Want to know what my hell looks like when it all breaks loose?
Picture this. It's 4:47 in the late afternoon, and I'm trying to get dinner going. Bella, like every day after school, is spinning around all revved up like she's just downed a Mountain Dew Big Gulp. She's literally running around the house, talking nonstop to herself, occasionally looking up to me to ask a question, which for the life of me I can't quite understand because DAMMIT CHILD I DO NOT SPEAK AUCTIONEER!
From another room Mia is moaning. And grunting. And then the grunt turns into a sort of whine-yelp. She begins flaling her body on any surface that will hold her up. And proceeds to bitch out loud about the fact that her "glass slippers" are not making the right noise when she walks.
No shit Mia. They're rain boots.
But I can't say that. Oh no. I have to play her little game, it's like an unwritten rule of motherhood--agree, agree, support their creativity, agree. And so I suggest an alternative pair of glass slippers, such as the light-up Sketchers over there, the ones that I just tripped on because Bella kicked them off mid-spin.
I'm sweet right? Almost helpful even. Well, based on her response it was the most ridiculous idea ever because Princess Olivia "does not and would never wear shoes that light up." And then Bella hears that I have offered her shoes to Mia and so of course she non-chalantly spins right back to her spot and swoops up the shoes so that Mia has no chance to even consider them. Mia loses it.
And then Chance starts banging his head on the floor.
I peel him up and notice he's smiling and it occurs to me that his head banging may just be an elaborate plot to get picked up. Genius, that one. So I hold him for a moment. But only a moment because the timer has gone off on the oven. So I put Chance down, ignoring the wailing that begins. I take out the hot food, step over the depressed princess and toss it on the counter.
Then my dog starts to whine. And then another whine. And then a bark. And then a look that says,
I'll piss on the princess if you don't take me out. So I do.
When I come back into the house, every child is losing their mind. I desperately look around and all I see are hungry and tired and crying little people everywhere. Its enough to make me want to hop in my car and just drive.
But instead, I throw my arms up in surrender mode and go straight to the family room and lay on the floor.
Just lay on the floor.
Because I know that this simple act changes everything. It's my parental trump card. It's my ancient chinese secret. My check-mate move.
I lay on the floor face down and after 5 seconds pass, the crying stops. Which is followed by 3 seconds of silence as they ponder how strange it is to see their mom on the floor. Free range? Free range!
I hear the giggles and the sound of feet scampering. And before I know it I've got 3 kids jumping and crawling all over me.
Rolling around. Tumbling over each other. Laughing.
Every time I do the lay-on-the-floor-trick I'm reminded of how much I enjoy these few minutes of happiness among our chaotic daily routine.
Pure and simple, mother and child.
I spend most days towering over them, telling them what they can and can't do. Being the enforcer or the referee. But coming down to their level? I don't do it enough. And I should because it's a game changer. Heck, this isn't just about coming down to their level, it's about getting below it, changing your viewpoint. See I want my kids to know that they can lean on me, literally and figuratively. I want them to be so comfortable with me that we can all laugh at mommy's accidental undie grundie. True story.
Sometimes we parents get caught up and forget some of the most simple of acts.
So I challege you, take 5 minutes today to stop, drop and roll. Feel the innocence and the excitement. Ignore the occasional knee jab to the eye and enjoy your kids.
And then proceed to reheat the dinner that got cold.