Today was just another day. We ate breakfast. We did chores. We played with play-doh, stickers, and a giant triceratops. We read books, had a nap, went for a walk, ate dinner, and went to the park before bedtime. There were spills and bumps and tears and tantrums. It was pretty standard.
At times during these days I get bored with the monotony or frustrated with the behaviours and I wish I could just have a minute to myself to be away from it all. I put my head in my hands, rubbing my sleepless eyes, and groan at the floor with the hopes that, when I look up, the laundry will be folded and put away, the dishes will be washed, and the soggy, milky cereal will magically be back on the kitchen table with my spotless - Ha! - toddler eating happily while chattering at my itty-bitty playing cheerfully on my immaculate, non-cluttered-with-toys floor.
Alas, it was never meant to be.
On days like that, I pick myself up and patiently clean the floor - there is always something spilled on the floor. Every. Day. - before getting my littles out of the house so we - I - don’t have to look at all the chores that need to get done. We go out to a friend’s place, a park, or just a shopping center. Anywhere that doesn’t require chores to get done - bonus point for it being a place where you don’t have to clean up after the tornado of a mess your kids will inevitably make.
At these places there are others who will dote on your kids, entertaining them, distracting them, just generally making it so that you don’t have to do *extends arms imploringly* … anything. Except the genial nods and thank yous that are expected with the declarations of “Oh, isn’t she adorable!” and “What good little girls you have there.” Even if they were little hellians moments before, when they got the angry-mom-voice.
These interactions flow by as expected and you zone into public mommying or daddying mode until someone decides to give you the advice look. These people are not looking solely at your kids. They are not continuing their walking direction. These people have slowed, sometimes to a stop, and are looking predominantly at your tired, now awkwardly panicked but trying to be kind, eyes. Usually, but not always, it’s an older woman and she knows. You know she knows but you don’t know - or maybe you don’t realise - how much she knows, you know. She makes a longing remark, and might even touch your arm or hand, reminding you - not only that you’re still human and not just a parent-bot - that there are little miracles in every part of life if you take the time to look. She will smile that smile and walk away.
What just happened?
All of a sudden you can see how adorable your kids truly are and, yeah, they are pretty darned good aren’t they. I mean, they’re just little; they’re learning! Your responses to those passers-by become more sincere as you make your way back home.
I, personally, find myself listening more closely to what my toddler has to say, really chatting it up with her, after being reminded about how fleeting their youth really is. About Moana, her upcoming Moana themed birthday party, and how funny it was *cue exaggerated toddler laughter* when she threw her large triceratops toy over to the other family’s table at Tim Horton’s - Haha! Not. - It’s really wasn’t funny but I was better prepared, mentally and emotionally, to turn the experience into a learning opportunity instead of solely a disciplining one. We went home and did the chores together. We folded the mountain of laundry, washed the dishes, and turned each task into an adventure, learning and playing along the way.
Things got done on our own time. Messes were made, then cleaned up. Breaks were taken for baby lovin’ and general silliness. I took notice of the fun we were having in the moment and forgot that the floor hadn’t yet been swept and the toys weren’t all put away. It wasn't just another day anymore. We had a great rest of the day - week even!
Just that gentle, kind, loving reminder is all it took to turn the whole world upside down and change my point of view for a good long while. Sometimes I need to remind myself to take a step back and look at the big picture because it is so easy to get swept away in the day to day but it is so important to do so! I know we are told these things many times as parents but it’s true every time the advice is given and I have found that the reminders are needed even with how often they are received.
Soak it in while you can.
They grow up too fast.
Time is fleeting.
You’ll miss this when it’s gone.
It’s the little things that count.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
If you can think of anymore everyday sayings and reminders that we take for granted despite their priceless significance, please add them to the comments - Someone might just need to hear it today.
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