Toddler tired midday meltdown ensued. At the same time newborn diaper blow out covered my shirt, her entire body, and the rocking chair. The rocking chair that I needed to coax Audrey to sleep in—immediately. Well, that is if any of us were going to make it through the next five minutes.
I decided to let my toddler lay squalling on the floor, hoping the lying down would put her to sleep. Not likely considering the ear-piercing volume of her afternoon fit. But I left her and rushed Annie to the changing table. I stormed through five wipes and two diapers and had her clean faster than a raceway pit stop.
My mind raced to how I could entertain her to tend to my still awake, still crying 2-year-old. I set the baby in her crib beneath twirling bright pinks, oranges, and blues and clicked the Mozart switch. Maybe soft, calming music could drown out the next door tantrum. I prayed, “God, please just five minutes.” And ran to pick up the tired screamer.
Three sips of milk and four rocks later, Audrey stopped short in her humming along of “Jesus Loves Me.” Just as I laid her gently in her big girl bed, I heard the baby start to fuss. I did it! I thought. I whispered a secret victory cheer in my head, applauding myself that I got Audrey to sleep in time to tend to Annie’s next needs.
I bounced baby to the kitchen with me and texted my husband, “I should be somebody’s hero.” Doesn’t it feel that way sometimes? A seemingly short, half-an-hour motherly challenge requires such patience, such strategy, such precision that it seems we could surely earn a medal of honor. Or at least a quiet coffee break.
And our days are made up of hundreds of those equally short, yet equally exhausting motherly challenges. I’ve found the way to press on through the tired seconds is to enjoy each one by realizing the sacredness that lies within it.
On a recent road trip to admit our 3-month-old Annie for her second open heart surgery, we stopped at consecutive I-40 rest stops: the first for spit up fountain flood, the next for poop explosion (maybe it’s time for the next size diaper with the frequency of these), and the last for mixing up more formula without spraying it all over the backseat. Even in the frustration and “inconvenience” of these moments, I begged God for the continued privilege of rest stop sink laundering and roadside bottle mixing because it meant my baby girl would be healthy and heading home with us soon.
So in the days of motherhood frenzy, I try to remember how much I’d really hate a silent afternoon of no rocking. I’d be bored without Barbies to dress. Our driveway would be plain neatly swept instead of decorated in family chalk art. And I’ve even grown to like the familiar stench of lingering diapers, because it means there are bottoms to wipe, faces to clean, and littles to love.
Thank you, Jesus, for this gift of motherhood.