That’s What “They” Say

As a mother of still-fairly-young kids (though, can we mourn my youth for another moment here? I’m not really a young mom anymore), I still hear this a lot from well-meaning strangers, and I’m sure you do, too, if you’re a mom. In books. From strangers in the checkout at Hobby Lobby. From the lovely older lady at church.

“Don’t worry about cleaning your house; you can do that later. Just enjoy those kids while they’re home with you!”

And I get it. I understand that time is fleeting; I’m as aware as I can be about living in the moment and not taking the boys for granted. Losing my mom at a fairly young age (she was only 54, which seems younger and younger to me all the time) has etched that more permanently in my mind and on my heart than those who haven’t experienced a significant loss, I think.


I cannot just let the pee continue to accumulate on any surface in close, or, frankly, not-so-close, range of the toilet. I cannot allow toothpaste to crust into permanent sculptures in the sink. The floor cannot get to the point that walking on it is hazardous and crunchy. And I cannot just wait until they’re all in bed to do all of the hard work, because 1) I’m tired and 2) I’m trying to manage a small business and 3) I don’t want these kids growing up believing that some magical fairy comes at night and cleans up their/our messes. And they need to be a part of the cleanup, too.

for instance: i'm not touching this. the boys have been making books all weekend, using about a jillion pieces of paper, and they're taking care of this today on their own.

All that said, there are days when I DO wish I was still parenting these tiny people. Not because I’m one of those people who’s all like, “oh, honey, you’ve got it so good right now” as she sees a freshly-minted mom at the store. I remember that body-aching tired feeling, the feeling that you just might be raising wild banshees (just two small examples, those links), the feeling of losing a bit of who you are (or who you thought you were) in the midst of all the pee, poop, drool and snot. {Good news for those of you deep in the baby trenches: you’re going to come out of this period of your life with a much stronger sense of identity and confidence. You can do this!}

Every once in a while, though, I think I’d trade the hard conversations and the shaping-of-the-heart issues for a sleepless night or three. To protect the privacy of my boys, I’m not going into it here, but just know that I’m beating my head against the wall, trying to figure out how to drive home a point that should have been gotten long ago by one of my children. It’s making me nuts.

Hang in there, mamas (and dads, too!). You’re doing hard work, no matter what stage of the game you’re in.

9 responses to “That’s What “They” Say

  1. Great Post Nicole!!!!

  2. Amen, Nicole. Thank you for saying it.

  3. Love to see that even “SuperMOM” has difficult days. (It encourages me 🙂 I also agree on the cleaning. While my house is far from clean, I can’t stand the clutter and feel that it’s her job to pick it up. Saying that, I cursed myself for not throwing the bath rug in the dryer last night and having wet socks this morning because of it. (Or maybe I should just control the imaginative role playing going on in the tub……..NEVER!) In 10yrs I’ll want those wet sock moments back.

  4. Well said, all of it. Every single age has its good, great, bad, & horrible; and when parents w/ kids who are older than yours try to tell/warn you that the issues get harder, it doesn’t help. You can’t relate, and it doesn’t make what you’re going through any easier! I’ll pray for you about your current “beating head against the wall” issue!

  5. Love it! Our kitchen table is more often than not the book making/painting/cutting/painting/play doh/coloring/building/etc. center for the kids. Most weeks we try to clean it up to have dinner together, but this week it’s going as is…a crazy mess. We’ll get to it sometime this week. This is why the kids are getting a table of their own for Christmas! Loved the post!

  6. timely post. as someone who is obsessed (this word might even be an understatement) with having a clean house i struggle with letting some go to spend more time with adali. the good part is, she sees how i like to keep the house and is mindful about cleaning up her messes (most of the time). and then i get all anxious inside knowing that i am about to add TWO boys into the mix at one time. let’s face it, they probably won’t be as mindful as adali and i’m already nervous about it and they aren’t even here yet. and i just asked jastin last night if he thought that if we ever finished the basement if i would still be as obsessed as i am today about having the house clean before i go to bed. his answer was an immediate “yes, you’ll still be obsessed.” sigh. i need to remember…little people=little problems, big people= big problems.

  7. Great post…you’ve inspired me to post a pic of my messy house. Show a bit of the messy side of my life.

  8. SO TRUE! And may I point out a blog post that is floating in my mind for future…This is why you hear OUR parents talking about how great GRANDchildren are. You get the bond, the soaking in the “moments” and the time…with none of that other junk you mentioned. NOT that I’m wishing to fast-foward until then. I’m just saying…I get that.

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