Thursday, February 22, 2007

Diapering Disaster

Last night, through the night, I got wet. My infant son was sleeping beside me so that I could more easily attend his needs; like Dr. Bill Sears, we have a "family" bed. It usually saves me trouble and allows me to get back to sleep quickly after 4 am feedings. Usually. Last night, I got wet. This morning, I had to change my pajamas, my pillowcases, and my sheets, because the reason I got wet was a leaky diaper.

I'm a mom. I've been changing diapers for 12 years, and with six kids, that's a lot of diapers. My oldest daughter, who has been around for most of those diaper changes, is a huge help at home. She can fix a simple meal if I need her to. She can run to the corner grocery or pick up mail. She can even watch her siblings for short periods, freeing me up to work on things she can't do. My oldest daughter has even changed her fair share of diapers over the years.

Last night, though, my oldest daughter was no diapering expert. She put the diaper on wrong! Somehow, she didn't get the diaper on straight or something, because the diaper stayed dry and everything around it got wet! You may be wondering why I didn't realize earlier in the night that I had a problem. Actually, I wonder that myself! When I finally discovered that the diaper was leaking, it was an "ah ha" moment. Unfortunately, that moment didn't come until my brain actually had the capacity to have such a realization and by then, the night was over and it was too late.

It could be worse; much worse. I could live some place without disposable diapers. I could lives somewhere without diapers. I could live some where without washing machines. So, in the grand scheme of things, if my oldest daughter isn't a diaper genie, I can live with it. What I can't live with is a world without children, even if it means my son soaks me instead of his diaper. There are much worse disasters.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Mommy: Its who I am.

I love being a mom; I really do. It has defined my life for the last 12 years, and will continue to do so to one degree or another for the rest of my days. Now, certain aspects of motherhood don't rate as highly on my list as others. Diaper duty is not a favorite. Cleaning up after children who have been sick with the flu definitely is not an activity I'd volunteer for outside of motherhood. Even the challenges associated with dressing and doing hair for five daughters is less than desirable in my mind. But, none of these challenges can outweigh the blessings and joy my children bring.

Recently I saw a mom who had two young children with her at the grocery store. The little girl, probably two, was cranky and fussing. When I commented to the mom that her little girl must by tired, trying to commiserate because I know what it is like to shop with a tired two year old, the poor woman was not encouraged. Her level of frustration and displeasure was so obvious it made my heart heavy. Parenting is never easy, but it doesn't have to be miserable! Children are a blessing from the Lord! Even challenging children (and I have a few) are blessings and bring joy!

Sometimes it can be difficult to see the joy. I've had days when Calgon couldn't take me far enough away! More than once I've wanted to hand in my resignation to anyone who would take it (no one would), feeling completley inadequate for the task of raising my children. Motherhood is not convenient. It requires giving more of myself than I knew I had to give, and it certainly doesn't work on my time schedule. But joy in motherhood abounds, if we just look.

I found joy recently in a hug from my three year old. As she wrapped her arms around me and put sticky fingers on my clean shirt she said, "Mommy, I love you sooo much." So the shirt had to go in the laundry. I have to do laundry anyway. I also found joy after a rare nap. While my husband and I were sleeping, our two oldest daughters were busy not sleeping. Instead, they set up a table in the Family Room (where we host large dinner parties - just push the couches out of the way), with places for two, and lit candles to eat by. It was wonderful. Now, dinner was not gourmet. It only consisted of one course, and it was a pretty simple course. But, my two oldest daughters worked together to give my husband and me a date. How much more precious can you get?! Focusing on the efforts to bless us, and not on the mess left behind in the kitchen or the candle wax on my linen table cloth made it possible to treasure the gift from our daughters.

Never having planned to have children, I know God laughs every day as He watches me function (barely) as the mother of six. Still, He has instilled in my heart a passion for being a mom that I never imagined I could have. I LOVE being a mom. I LOVE having children. I even love what is required to have six children, though laundry will never be a favorite activity. If only more moms understood how precious their children are, and how quickly they will be gone; even toddlers who are hungry, tired and cranky.