I’m about to reveal the #1, hardest thing about being the mom to a big brood of small people. Wait for it…here it comes…the #1 HARDEST part about my “job” is GETTING READY!!!
Yep, that’s it. Getting ready for what, you ask? ANYTHING. Getting ready to leave, getting ready for Christmas, getting ready to go on vacation (or a day trip, even), getting ready for a new baby, and just plain ol’ getting ready. Don’t even get me started on getting ready for birthday parties. There are so many people to coordinate, and no matter what you do ahead of time, you can never be ready enough. You see, ten people generate a lot of stuff just for every day living. And ten sets of hands (okay, really just nine, since Isaac can’t use his very well yet) move things to many different places, unless you have it under lock and key. But if you have it under lock and key, then no one can access it but you (like the toilet lid locks we just installed to keep Thomas from playing in the potty water, which the “I barely make it to the toilet” preschoolers can’t operate-and toothbrushes, which you want in reach so they will use them, but not have in reach so they can scrub their feet with them). Which means you get to be the person to do everything for everyone. All. The. Time. But I digress…
The problem is that the stuff you need is the stuff you use every day, and if you are using it, you can’t pack it, unless of course you have extras of everything. We live in a pretty big house, and even though there may be room for doubles of everything, it creates so much clutter. And did I mention that it might get moved? For no reason, too. Nothing is ever where it belongs, and I’ve containerized it, labeled it, and done everything short of locking it down! It’s an inevitable fate in this house, in our vans, and in any other space we inhabit. If I had a bag packed with baby stuff at the back door for the big day, it would get moved or buried. If I pack my favorite book, what am I going to read when I have down time? (I know, that doesn’t ever really happen, but I make time for it. I’ll go crazy if i don’t.) I wanted to be ready for the baby’s arrival, making it easier for anyone who came in to help with the kids. So I went to BJ’s and stocked up on food and snacks, but they all got eaten between that trip and the big day.
The other part of this problem is that I am an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of girl. I have to see things, but if they are out where I can see them, they are bound to get moved. And most of the time, it is Adam that moves them, saying “I was putting it up so the kids wouldn’t move it/lose it/break it.” Now, don’t take this as complaining. It’s more of an annoyance than anything. It isn’t a deal breaker to me, obviously, because we keep having more kids. However, this is one of the reasons I feel a need for some space, at least. I feel like I can’t get in front of, keep up, or even catch up with the daily tasks like these. And it’s backing up. You should see the clothes in my basement. The school resources. The craft supplies. The outside chores. The dust bunnies, which I could care less about if Coleman weren’t highly allergic to dust mites. Add into those mundane, not-so-important things that aren’t urgent but still need to be attended to, the important things like shaping your child’s character and faith walk, being the wife that your husband deserves, and other relationships that God places into your life. Some days feel hopeless.
However, I have learned that if I devote all my time and energy to getting ready, allowing the stress of it all to blind me to the event that is happening right now, I’m missing it. It’s like that quote that says “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things (Robert Brault)”. I don’t want to miss the right now. The moment where I catch Thomas putting his Matchbox car in the swing next to Isaac. The one where Coleman wants to cheer on Andrew and Joseph in the swimming pool. The sweet talks the girls have with their daddy. The ambitious plans of a creative girl who wants to start her own clothing line for girls who want to be stylish and modest. The giggles between two sisters who share their age for two weeks out of the year. And one of my favorites, the one where I catch him looking at me the way he did in the band room almost 20 years ago. So I try not to focus too much on the getting ready and just embrace the “let’s go.”