the Lord helps those that help themselves

Just kidding. You did know that’s not actually in the Bible, right? Technically, we’re supposed to bear one another’s burdens.

But the plight of today’s young mamma with lots of littles is typically, HELP AIN’T COMIN’.

It can make you bitter. You tell yourself that no one cares that you are sitting in a filthy house with a screaming baby who won’t let you put her  down and you haven’t had breakfast and it’s 2 pm, your depressed, and all you really want is thirty minutes to put the laundry away and think just one single thought. And sometimes we get down right jealous of those that have time to piddle. What’s it like to be able to have a whole day of not being sure what you’re going to do take a shower in peace, brush your hair everyday, actually sleep all night, lay down when you’re feeling sick, or go to the bathroom alone, just once? We put on our big girl panties, realizing that this is a thankless job for any mom, regardless of how many children she has. We also realize that there are a multitude of reasons why most people don’t want to have a gaggle of small children all at one time, and we live out those realities day by day, moment by moment…times twenty.

And yes, we know that everyone is busy. But the deal is, you can’t turn your kids off. You can’t call in sick, you get no vacation time, and you can’t renege (is that the correct word?) on your commitment once you find that you’re overwhelmed. So, it’s a different kind of busy. A busy that others might think they understand because they kept their brother’s dogs for a weekend or whatever. But the truth is, you have no idea, unless you have experienced it day in and day out.

It’s exhausting, discouraging, deflating, and down right hard.

And that’s just the way it is. I use to think that if I could just {{insert helpful advice here, such as- put dinner in the crock pot in the morning, hire a helper, organize my chores, etc}} then my act would be together and things would be smooth sailing.

But the truth is, this act ain’t gettin’ together. And now that I’ve accepted that I’m so much more free!

I long ago accepted that the floors were not ever going to stay clean, the laundry was never going to get caught up on (not to mention that I can’t wash my linens on Wednesdays and my lights on Mondays and my darks on Saturdays…yes, this is what I did before kids), but accepting that it was daggum’ hard was something I didn’t want to do.

Like everyone else, I’m always trying to find an easier life.

So, maybe it isn’t in the Bible, but I’ve been helping myself, ya’ll.

I helped myself to an hour and a half in the tub the other day.

With a mud mask.

the photo that accompanied this declaration is sadly lost in the internet somewhere. 

And I watched an entire movie on my lap top while soaking.

This was monumental.

So, here’s my tutorial on How to take a really long bath with lotsa kids. (With numbered bullet points.)

  1. Put your littles ones to bed, making sure their tummies are full and the room temperature is comfortable. (I’m usually only guaranteed about an hour of this bliss, more on that below.)
  2. Settle your biggies with something captivating. This may mean their own full length movie to watch. I captured my moment while my girls were playing with their stuffed animals, dressing them up as princesses and stuff and with access to the kid account on the computer. (Clarify beforehand who is to go first.)
  3. Start your bath water right away, while assembling the following: a bag of yummy something (I did iced animal crackers), bananas, a book to read or a movie to watch, a large glass of water, mud mask, and your favorite bath salts or bath bombs.
  4. Explain to your biggies that you are going to take a bath and they are not to disturb you unless someone is hurt. Tell them not to answer the phone or the door. Cover all your bases. Tell them what they are going to do and give an example of a good reason to interrupt you. (Example: The house is on fire.) Give them plenty of examples of reason NOT to interrupt you (Examples: the computer won’t work, the movie skips, the baby is crying, etc.)
  5. Get in the tub and start your movie. Enjoy it thoroughly. Try not to think about the laundry, the dishes, or worry about the baby waking up early. Turn on the fan in the bathroom so you can’t hear anything. Don’t worry, if you’ve trained your biggies well enough, they will come tell you the important stuff.
  6. However well trained they are, after an hour or so one of them is going to come in. Take this time to inquire whether the baby is awake. She’s not? You’re doing great! Give your biggie the bag of iced animal crackers. Tell her to share them with everyone that is awake and to turn a movie on/get out a game, etc. You probably will have to explain the mask on your face, but you will not hear from her again.
  7. When/If your biggest little comes in to tell you that the baby is awake, send him/her off with the bananas to feed the baby all she wants and instruct him to stay with her until you get in there. (Miraculously, my littles slept the entire hour and a half this day!!) Evie sleeps in a play pen that she most certainly cannot get out of, and she enjoys when an older sibling climbs in with some toys…or bananas. Whatever your family’s set up is, premeditate a plan to make it work so that baby is safe and happy.
  8. Finish your movie and be refreshed.

The point is, stop expecting that at some point everything is going to be okay, or pouting that if someone would just come lend a helping hand you could get what you need to get done, or being angry that you haven’t had a full night’s sleep in seven years or whatever.

It’s not going to get done. We still have to try and do our best, but it’s just not all going to get done. Having a well organized cozy life is not our season.Our season right now is hard, with little breaks or relief, and very little sleep. But there is a huge huge pay off coming… and we can help ourselves to some breaks every now and then. 

And most importantly, Mammas. Don’t give up. You gotta fight for your right to party.