Twenty-two years ago, my kids and I had a bad Mumday. We moms have those—days when we fail, days that we just wouldn’t want to repeat.
It was May, and there was a lot of laundry to get done. With the kids' spilling their giggles around the kitchen and happily tearing a Sears catalog into tiny bits on the tile, rather than disrupt them, I ran down to the basement laundry room to quickly get much needed work done.
I guess I wasn’t as “quickly” as I thought.
It was so quiet as I walked up the stairs. You know. That Silence. I rushed into the kitchen, barging into their exciting play.
The kitchen was coated in mud. And my kids, their smiles gleaming up at me through faces coated in mud. And the walls, and the window, and everything in SIGHT. Charlie was missing, but his little muddy foot prints pitter-patted across the kitchen floor and disappeared down the hallway.
The Four must have jumped to it the second I left the floor, abandoning their charade of making confetti of the Sears and Roebuck’s. Almost ready for replanting outside, all my spring seedlings and begonia bulbs were growing in pots and pots and more pots of dirt (read “mud,” as I’d just watered them earlier) facing the sun through the patio door glass on shelves that I thought (mistakenly) were sealed off from little fingers with cardboard on the back sides. I ruined everything by being grumpy and making tiny happy people transform into scared traumatized outcasts. I failed to realize how they had been very industrious and created an entire play room of the most cherished medium for toddlers: mud. Not only did I miss seeing their creativity, but I focused on myself. It became all about me. MY lost seedlings, MY ruined begonias, MY kitchen walls with handprints all over them, me, me, ME. Then I realized that Spencer might have been chewing on the begonia bulbs, so I had to wade through the mess to call poison control (I still hadn’t found Charlie yet). Fortunately, they didn’t think I needed to come have his stomach pumped.
Where to start with a mess like that! The black sticky mud on the floor seemed to be the first thing, so I could at least start walking around without spreading it worse. I scooped up what I could, chucking it back into the empty flower pots, all the while making clear to all the young ears what I thought of their activities. Charlie came back in about then. The trepidation on his little face! He could sense that Mom wasn’t very happy. Poor Spencer just sat on the floor and cried. I was a monster. I cleaned my hands enough to grab my camera, because I just had to have evidence to show my husband when he got home in a few hours. But I didn’t comfort the poor darlings. Wicked. One of those Worse-Mom-of-the-Year-Award days. They had just been utilizing their serendipitous discovery anyway. But I couldn't see it.
Once I was able to walk across the floor, I had to do something with the kids who kept spreading the dirt as they ran around while I tried to clean. I filled up the kitchen sink—it had a disposal so the clots of dirt going down the drain would not be such a problem—and I stripped down the first kid I could catch, Spencer, and stuck him in the water. Wash, rinse, repeat. Scrub. Harder. Get that sticky, stubborn mud off. Wash, rinse, repeat. More mud caked on than would come off in one cycle. NOT one of those fun bath times. Once washed, I put him in a new diaper, new jammies, and stuck him in a crib with the sides locked high.
When I finally got all four bathed and dressed, and locked together in the crib, I started back on the kitchen. Once I finished getting the floor clean, I had to start on the walls. I was in the middle of that, wondering why Jason wasn’t home from work yet when the phone rang. He was running late. Bad, bad day to be running late. Bad. I made that a little bit clear. Okay, so a lot clear. He said he’d do what he could. And bring home pizza. I think he was probably afraid to come home.
Once the kitchen was finally clean—about four hours later—and four very sad, neglected children were crying to please be let out of the crib and given something to eat, Jason got home and Domino’s came to our rescue. It was an awful day. And poor little Spencer’s face says it all. What at first looked like so much fun turned out to be a huge error in judgment. But really, the error in judgment was probably more on my part. It was one of our hardest days, but man I wish I could do it again. I would love a chance to do it a LOT differently!
“The envelop please—and the Worse Mommy Ever goes to….” Sigh.
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