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The Real Mom Blog

A real family, doing real things, making real goof-ups, and making real efforts. And sometimes having fun and sometimes not!

“Can These be Returned?”

There are three of them.  They are not terribly old models considering the average life of the products.  They don’t currently show any wear and tear, but they may if they stay in my house much longer.  When I ordered them, the product description was something like, “Slugs and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails”, and “Sugar and spice and everything nice”.  The products I received, however, appear to be flawed.  In this moment I’d describe them a little more like “demons and monsters and scorpion tails” and “garlic powder and vinegar and everything saucy”, actually.

Or maybe delinquents?

Hooligans?

Menaces?

Or maybe just children, but that is for a less tired and stressed mother to claim.  A mother who isn’t cleaning Used Pull-up off the wall.

Do you have a clear picture of what a used pull-up is like?  Allow me to describe it for you.  It is soggy.  And stale.  Dark yellow-brown.  Putrid.  Squishy.  Not folded neatly  into contained packages like used diapers can be, but left open and exposed to air and touch.

Do you have a clear picture of what an exploded used pull-up looks like?  Like the way it would look if those “children”, for instance, had gotten into a used pull-up fight right before school that had ended with one exploding on the wall? I hope for your sakes that you don’t.  It is all of the above description, except also everywhere.  Stuck in fractured juicy fibers all over the walls.  The floor.  The bed.  The pillows your “child” [who probably deserves it] plans to sleep on that night.  The mirror, which when wiped, streaks pee like the guts of a fleet of squashed bugs on the windshield as you try to get the pertinacious little pieces off.  Let’s revisit the floor.  It’s wet.  Not drenched, or even moist really.  Just wet in tiny little gushy sprinkles that burst in a cool, smelly sensation under your feet as you step on them.  Your misfortune if the natural color of your carpet is very similar to the natural color of a used pull-up.

The mess is overwhelming.  It can’t be left for now and dealt with later, no.  The last thing you want is for the minuscule pieces to harden and become permanent texture to the wall.  The smell is foul.  Rancid.  Old pee is a really terrible smell.  Old pee on the pillows?  In the carpet?  Smeared across your reflection in the mirror?  Anyone’s nightmare.  The kids can do some of the clean-up, but do you know how great a 4 year old is at finding exploded shreds of pull-up?  I’d give her a score of 50%, which is most definitely a failing grade.  The 6 and 8 year olds can use a vacuum, they can use a rag.  They get a 70%, but when a stale soggy peed-in pull-up is smashed all over the wall and the closet mirror and all over the things in the closet, 70% doesn’t cut it either.  (And let’s not think for a moment that these percentages came from work done willingly and pleasantly).

So it’s nose [pinched closed] to the grindstone then for you, since they’re long gone.  And bit by bit the room is cleaned, one smear of stale sticky urine encased in Fluff and Super Absorbent Polymer at a time.

I’ll spare you the pictures.  You’re welcome.

The Truth Revisited

I wrote “The Truth” on my old blog, the one I started as a barely-married person and wrote on until my children leached out all my creative thoughts until all that was left was sappy mommy stuff and pictures of babies and toddlers that no one finds entertaining except sometimes the offending blog-poster.  That post was a turning point in my parenting, I was sure.  And then it became my last post ever (with the exception of a “Christmas Card” post for the sake of honestly representing my old blog space). As it turns out it wasn’t actually a turning point in my parenting and instead of admitting that to my small public I just got pregnant and had another kid and made my brain even mushier and the parenting struggles exponentially harder.  To be fair, I was sufficiently warned about what a third kid does to a family, but 3 kids 4 and under, well, just look at the emoji options on your phone and apply every single one of them to every single day multiplied by every single child in your household and go ahead and divide the happy ones in half for yourself and multiply the angry ones by at least as many kids as you have and there you have it!

My youngest is 3 now.  As of yesterday my two boys, now 7 and 5, are both in school for at least 12 hours a week.  Today I became officially free from the temporary ideals of homeschool and their less than ideal Vellinga-style application.  It was bittersweet, because despite all the pains and troubles and complications and emojis, I love my kids and love spending time with them (I know!  I even surprised myself with that one!).

And you know what?  I felt a little bit of my old self come back with that freedom.  I still don’t all the way know what I like to do for fun, or feel like going out even when I have the opportunity to because it takes so much energy to have fun when you’ve spent all day sweeping crumbs and wiping pee off the toilet lids and breaking up kid arguments over every dumb thing in the world.  But hey, to feel like writing again, to feel thoughts in my brain?  It’s a start.

So the truth of this moment is that while I am a little sad over our ‘failed’ attempt at homeschool (which I will probably relabel once I feel like processing all my thoughts and feelings on it), for now I will sit in my quiet, sunny, and now empty school room and celebrate making a space for myself.  And celebrate what real parenting means to me, one booger wiped on the table, one potty accident on the carpet, one tackle-hug, one Pokemon episode, one peanut butter sandwich, one carpool ride, one bedtime story, one scary dream snuggle, and one choice at a time.

The Truth

The truth is, a lot of times I have trouble having fun with my kids.
Instead of seeing this:
I see this:
And instead of seeing this:
I see this:
I spend all my energy dwelling on the parts of motherhood and housekeeping that are so difficult and unfulfilling for me and I miss out on the parts of it that are rewarding.
I need help remembering that mess almost always means fun.
And tantrums need hugs and understanding, not threats and ignoring.
And tears need snuggles and songs, not “I told you so’s” and “Well you shouldn’t have’s”.
And calls for “Mommy!” deserve a smile and eye contact, not a passing, “In a minute” or “Hold on” or “Don’t nag me”
So I am giving this blog a higher purpose, and a personal one.  I want to use it as a way to help me find the fun in my life.  I want to use it as a way to kick ‘Momscar the Grouch’ to the curb and start celebrating the little parts of my growing children that make being a mom the best job in the world.
I want my children to grow up knowing they were loved with a whole heart and open arms, that they are important enough to get undivided attention when it is needed and wanted, and that they are special and wonderful and unique and celebrated because they get attention for the good that they do rather than the bad.
So here’s to life.  The happy side of it!

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