Bedtime mom is repentant. She is sad that she declared that she “hates bedtime” in a sea of tooth brushing, snack wanting, drink requesting, “no not these pajamas, THOSE pajamas”ing, snuggle needing, book reading, missing blanket searching, “I need my bear” manhunt chaos that is night time non routine here at the homestead.
Tomorrow, I tell myself, I will be patient. And fun. And remember they are tiny cavemen with big feelings. I will not heavy sigh when they ask for another story. I will not beg them with an edge to my voice to please just let me drink my coffee in peace for one minute. I will not forget that little hearts in chaos need an adult that is calm, and that meeting them in their chaos helps no one. I will remember when I didn’t think I would ever have more kiddos and that empty arms were so much heavier than these long, long days.
This is motherhood. Morning comes, and I still want my coffee in peace. The fifth spill of the morning before 9:00 am is still frustrating. I still grit my teeth when a request is made for yet another story. It’s still maddening that two tiny darlings can turn into brawling inmates over the last clean spiderman plate. It feels like I move from one mess/need/demand to another with no break in between. A family this large is in constant motion and I am the keeper of the chaos and cannot pause or it spins away from me and that is never good.
Sometimes bedtime mom needs a pep talk, though. That is what morning mom is good for. I remind myself that I may have sighed, but I read that story anyway. I would have killed for silent coffee, but we snuggled and chatted instead. Together we cleaned that mess.. and the one after it… and the one after that. That bedtime guilt isn’t necessary because babies aren’t the only ones growing…mommies are, too. It’s okay to need to learn and re-learn every day that babies don’t keep and no mess, no annoyance, no frustration is bigger than watching them grow through exploring and tantrums and being calmed in the midst of their big feelings. That when I read that last story and go on the hunt for the missing bear, I am teaching sacrifice. That when I reach out to them in their tantrum and tell them I am so sorry their little heart is feeling so angry and ask if they need a hug, I am teaching grace. That as they grow, they will be even better at it than I am and will remember when their kiddos ask for one more hug, one more drink, one more story.
Love looks like something and today it looks like outdoor cars inside, all of my spatulas and spoons spilled on the floor because two little men are “police offers” and are repairing their broken down squad cars. And seeing my cooking utensils on the dusty floor makes me want to squash the imaginative play and tell them to put it all away… but so far today, morning mom is giving bedtime mom one less thing to feel guilty about.