October 8, 2013

A Morning Story (or, A Study in Chaos)

Posted in Watermarks in Progress at 7:48 pm by Tamara

It’s probably/maybe not true, but I feel like the world judges my worth as a mother by my ability to get myself and the kids to places on time, with bonus points added or subtracted based on 1) whether or not the kids are semi-appropriately clothed and have eaten in the last 24 hours, 2) the flatness of my post-baby tummy and whether my outfit is relatively cute and spit-up free or not.  This morning’s attempt to get to Bible study on time began when I was woken up by a crying Baby Girl four hours earlier than I like to get up.  As I fed her and contemplated how this incorrectly timed feeding was going to affect our morning routine, Bear woke up wailing forlornly for Daddy, who was of course already at work.

After getting both of them settled again, I got myself ready (ignoring my lumpy tummy and forgetting to use concealer for the black holes under my eyes).  Then I peeled my also-not-a-morning-person son out of his bed like a limp jellyfish as he clung to his crib railing with his toes and cried “No, sleeeep!”  My thoughts exactly.  While Bear refused to eat his oatmeal, I went to get Baby Girl dressed, fed her again, and dealt with her diaper leak.  Then I returned to Bear to find he’d smeared his sticky oatmeal through his curls (a great hair treatment, I hear).  No time for a bath, so I kitchen-sink’ed him, changed his shirt, strapped a crying Baby Girl into her car seat, gathered the thank you notes and washed dishes (from meals friends brought us) that I oh-so-on-top-of-it had ready to return, and lugged everyone/everything down and up the million stairs of our apartment.

You can imagine my triumphant jubilation when both kids were strapped into the car ON TIME!  I would have done a touch-down dance in the parking lot, but that might have made us late, so I only exulted inwardly, “Take that, Insane Morning! I HAVE CONQUERED YOU, BECAUSE I AM SUPERMOM!”

So, perhaps you can imagine my inner howl of dismay when I was about to close the car door and Baby Girl suddenly gurgled, made a funny face, and projectile spit up aaaaaall over her cute outfit, car seat, and the universe in general.  Of course, in an effort to carry as little as possible as I continue recovering from the c-section, I only had the pared-down diaper bag with me, which did not include an outfit change or a spit up rag (what is this madness?), so my only choice was to go back inside.  And there, like a glorious firecracker bursts and evaporates into the darkness, went my so-hard-won “On Time.”  I stood there for a moment, swabbing vainly at cottage cheese spit up with the nice blanket and inwardly wailing like a betrayed hero in a low-budget melodrama “No, Morniiiiing!  You cannot have my ON TIIIIIIIIME!! ”  I seriously considered either bursting into tears or just not going to study, but instead extracted both kids from the car and, since a toddler’s rate of motion on steps is roughly equivalent to a snail that’s high on Ambien, carried them both back down and up the two million stairs, wondering the whole way if my incision was about to burst open and kill me on the spot.

Inside, I changed Baby Girl out of her cute outfit and into a conglomeration of non-matching pink articles, while Bear sat at my feet wailing “Hug a Mommy!  Hug a Mommmmeeee!” like his life was ending.  Since I was now dripping in sweat, I abandoned the cute layer of my outfit and pulled the cute hairstyle  that I had traded precious moments of sleep for into the token defeated-mom-ponytail.  I then mopped the spit up out of the carseat as best as I could, restrapped crying Baby Girl into it as Bear continued to wail at my side, and carried both crying kids back down and up the three million steps of our apartment.  On the way up to the car, I encountered our neighbor and her toddler.  She, of course, looked put together and adorable, her toddler was not crying, and based on the unhurried manner at which they were ascending the stairs, they were not late.  I stood for an excruciating moment to greet her as both my child-holding arms attempted to dislocate from their sockets (probably because they were ashamed to be seen with me in such a state), and then re-strapped both kids into the car, got into the driver’s seat, and sat there panting like an unprepared marathon runner in a triage tent.

We were late.

And, the moral of the story?  I do not have one.  But I admit it all seems a little hilarious now.  And I think I need some ice cream.  Major ice cream.



  1. Shannon Melyayev said,

    Sounds about right for motherhood! Don’t set your expectations too high for yourself and just try to enjoy the ride. We have all had moments just like yours, and you just need to sit back and laugh at yourself when it’s all over. :) I’ve decided that when we have kiddos in this stage, it’s perfectly acceptable to look like a walking circus! Love you friend.

  2. AJ said,

    I can assure you that every mom who ever had a toddler/baby combo has had this experience. In fact Monday looked a lot like this only add two grouchy older ones.
    You are a great mom! Also you are so funny. Please keep writing so we can all laugh at the end a rough day.

  3. Dad said,

    I’m pretty sure it was 4 million steps when you were moving in. :D

  4. Carissa said,

    Dear, dear Tamara,
    I just have to say – keep up the good work! I haven’t seen you in oh so long, but I am very confident that you are truly a wonderful mama, and (still) a wonderful, beautiful and encouraging woman of God – no matter how you wear your hair or what mismatched clothes your sweet baby is wearing. That said, I definitely think yours sounds like an ice cream worthy morning! Sounds like you’ll probably work it off on those stairs anyways ;)

  5. I agree with Carissa, I cannot imagine you looking not put together. You can make any pony tail, spit up clothes, crying kids look amazing!

    I have been there and have survived 3x, and so have many more moms. But you will make it through and you triumph, but there will be days that you cannot triumph. But one thing I do know is when the days you spill orange juice in the refrigerator, spill Clorox on your new favorite shirt, have 3 huge piles of clean clothes on your bed, the kids won’t nap, they will spill yogurt, oatmeal, milk all over the newly mopped floor. YOU WILL TRIUMPH, in the Lord and I have to continually lean on him for that. Do not get me wrong I have lost it and yelled and been the unkind, scary mommy, but I know that I am working progress and the great people teaching me are my kids.

    I love reading your blog, you are such a beautiful person!

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