Wednesday, April 2, 2008

the balancing act

Note: this post is in tribute to "keeping it real." Do I really want to remember the hard, crazy days in the future when all this fades from my memory? I sure do.

Sometimes I think I'm losing it. It all started up this morning with Claire wetting her bed...again. And then Lucy's diaper explosion during breakfast that went up her back. And then it was a half day at school which my sweet children directly translate to mean a five-hour party with everyone they can think of in the neighborhood...at our house. Which in most instances is great. I love all those friends with all my heart. They are so good and polite and kind...in smaller doses. But today I had a headache and the cleaning ladies had just left which made me cringe as all their hard work went to pot as the kids traipsed in and out of the house wet from the pool and spilling popcorn and juice box drips in little trails behind them. {Note: Do I know I am spoiled to have cleaning ladies that come to help out every other week? Yes, and I want to kiss them every time they show up to help rescue me from the dirt and squalor that I'm sure would be my fate without them.} And the slamming doors and all the teasing and rough housing didn't do much for my headache. And then it was a rush of carpool time, and then it was dinner time, and then sweet Elle crammed the brimming-full-of-sparkly-
clean-dishes dishwasher even more full...with really dirty ones, and then Lucy fell off the table and had a fifteen minute meltdown, and Claire decided she needed to pout and cry about everything from a stern look I gave her to the fact that she couldn't get Lucy to laugh, and Max and Elle got in a big argument about some completely random thing. So by the time I sent them all off to get on their p.js after Dave left for Young Mens and I opened the dryer with more laundry waiting to be folded I was ready for my own meltdown.

And what's weird is that today wasn't even that crazy. I mean, a lot of worse things could have happened. And a lot of good things did happen: I got to go to Max's class this morning and do Art Masterpiece which we both love. Dave even stayed home with the little girls while I was gone so I didn't have to find someone else to watch them. A friend picked Lucy, Claire & I up this morning and we had so much fun with her and her daughters at "Transportation Day" at their preschool. Elle made dinner for tonight at her cooking class last night and it was delicious after simply cooking in the crockpot all day. My friend drove the tennis carpool. It should have been a smooth day. But it wasn't.

I guess what makes me frustrated is that I realize today was tough because of me and my attitude. I'm the mother, and because of that, I have the power to make a day like today better. I could have helped the kids all figure out some kind of nice service they could do for someone else. They were asking for ideas. Why didn't I come up with some creative, fun thing for them instead of letting them wreck havoc on my clean house? I was too wrapped around trying to finish off the editing of two photoshoots while Lucy was napping, and I just can't always be "on," that's why. I could have been ready to diffuse tension when Max and Elle started to get frustrated with each other. I could have taken more time to dote on Claire so she wasn't so sensitive. I need to somehow get better at my own "balancing act." Some days I'm "on" and I feel like I can take on the world. But today wasn't one of them. I guess it's a continual battle, and someday when I'm old, maybe I'll get it.

But for now, I'm off to get mesmerized by watching my kids sleep, go take sleeping Claire to the bathroom so she won't wet the bed again, and then snuggle in and let my sweet husband's sleepy breathing lull me to sleep, and try once again not to cough all night, so that tomorrow my balancing act will come off a little better than it did today.

18 comments:

  1. Oh Shawni what a day! It is so difficult as a Mother to always be "on" and engaged as to our children's needs. But, you are soooo hard on yourself because you are an absolutely amazing mother to your children.
    It is so nice to know that others struggle with the same things and we are all just trying our best. Thank you for being so honest about your feelings as they help me feel more "normal" when dealing with all of the chaos in my home. I just love you!

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  2. It's so hard to be a mom sometimes. Yet, always rewarding. I think even we it is the toughest, we come out winners. I love to watch my children sleep. I love the quiet of those moments. And I hate 1/2 days! :)
    On a side note... I would LOVE to help you with Lucy and Claire sometime! I think Lyndee and Dylin would love to have them come over to play! I hope you think of me when you're in a jam...or just need a break.
    Here's to hoping for a better day...!!!

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  3. Your awesome Shawni! I love your honesty!

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  4. We have a picture you need to come look at called "The Balancing Act" you would appreciate it. I think half days are over rated. Whatever half of the neighborhood wasnt at your house was at ours. You want the kids to have fun and enjoy the day but it always ends up out of control. I went to bed exhausted last night. I am totally with you on how hard it can be sometimes. Maybe we should plan some activities not in our houses on half days so we can enjoy the day a little more.

