I was in a port-a-potty with the twins. Twin toddlers in one of the most disgusting entrapments known to humankind. A perk of living in a developed world is we usually do not have to squat in the woods to relieve ourselves, but often we moms know we have to answer the call of nature with spectators.
Trying to, well, go, while trying to tell the twins pretty much nonstop “don’t touch,” “that’s yucky,” “please leave it alone,” made me feel like I was going to lose my cool. I remained calm, quickly finished in the port-a-potty, and then tried to usher the twins to the hand sanitizer before they put their hands anywhere.
I need caution tape when I use the restroom, because the twins rarely even give me one-arm’s distance to take care of things. They are so enthralled with the goings on. Sometimes, I do lock the door before they can get into the bathroom just to provide myself with a little privacy. It is either hear knocking and whining outside the door, or have company while on the toilet.
Every mom I know has said it at least once. “Can’t I just go to the bathroom alone? Is that too much to ask?”
The answer? Yes.
Yes it is too much to ask.
We moms like time alone. Getting to bedtime can become the goal of the tough days. (Lord, just let me make it to bedtime!)
How many times have you logged into Facebook to see a mom-friend who has posted, “Is it bedtime yet? I’m done!”
I have seen that in my newsfeed a time or ten. I have posted versions of that as my status update at least a few times.
I don’t know a mom who has easy days every day. Looking back I now feel when I had my first child things were fairly
easy manageable. The days felt challenging, it felt tiring, but assessing my 4-child household now I laugh at my earlier self. I understand that I did not know then what I know now. Tough then was different than tough now, but it is all challenge I have faced on each step of my motherhood journey.
Now, I see an almost-8-year old who does not ask me every single morning for a waffle for breakfast. No, now he just grabs the bag of waffles out of the freezer and pops them into the toaster himself. A few mornings, he even popped a few more waffles into the toaster for his 3 siblings while I was still in bed (not asleep, but listening to the beauty of it all). It is motherhood heaven!
If I was not here, he would not starve. He’d get an overdose of carbs and sugars, but he would not die of starvation.
Those moments when I pushed past wanting some space, resisted the desire to be alone, wished for less clingy kids, they all led me to teaching my children independence. Life lessons for them and now they are life lessons for me as I recognize the benefits.
All of my kids are not quite this independent yet, but it is coming. My preschooler dresses herself, brushes her teeth, and often tries to brush her hair all on her own. She sometimes does not want help. Other times she still asks-or is gently reminded that she needs it. She can make her own peanut butter sandwich if needed and even occasionally asks to do it on her own.
They are learning. I think about the fact that it was being around me and our daily routines at home that taught them how to do these things. Even the smallest of tasks, the simple things we do without thinking they are much of anything-like using the restroom.
There are days when I feel down or frustrated when I have taught my children a skill many times over, and they still don’t understand it enough to do it on their own. I constantly have to attend, help, pay attention, and guide.
Repeat, repeat, repeat…
Why can’t I go to the bathroom alone?
Why do I have to say that again?
Why aren’t you listening to me?
When are you going to learn?
Now to myself I ask: “When are you going to recognize all that they are learning, all that you have taught them?”
It takes a lot of repetition to learn life’s lessons. As an adult I am still learning.
Children need to see us day-in-and-day out doing the cooking, cleaning, playing, reading and even (gasp) the crucial task of visiting the bathroom when needed to LEARN how to do it.
They do not just need us to tell them how, they almost desire that we show them. With our actions-on the small and larger tasks every day-we show them how to stay alive, be healthy, live with kindness and care, rest, exercise, and to always learn more.
We belittle our work as moms (and it is work…work that benefits from full-time status). We look down on the housekeeping, cooking, cleaning, and parenting, but aren’t those tasks important? When our children are adults won’t they need to clean a home, cook a healthy meal, and be as present as possible to parent their children effectively?
I need to recognize that the little things are major steps of my children learning life lessons-even when I want more space in the bathroom.
What times of the day are hardest for you to enjoy your children being ever-present?
This post is part of the weekly series Mom Motivation Mondays. This month we welcome 2 new contributors and welcome back one of your favorite contributors from last session.
Each Monday, contributing writers will share their motherhood experiences to encourage you to find joy even in the challenging days of motherhood. Three of us are stay-at-home moms who also blog, one of us is a former SAHM-turned working mom who works at home and part time outside of the home. The variety of our experiences help us reach you in your season of motherhood.
Meet the newest group of Mom Motivation Mondays contributors:
Heather Hice-McCray is our returning contributor. She is a real-life friend of mine. We met while living on a military base in North Carolina and have maintained our friendship despite now living on opposite coasts of the USA.
More about Heather-
I live in Florida with my husband, two girls and two pups. I am a lover of most things in life, some of which include working out, learning new recipes, Pinterest, organizing (yes, it’s true!), home decor and learning to lead a more minimal and purposeful life. I started Just Becoming Me as a venture to better understand myself and what will lead me towards a more fulfilling life.
Posts from Just Becoming Me
Kristin Helms has appeared as a guest author here on the SAHM Survival Guide. Her post about Finding a Mom Tribe really touched many of you as you are seeking out mom-friendships in this child-and-family-focused time of life. Kristin has recently had her 2nd child earning her the title of mom to 2 under 2.
More about Kristin-
I am a mom to a beautiful baby girl, Miss B, and a new baby boy, Baby G. Pre-babies I worked in the corporate world doing marketing and public relations in the hotel business. I’m now a stay-at-home-mom and freelance writer. I write about all aspects of motherhood and other Fabulous Moms that I meet along the way.
Posts from The Mommy Project, San Diego
Lisa Brown is not only a homeschooling mom, a Christian writer and blogger, she is in her own words, “not a young mom.” We all gain so much perspective in learning from each other. I am thrilled that Lisa will be sharing her faith-based mom motivation monthly.
More about Lisa-
I was forty when I got married. I had my first child in 2008 and my second child in 2010. I’ve been married since 2006 to an amazing man that is my best friend. We live in Colorado with our son and pretty little girl. Before I had children I was a Preschool Teacher. Now I’m a Home School Teacher. I write to encourage and inspire. Life is messy and sometimes makes no sense. I choose to live for God because He has blessed me so much. I’m learning that I don’t have to be perfect. My posts are meant to help you hang in there when you feel like giving up.
Posts from Me Too Moments for Moms
View the first session of Mom Motivation Mondays here, or you can read more about our first session contributors. We are all looking forward to sharing with you each week. If you’d like to be one of the first to receive your Mom Motivation for the week, sign up for my free newsletter and receive 2 free printables that will encourage you in your home and in motherhood.