Life is in the Interruptions

Interruptions, oh how I am constantly being interrupted. Many days I do not sit down to eat until two o’clock…. By the time I feed the baby, prepare my daughter’s meal, then take her to the bathroom, change the baby’s diaper, get them both down for naps at the SAME TIME! (That’s my goal anyway!)

Interruptions are a way of life. It took me 34 years to figure that out!  I hope this helps you know that before 34 years!  I have finally come to expect that I will never be able to complete one task in a day, or at least not while I have a three year old and a baby.  It is just…not… happening.  I try, oh, how I try. I start to unload the dishwasher, then it’s “Mommy, I need to go potty”.  I try again, then the baby starts crying. Then the dog needs to go out. Then I turn my back, and my daughter is handing her seven month old brother paper to chew on and hard peppermints within his reach! (I know, I should have moved the peppermints! Don’t worry, I did after that!)

I have finally just decided to accept my interrupted life. That’s not a bad thing. I’ve decided to change my perspective. If you can’t change the circumstance, then change the way you look at things. When I look at my children as interruptions, then my day goes much smoother.  I expect to be interrupted every five minutes.  And that’s OKAY. This is just a season. My children need me now, they will not always need me. God made me to be their mom, the dishes can wait.

I often think this is how Jesus felt. He was constantly interrupted as well. He was constantly giving, with very little in return.  I wonder if he ever got frustrated?

Just this evening, I was actually sweeping the floors (this is a rarity in my house! Who has time for that?).  My daughter was “helping”, and by helping I mean sweeping my piles of dirt out of their piles in order that I had to sweep again! She was trying to be helpful. It’s really my fault for showing her how and buying her a mini broom. (Yes, I did!) How often were people trying to help Jesus, and they just made it worse. What did Jesus do in those moments?

I think so many times we focus on life in between the interruptions, on the tasks on hand. We so often forget that Life is IN the interruptions.  Our life is those little interruptions:  the baby crying in the night, sticky hands hugging you, tears that need wiping, knees that need to be kissed and cleaned. Our life is in those phone calls from a friend who needs you. Or perhaps it’s in putting down your electronics to look your spouse in the eye. Maybe it’s the person in the hall at work or school who is lost, just needing directions and guidance. Take Martha, for instance. She was a busy woman, and I think she may have been a little resentful of Mary. Mary was her interruption. She had to stop what she was doing to go ask Mary to help. I can relate.  BUT, Jesus had it more right. He delighted in the interruption. He saw Mary’s heart and accepted her. He loved her. He loved Martha too; he just needed her to stop and slow down, to take joy in the interruption.

I’m not saying I’m great at this. Not in the least.  I am a work in progress, and I am just praying along the way that I don’t screw my kids up too bad.  I probably would have been a Martha. But when I look back on my life, I want to remember what I did with my life of interruptions.

Remember, Life is in the interruptions.

What interruptions have you had today?

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Mommies Get Angry Too!

It was a rough weekend, make that a rough month, maybe even two months.

Let’s see, it all started with my baby boy’s four month check up, in which he had not gained enough weight. As a result, we were having to take him to the doctor every 2 weeks for weight checks. One week, after not nursing well for a few days, I took him into the doctor and he had not gained any weight. None, in 2 weeks! That is not normal for a baby, period. So of course I’m worried; the doctor is concerned, and I’m angry. I’m angry at myself for not noticing his lack of weight gain; I’m angry at my baby for not following the text book (I like control people!), I’m angry at my husband for not getting why I was so upset; I’m angry at my 3 year old for distracting me.  I’m angry because I’m having to watch the lab technicians prick my little boy’s fingers for blood while he screams and looks at me with alligator tears streaming down his face. I know he is saying, “Why are you letting them do this to me momma!??”

Fast forward a week, and after pumping, giving baby expressed milk from pumping, then following that with 2 to 4 ounces of formula, and then following with baby food, we finally gained 7 ounces in one week! Yay!  But I’m still angry. I’m angry at the time spent feeding our baby, perhaps even a little resentful. I value my time, and every minute spent feeding our child, is a minute I can’t fold the laundry, get dinner ready, just be with my children, watch television., write, etc.  I value my little boy’s health, but I am stressed.  I’m angry at myself because I’m too exhausted every night to do any said stuff once everybody is finally asleep! Oh, I am so tired. It has been a rough few months.

Fast forward another few weeks, a gastrointestinal bug plagues our family. First it hits the 3 year old, then my hubby, and just when I think I have made it through unscathed, then it hits me (and oh yeah, did I mention that turns out my baby did have a virus on top of not gaining weight).  So, I miss work, which makes me angry at losing that money because I will not get paid if I don’t work. And of course, I get thrown up on… More than once (every mother’s dream).

I think we are finally through that ordeal, when we start noticing little pimple like sores on my little girl’s bottom. Turns out she has a skin infection. In the mean time, my husband for the last month or two has been having off and on chills. He finally goes to the doctor and he is diagnosed with mono. Seriously?? So now I’m angry because I have to take care of everybody!  Why does he always catch everything? I’m angry that I as a nurse didn’t catch it sooner myself.

So in summary, over the course of two months, I have been thrown up on at least four, five times, have had to clean out pus from my daughters skin infection (sorry to those with weak stomachs), and then yesterday, my daughter pees all over me and all over the bathroom floor!! I lost it! I feel like I had been taking things in stride up until this point. That was it Enough was enough!

She peed on me because she was refusing to use the potty (she has been pee pee potty trained for several months now so this was not acceptable!), so I manually put her on the toilet, to which she responds by screaming and thrashing about, resulting in said urine being sprayed all over me and the floor. Let me remind  you that I have been cleaning up vomit for the last couple of days, from clothes to sheets to stuffed animals. I am tired! I am just drained, and I am tired of cleaning up gross stuff. Just because I am a nurse does not mean I enjoy it!

I then, of course, as only all good mothers do, began to yell at my 3 year old. I then tell her that she has to clean up the pee herself (which I don’t think is a bad lesson, just probably not approached in the right way). We ended with us staring at each other in a battle of wills. My little 3 year old mini me, staring just as stubbornly back at me as I was staring at her. I have more years of stubborn strong will then she does, so naturally I win.

Like I said, it has been a rough few months.

Why did I get so angry? I’m mom; I’m not supposed to loose my cool.  I should have at that moment apologized. I wish I could say I did later. But I didn’t.

Fortunately, my mini me is only 3 and didn’t hold it against me. She went to bed as usual and still gave me a little kiss and hug as I lied down with her in her bed. Sweet children. That we should give ourselves grace like our children give us grace. They know what forgiveness means, even if they can’t verbalize it.  You lose your cool; they don’t remember it the next day. They still want you to play with them. How often can we say we do the same? How often do we forgive ourselves? None of us are perfect parents.

I challenge you to forgive yourself as your children forgive you. Everyday is a new day. The next day our young children have all but forgotten that we lost our cool. They love you unconditionally. You are their whole little world. That’s true love. Let’s learn to love ourselves the same and start each day anew.

You can do this! This parenting stuff, you got this.  We can do hard things! Now, take a deep breath with me….. Breathe in…. Breathe out…..  Say it with me: “I can do this! I can do hard things! My past does not define me! Every day is a new day!”