 18, 2011

Solve and Resolve

My favorite from J. Kirk Richards' inspiring series

Wednesday morning text message to Taylor:

Thank your coworkers for not pooing on the carpet

'Cause one of my coworkers--Roger to be exact--had just had an accident, which he proceeded to step in and track all over the upstairs.


This was just a day or two after Blaine had dumped a third of a gallon of milk out on the kitchen counter and floor and just a few hours before both boys made major mischief in my sewing stuff.

{This is where my mom asks, 'Well what were they doing out of your sight?' and I reply, 'I have to go to the bathroom and take showers and help the baby sometimes! Give me a break!}

By Wednesday evening I came unglued. "I hate my job!" I ranted to Taylor. "I can't get anything done around here because they mess things up faster than I can clean them. And they absolutely never listen to me. Never!"

"Dear, can you please use a softer voice and fewer superlatives?" Taylor calmly asked.

"No! I'm mad! And they aren't superlatives! They're true!" I barked back, irrational as ever. "I just don't know what to do! I don't know what to do!"

It wasn't until the next morning that I had laughed at myself a little, calmed down a lot, and decided that it was time to come up with some solutions.

I grew up with a mother who always said, "Every problem has a solution." She chanted that mantra to me all my life and now I repeat it to my own children.

My sister, Liz, once told me: "It doesn't make sense for us mothers to throw our hands up and say 'I give up on this problem.' What if I had a corporate job? When something hard came up would I just sulk and tell the boss 'I quit?' Never! I would go back to my office and figure out a solution! Mothering is my job. When I meet a challenge, I have to find a way to make it better."

Thursday morning email to Taylor:

I am working on some solutions. Like I am going to keep the baby's room (where the sewing stuff is kept) and upstairs bathroom (where much water mischief takes place)locked. And I am going to try to nurse upstairs so the kids can play and I can see them.

The other part of the solution is for me to a) stop having a panic attack every 5 minutes that my house doesn't look perfect b) remind myself that they are 3 and 4 years old and c) find the power to control myself and stop all the ranting and raving.

So anyway, those are my goals. I don't hate my job. Not at all. I love it. I like it. I reverence it.

In fact, it was the image at the top of this post that motivated my penance. I saw it Thursday morning and the reverence flooded over me.



Anonymous said...

Anne, I am a mother of a four yr old, turning three next month old, and 7 month baby - all boys! I can completely relate to how you are feeling! On the days where the stars align and I get the house picked up, it takes less than an hour to return to chaos. I often feel like throwing my hands in the air, but instead I have decided to try and save having the house look presentable for when people are coming over, and the rest of the time the suprise visitor will just have to understand that two very active children live here. I never thought I would run my household this way, but it is working. I just have to remember that there is a season to everything and with three little ones at home household perfection is just not a part of this season. Adjusting to three was not easy for me and things are finally starting to come together after more than 6 months of "adjusting." Just remember to set your priorities for the day (for me that includes scriptures, shower, and dinner) and then keep your kids first. Also, seek opportunities to get away if you can so you can return home feeling motivated to continue the motherhood job. We all need a break now and then. Thanks for sharing your stories. It's always nice to know others have experienced what you are dealing with.

Julie said...

I can completely relate to your post. Once I realized that Architectual Digest was not coming to do a shoot at my house, I felt better, parented better, and was much happier. And so were my kids! Good luck- it's a process.

Christina said...

I think poo stepped in and dragged through the carpet would cause most people to lose it!

I love Liz's thoughts. Thanks for sharing this, Anne.

Anonymous said...

For the record, I do not remember making that insightful comment, and in the last few weeks have felt like throwing in the towel multiple times. My latest parenting joy is that one of my kids has an itchy rash that won't get better, and after some internet research I'm pretty worried it's scabies, which is both disgusting and contagious. We're headed to the doctor today to find out if I'm right. So that's fun! This is just hard work, mothering -- there's no way around it. I second Christina though -- poo on carpet is always a no-go. I look forward to the day when my kids can all manage their own bowels (not just potty-trained, but self-wiping!) because there is way too much poo involved in this job. It makes me wonder how anyone with kids can stand to have a dog.

