The Truth About Kids & Dogs
|Photo by Levi Saunders on Unsplash|
Sometimes, I sacrifice my dignity on the alter of jest in order for others to laugh at my mistakes and maybe even learn from them. It is for that purpose - and that purpose alone - I share the details of this "bad day" from my list of mom calamities.
Be kind. Have mercy. You weren't there.
When I am not doing my job as a social worker, my time is spent taking care of my three lively little boys: a 6 year old and 2 year old twins.
Like many moms with young children, the days I'm home are spent between moments of heart-bursting love (when they unexpectedly wrap their little hand around my finger) and pure rage (when I find them trying to flush the entire roll down the toilet). These types of scenarios are the norm in my house, and I have come to expect the general level of chaos that three little boys generate.
But every once in awhile something happens that is beyond the pale.
The morning began when I was jolted awake by one of my twins crying as he wet the bed. After cleaning him up, the morning sun was a firm confirmation we weren't going back to sleep.
At breakfast, a glance in the pantry told me we were short on food. It was Friday and time to hit up the grocery store. I made a quick make-shift breakfast, loaded everybody in the car, and tackled my shopping list - we survived.
When we got home, we waved "hello" to our neighbor as we carried the groceries. The boys started to play outside as I was putting food away when I heard:
Maybe they found a squished worm or discovered a new species of booger?
When I looked out the kitchen window I saw one of my twin's pants around his ankles and the other pulling off his socks. I bolted out the door to find my 6 year old pointing at the grass and the twins covered in...well...gross.
My mind exploded.
What to do first?
Leave the nasty in the yard?
Give the twins a bath?
Beg my by-standing neighbor not to call the authorities?
Break into nervous laughter like Barefoot Contessa?
I gathered up the twins like two footballs - one under each arm - and glanced towards my neighbor for a quick, "I'm so sorry you have to see this!"
But I did not see my neighbor - only her lonely trash can of weeds by the fence.
Maybe she didn't see anything? She totally saw everything. She probably ran inside to save herself! No time to think about that.
Baths. Lunch. Naps.
I was exhausted. Nap time could not have come at a better time and just as I started to sink into the couch, a very loud voice came from outside the living room window:
"Dale! Dale!! Will you grab the wrench from the truck! Dale! Dale!!"
You have got to be kidding me.
After only 20 minutes of nap time bliss, the neighbor's lawn care service was right outside my window yelling over their leaf blowers and mowers!
"Not that one, the other one! Dale! Dale? You hear me, Dale? Can! You! Hear! Me!....DALE! Dale?"
If they wake up the twins from their nap, I will bludgeon Dale with that wrench (and a jury of my mom peers will acquit me).
They woke up.
During the next series of events I completely blacked out.
It may have involved me stomping outside, barefoot, and yelling over the fence at the poor man mowing the lawn to "stop yelling" (yes, I see the irony) because he woke the children.
I don't remember anything except the look on his face:
What I do know is...
It was only 2:00pm.
All of the children were awake.
I yelled at Dale, the lawn man. (Why was everyone yelling at Dale?)
It was 3 more hours until my husband got home.
I hadn't even thought about dinner.
I had been up since 4am.
And I may have traumatized my lovely neighbor.
When Matt got home at 5pm, he found me curled up in a ball with a rack of Oreos. The boys were playing safely nearby, but I was too mortified to move. We decided to go out for burgers and ice cream. Because nothing releases stomach knots like grease and dairy. Whatever.
After the boys were in bed, I grabbed my phone and saw I had a missed call and voicemail from my nice neighbor.
She was probably calling to tell me she had witnessed my toddler relieve himself in the yard like a dog. Lord, deliver me.
Actually she had called to tell me that while we were at dinner, our real dog had barked at her and a team of church volunteers helping her with outside projects. She was politely asking us to put him inside.
My husband called her. I was too busy hiding under my Oreo crumbs to face her. I expected her to give him a full blown recount of the day: how she witnessed the poo-tastrophe earlier that morning...how the lawn service complained to her about the wild-eyed mother next door.... how the dog was a nuisance.....and we needed to get control of our lives.
But do you know what happened instead?
After an explanation from my husband, my nice neighbor said, "It sounds like Heather had a rough day. I'm so sorry if my call about the dog made it any worse. Tell her she is doing a great job."
Tell her she is doing a great job.
A conversation over the fence the next day confirmed her kindness. She told me that some days are really hard; she raised three boys of her own that are now grown; she remembers what it was like. She said she enjoys watching our family every day, and we are doing a great job.
I have no idea whether my neighbor witnessed the unthinkable that morning. But her non-judgmental kindness brought hope to the middle of my mess.
I learned a great lesson that day - I judge myself way more harshly than anyone else ever could.
Do you feel completely overwhelmed by motherhood and like the whole world is judging you?
You are not alone.
I'd love to help you find solutions to calm the chaos both in your home and your mind. And if you ever need a fellow mom on the witness stand - I'm your gal.
Be kind to yourselves, mamas. Motherhood is a messy gig.
Did you enjoy this post and want to see more like it? Be sure to hit subscribe above and stay tuned for my next blog post, "Dear Veteran Mom" where I talk more about the life-giving kindness, affirmations, and wisdom novice moms yearn to hear from those who came before us.
Heather is wife to a funny blue devil, mom to three lively boys, and singer both on stage and in her child's ear. She is the owner of Kaloupek Counseling, LLC a private practice offering mental health services to children, teens, and adults in Decatur, IL. You can read more about her, her blog, and counseling practice here. Want to reach out? Send her an email! She would love to hear from you!