I’m going to be perfectly honest with you for a minute. The overwhelming cause of most bad days at my house is me.
My kids are actually pretty easy to please. If you allow them to run free, explore, be loud and a little messy, they can handle the rest. They fight a lot, but they often solve all of their disagreements without adult interference. Basically, they just need to be fed. Me, however, I crave order. I want clean. I need peace. I demand respect. I desire gratitude. I’ve been called uptight on occasion. Maybe I’ve even been accused of being a little dramatic. Also, I might be a bit sarcastic. All of these competing factors all cooped up in one amazing body can get a little hectic. Also, I might be a bit sarcastic.
Allowing the children to test the limits (of their imagination, our home, my patience) adds to my stress level. I try to be creative, finding teachable moments, encouraging creativity, planning errands around treats and naps and bribes and threats. All day, I fuss, and reprimand, and try to mold four balls of energy into reasonable citizens who spend only an appropriate amount of time bathed in toilet water.
So, on the harder days, I can get snappy, which makes my kids snappy. Then my husband comes home to a snappy house, gets infected, and things go downhill from there. When I allow the mundane not to get me down, we all stay up. How do I stay up? The answer is this. I blog. I selfishly began to use my children as muses of inspiration. I delight in finding the funny in the fray. I started my own blog to get it out—to vent all of the stories that I used to tell my mother at the end of the day. Even while sweating profusely in a public toilet stall, holding one child above the contaminated seat while trying to keep the other from splashing us with the toilet water and a baby attached to my chest, crying directly in my face—I knew that I would tell my mother that story that very evening and we would cry from laughing. I would think about it even then, trying to remember every detail so she could really feel my pain in that moment, and the reward would be much greater.
After she died, I found there were more bad days than before. I would forget to see the creative, imaginative boy and concentrate on the design he just painted in the grout lines of my kitchen tile floor. So I write for perspective. And suddenly the horrible thing the kids did, or the series of unfortunate events that was my trip to Walmart, turn into some very hilarious material. Knowing that I will chuckle while I type it out, or imagining that someone else might read it and get a laugh makes the bad moments tolerable. I need this. I need to get this out. Because if I don’t, it isn’t funny. If I don’t laugh about it at some point, well then I’m just wearing children, getting splashed with crap water at Walmart. If that isn’t funny, then it is very, very sad. When I remember how funny it all is, it keeps my mood brighter. And that allows me to enjoy my beautiful children. My talented, toilet-soaked, grout-painting children.