Vicky said...

In the same boat. It seems like my boys specifically take advantage of nursing time to wreak havoc on the house (and flood the bathroom). What's the deal? Anyway, my resolve is similar to yours. Good luck!

Robin said...

I "fondly" remember the time when my oldest went through his "dig and paint" phase--as in digging into his poopy diapers and painting the resulting product all over walls, beds, carpet, and library books (it was a board book and I scrubbed it off really well, but I still feel a little ashamed at the thought of all the other people who checked out "Sheep in a Jeep" after us). My mothering mantra has become "This too shall pass". This same child is now almost twelve and I never catch him painting feces on the walls anymore :).

By the way, as Liz's SIL, I am enjoying all these insights into her sisterly wisdom, from her actual sister! We miss ya, Liz!

Anonymous said...

My sister's 3 y.o. always announces he's filled his drawers with a handful of carefully dug-out poop. It's been going on for months. Can't say any of my kiddos have had the desire to use poop like playdoh, (thankfully!) but I get the whole wanting to give up and call it a day/week/month/year.
Now that the hubbers has been called to be the Bishop (yeehaw!) and we found out 2 days later we're expecting #6 (holy crap!), I'm pretty ok with my house looking like a tornado hit while I exhaustedly nap on the couch.
I saw a great quote the other day:
"I can do ANYTHING--but I can't do EVERYTHING." When I start to get overwhelmed, I try to remember this and it puts it all back into perspective. Even the mountain of laundry on my couch waiting for 3 days to get folded. Ok, sometimes 4.

Amy at Ameroonie Designs said...

Terrific post! It was linked in a comment on my blog by a reader! I love your perspective, although I have to agree with the consensus, poo is never okay- and shouldn't have to be. :)

Rae. said...

Oh my Anne, this is my favorite post of yours yet - how I can relate!

Mom of three girls, and yet I swear they are as nutty as boys! The third baby threw me through a loop myself, and juggling three is a whole new realm of difficulty.

You're not alone... and for someone who clearly holds things together as well as you do (although I doubt you give yourself that credit!) you deserve your occasional freak out days (superlatives, expletives, whatever that might entail! For me, it's an El Gordo Taco from Jimboys with a large pink lemonade - I don't care what the experts say about medicating with food - hiding in my vehicle and reading in the parking lot alone after my husband has gotten home and I've bolted the chaos).

I commend you on your solution oriented perspective!


Matt said...

Anne, since our #4 is due in a few months I may change my opinion, but for me going from 2 to 3 was REALLY hard. I feel like now, we've finally accepted a little slice of chaos in every day as a reality, and things are getting a little easier. It's going to get better, and I bet when you're getting a little more sleep you'll be able to more easily remember why you love your job. I laughed about your text to Taylor about his co-workers. So funny.

Natalie said...

I always forget to check if I'm signed in! :) I am Matt. It just always looks funny to see a guys name commenting on something like this.

Joan said...

I second Rae's thoughts. Food equals my happy place :) You already knew that though!
This post spoke right to me in so many ways. Number three is hard. It has been challenging for me, anyway. It's a whole new level of motherhood.

jeanine said...

I loved this post Anne!!!

#3 was a hard adjustment (we'll see how #4 goes!) One of the best pieces of advice I got (from a mother of 6 and our bishop's wife at the time) was "The house can be clean next year." In other words, it's okay to use paper plates and not have a sparkling house... just enjoy being a new mom! I remember that everytime I have a new little one around!

Andy and Jennifer said...

Well...#4 hasn't (for me) been as bad for going from 2 to 3. Although, 1-3 were born within 36 months, and #4 is younger than #3 by 36 months! Still, I will start saying, "Every problem has a solution"!