Put a check in the box and move on

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

One of my biggest struggles becoming a Mum has been the ability to just 'go with it.'  I carry a fairly heavy bit of Type A in my bones, so I like things to go closely to how I plan them - as planning is sort of one of my 'things.'  I was definitely one of those girls (pre-motherhood) that thought she knew all sorts of 'right ways' to raise kids and I now think on an almost daily occurrence that I wish I could go back and smack my pre-Mum self for saying anything following the phrase, "When I'm a Mum, I'll never..."  Oh please, you silly, naive girl.

My shock into motherhood started at about 8 weeks of being pregnant for the first time.  I had all the negative symptoms of pregnancy (heartburn, nausea, fatigue, soreness, the list goes on and on) and I was literally shocked that being pregnant did not feel awesome.  The reality checks continued as basically nothing happened as I had planned or expected it to and Greyson was born two weeks early and I blew up like a human water balloon.  

And then nursing was nothing like I thought it would be (way less of a pain in the a, although a lot more difficult to start)
And then being a mom to a newborn was nothing like I expected
neither was being a mom to a baby
nor a mom to a toddler
and then I was surprised by how fast Gem decided to be born
and then again when the post-second baby cramps set in (um, seriously?)
and then surprised again when I got super sick (oops!)

...and I continue to get jolted into a new awareness every.single.day because it is never like I thought it would be and very rarely does it go like I painstakingly plan it. 

Because the thing is - kids just live.  and if they spill a full bowl of cereal in the process - no biggie to them.  Or if after you suit everyone up in winter clothes and boots and hats and THEN they realize they have to take a huge poo - yep, they don't care about that either.   

It's not just hauling two squirmy, loud, overly excited children to the grocery store.  It's also traveling to both sides of the backseat to unbuckle, remind to hold hands, try to tear the them away from those God-forsaken car-grocery carts (whhhhhhyyyyy), return twenty things back to the shelves, explain fourteen times that we don't need milk today because 'Daddy already got us some new milk  yesterday,' and then smile patiently at the cashier as she tells you that your daughter has the entire grocery list in her mouth and your son announces to the bag boy that he's the real Spiderman.

A few weeks ago, I was on the floor in Gem's room folding the kids' clean laundry while both Greyson and Gemma flew around the room like I had given them each a 5 hour energy drink.  Grey was MMA fighting our giant stuffed bear and Gemma was carrying books from one side of the room to the other.  Jon arrived and was baffled by the scene (as a non-Dad himself) but our rule in the house is Mum doesn't care if you run around like a maniac as long as you 'DON'T TOUCH THE FOLDED CLOTHES." Seriously, that rule is cardinal, man and my pre-mom self would be astonished that I allow my kids behave like they belong in the wild...regularly.

Shortly thereafter, the kids started tackling and fighting Jon (and he'd just come from his construction job - read:  filthy dirty) and he suddenly looked up panicked and said, "Oh crap, they're bathed aren't they?"  And very calmly I replied, "eh, sometimes you just have to put a check in the box."

And suddenly, there it was - the biggest realization (yet) in motherhood that I apparently have finally come to learn but probably the hardest one for me to internalize.  Sometimes I do just need to 'put a check in the box' and move on.   

The kids got a bath (check in the box!) and then they immediately got dirty again at dinner.
I vacuumed and mopped (check in the box!) and then 4 minutes later the dogs tracked muddy paw prints through the hallway.
The kids brushed their teeth (check in the box!) and then Daddy gave them cookies.
We went to the post office (check in the box!) and then had to wipe the kids down head to toe from lollipop slobber.

And just now as I was finishing up this post, Grey jumped on the couch and slammed his head off of the arm rest which required:  an extra long snuggle, a flashlight concussion check, and a washcloth with ice in it.  While I was tending to Grey's banged up face (our children rarely have un-bruised faces, wth?), Gemma spilled most of my coffee on the living room carpet.  It may have taken me 4 times as long as it should have, but blog post done (check in the box!)

My cousin and I took our four kids to a zoo this week and we laughed through texts later about how we barely got to talk because we were busy corralling children, making sure goats didn't nibble their hands, and asking the kids to stop spilling the food pellets on the ground. But there weren't any major meltdowns and no acts of violence or bruises.  So at the end of the day, we were all like "Count it!"  Successful play date in public - check in the box!

No one else on this Earth wrecks my plans or ideas of what moments will be like more than my two kids.  But no one else is better at showing me that usually the best laid plans are not nearly as memorable or meaningful as what they make happen.  

Sheesh, I love you two.
impossibly so.

forever and ever, Mum.


  1. I loved this. I am adopting "check in the box" as my new mantra! Love it! It's so true. You just mop, and then they spill. You just cleaned up toys, and they are dumping out a new box. You just folded the laundry, and they tip it over off the couch. sigh.
    Check in the box is a lesson every mom could stand to learn.

  2. I have a 4 year old and 2 year old... this post is the story of my life ; )