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  5. You are seriously so cute! I love your blog! I am a Mom to 5 kids backwards to you 4 boys and then 1 girl! I love to read your stories, and oh how I can so relate! I think you are great! Some times we have to do like Dori on Nemo and just keep swimming, just keep swimming! Hope your day goes better tomorrow. And if nothing else know you are not alone!

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  6. Oh Shawni, thanks for taking me back to my mothering journey when it seemed that the kids were running me! You are the SO AMAZING! If tomorrow isn't better, a better day will come along soon..promise. And no matter what...every day whether hilarious, heavenly or horrendous...is worth it!
    Your mom

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  7. I love reading your blog Shawni- it's so inspiring. Even posts like these!I'm glad we can keep in touch this way.

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  8. I think we can all relate. Thank you so much for putting in perspecitve for us. It can be so hard to change our attitudes! But if we do we can reap so many rewards. Thanks for letting me catch a look into you blog again and realize that we all have struggles at times! Now I have to get off this darn computer and go do something about those crying kids! Thanks again!

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  9. I definitely think we all have days like this, even on a smaller scale... like me. Sometimes my coping mechanism is shut off when I have a headache though. But, from what I read, you've got the balancing act down pat!!
    Hope the rest of the week is much better! (Oh and I am SOOOOOOOO jealous of cleaning ladies)
    ~Christine

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  10. Shawni!!! Thanks for sharing...I needed to hear what you had to say. I was feeling so guilty for praying for rain today--ALL day--so soccer would be cancelled (Mark is out of town and I just didn't want to pack everyone up in the cold and go to one more event). It would have solved all of my scheduling problems for today! Anyway, it didn't rain (at least not enough to change anything) and at the end of practice Camden was beaming and couldn't stop talking about how much fun he had. His excitement made it so much more bearable--though the thought of cancelling EVERYTHING for a month so I can catch my breath is tempting. I don't know how you do it...

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  11. Thank you. I had a horrible half day as well and when they were all asleep, I realized also, that it was me who needed to calm down and enjoy the day like they did. They just wanted to play. Today, I took my little one to the Zoo to just play. It was amazing that he was so happy and so unlike the day before when I made him work around me. Its all in the attitude!

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  12. Wow! And then to top it off you had to teach a photography class!! You were so put together and shared such great thoughts and tips. No one would have ever guessed you were having a tough morning. Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with us, especially on such a crazy day!! You are an amazing person and I am always in awe with all that you are able to do. You are inspiring! Don't sell yourself short!! We are all blessed to know you!

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  13. See now I feel better about when I have days like this and want to run out the door far far away.....then they go to sleep and I feel bad that I felt that way.
    I think we all go through these days. I am glad I am not alone.
    And I agree about the cleaning ladies! Oh my gosh I am so grateful when they leave and my house is so clean, sparkling, and smells good. They help me with all those things I don't have time to get to...baseboards, dusting, windows...Love them!
    Also it must say something that all the kids love coming to your house! And as they get older it is nice to be able to keep a eye and ear out.....

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  14. Sorry it's Jessie not my son Jackson.....

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  15. Shawni,
    You are so inspiring! I too love your honesty. I feel drained with my 3rd baby being born. I can't imagine balancing 5 and being a photographer. You are such a good mom!

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  16. I ABSOLUTELY love this! This is so true! I had one of these days just yesterday and I felt horrible last night just thinking of all I could have done differently.
    You are so full of ideas and refreshing honesty.
    Have a great Sunday- and a better day today!

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  17. You put it perfectly. Why can't we all just be "ON" all the time? I would be such a better person, mother, wife and friend if I could just toss out my bad attitude that creeps in now and then and make it work. It would make all the difference not only to me, but to my family.

    You amaze me. You go, go, go and yet through it all you see the good, the things that are really important. And you still are trying to be better. Shouldn't we all follow your lead! Great post!

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  18. You have an amazing way of making me feel so much more relaxed with your mothering stories. Pretty soon things will get crazy with my girls starting school and more kids being added to the mix. It's entries like yours that help me learn that people just have crazy days. And it's ok to feel behind, and not awesome enough. Thank you for being a great mom and sharing with people those not-so-great days!

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