Glitter or Grace?
When the very person you want to fail sends you a life raft, it’s called grace.
“I’d be damned if my husband was going to get away with freaking out over glitter without me showing him just how far I’d come in this mothering journey.”
I know you’ve done it, just like me. You have secretly wanted your husband to fail at taking care of the kids so he could exalt you as the Mom SuperHero that we all know you are.
How did that turn out? And why do we do this? I have some thoughts, but here’s how it turned out for me.
Glitter. It’s the one thing sure to send Kyle on an OCD cleaning rampage/panic attack. It’s sort of funny watching him pick up item after item sprinkled with obnoxious sparkle dust.
“IT’S EVERYWHERE! NEVER AGAIN! AND WHAT IS THIS HARPER?” He is yelling and I’m laughing inside my head. It’s on the floor, chairs and on the bottom of our feet from whatever craft included more glitter than glue.
Watching someone who is so in control lose it is funny to a girl like me who feels like she never has it together. But it’s also funny to see someone else do your job and suck at it, am I right? You can go ahead and picture me smug, on a bar stool watching the whole scene with imaginary popcorn like this is the best movie I have ever seen. Because when you have three children and your husband is losing it over glitter, it is. But isn’t it ironic when the story doesn’t include glitter, but sand that I somehow become the parent, that’s losing it and my husband isn’t smugly sitting in a chair watching the whole thing with a beer in his hand. It’s much better.
Two words: Sand Art. Have you guys tried it? We didn’t hot glue the containers shut which prompted both the girls to dump out the brightly colored granules of glee just to pour it all back in which is more like threading a garden hose through the eye of a needle while it’s turned on. You get it now. Sand. Everywhere.
It’s Friday morning, not even 8 o’clock and I’m the one having a panic attack. The smooth hardwood feels like a beach boardwalk. I keep wiping my feet on the rug at the kitchen sink, calmly at first. I have made about 5 trips to wipe them as I’m pouring coffee, cleaning spit up, making my second batch of waffles after burning the first. See, in the midst of regular kid-chaos, I don’t even notice I have made my 10th trip to the kitchen sink rug, my unintentional safe space, in this moment when I also realize I’m not half way through my first cup of joe yet. Need. More. Coffee.
Hudson is so happy because she loves making a mess.
“This Is an experiment. And it’s working Mama!” I suddenly feel like a white rat in a lab. The hypothesis is that I will internally combust in t-minus 3 seconds.
Hayden is on my hip along with a nice splatter of spit-up trickling down my shirt.
“IT’S EVERYWHERE! NEVER AGAIN!” I’m yelling while walking the stretch back to where I can wipe my bare feet, again, when I notice I left my coffee cup on the other end of the counter. I sigh loudly as I walk back across the beginning of what could become a new desert. Both girls are playing in their sand mixture in two different kitchen locations. I feel suffocated. Hypothesis correct: combustion is now imminent.
Kyle has now emerged from his hot shower with a towel on his waist. He must have heard me. He doesn’t complain. He doesn’t really say much at all. He just starts helping. Which makes it worse, because he should be laughing at me. He should sit down and watch the comedy unfold. See, the girls and I always gang up on Kyle. They’re at the ages where Mommy is still amazing and boys, like their daddy, stink. Hayden, being a boy, is a non issue because he is chubby and smiley and we think he is cute until he poops. But Kyle? Oh no sir. He is on the outside looking in quite often and I enjoy it. Now, before you go off thinking I’m horrible, you have to understand the family dynamic if you don’t already. My husband is Mr. Right. And I’m not talking about my knight in shining armor Mr. Right. He is always right and life is just easier that way, even when he is wrong, which of course, is never. Now you can see why I laugh when he is fussing and panicky over something as small and harmless as glitter.
He did the thing I didn’t expect him to do. He never laughed at me. Not once. He even empathized: “I get it!” as he started pulling the broom, vacuum and mop out to clean.
Stunned, I sat down in one of the kids chairs. It was like I was in the ocean, or in my case, a desert, and he tossed me a life raft with those words. I clung to them because suddenly I didn’t feel crazy. And suddenly … suddenly I feel horrible at the same time! I’m a Godly enough girl to know why. Grace.
Doing fun things with the kids is part of my “job” as a Mom, right? “Fun things” usually come with a side of glitter, sand, glue or spilled juice boxes all over the floor. Accepting a mess, accepting the chaos in the beautiful moments of craziness has been something I have personally overcome. It took years for me to get there and at that moment, a fleshy, ugly part of me showed. I’d be damned if my husband was going to get away with freaking out over glitter without me showing him just how far I’d come in this mothering journey. Glitter was nothing compared to what we Moms do on a daily basis. I was like a big bully ready to show him how to eat his lunch properly. Sigh. I still have a lot to learn uncovering my own Mom-Dentity™, but what I can tell you, is that it involves letting go of what I think I need to be good at, letting go of how I think my job should be handled, and letting go of who does it best. It also comes with letting go of how far along I think someone else should be on their own identity journey.
At the end of our lives, I don’t think we get a golden ticket or a crown the says #1Mom. It’s not a competition. But, what it is is a sanctification process for our betterment. If we can learn to take these moments full of glitter and sand and replace them with acceptance, Mom-cceptance, we’d be doing a whole lot better than trying to fill the shoes of some proverbial Mom we have made up in our head that competes with her husband over who handles chaos better.
Who cares? I didn’t win an award that day for handling glitter better than Kyle. And he didn’t win an award for helping me clean up the desert storm in our kitchen. What I realized, which amounts to much more than an award, is that we’re on the same team and who does it best, or showing the other person just how much we Moms have to handle is not the right attitude to embrace the hard stuff. I must remember that embracing the hard stuff is where Mom-Dentity™ is found.
Who’s with me?
Also, have you checked out the Podcast with my Preacher? That’s not what it’s called but it should be. We are still talking about Paul and how he had a knack for looking toward heaven while he was in the worst situations of his life. Here are the ways you can access: