This won’t be another article about how we all need to burn our to-do list, throw our vaccuums to the curb, flush our swiffer dusters down the commode and instead play with with our children all the live-long day.
This also won’t be another blog post about how we all need to put our phones down, pick up a broom and get to cleaning our homes, clipping coupons and caring for our family like a good, valuable little Proverbs 31 woman.
THIS right here, will be some reality for ya.
This phrase, “perfectly chaotic” was actually a gift from my husband a couple of weeks after I had given birth to our 3rd child. It was a long day of constant nursing and attempting to comfort a very unhappy/unsatisfied newborn. Not to mention the lovely hormonal fluctuations and exhaustion that are full-force around that time. I was also healing from a c-section which does add a few challenges to the whole scenario. It was my second or third day with all 3 kids home all day. I hadn’t eaten a thing and despite my best efforts, the house was a DISASTER level 5. I’m not proud to say that in a moment of overwhelming hanger, I kicked the baby swing with all my might. No baby was in it thus no baby was harmed. However, I was a grown woman who just kicked an innocent baby swing. Then to top off this moment of insanity, instead of taking a deep breath and counting to 10 like Daniel Tiger teaches us, I ran as fast as I could down to the basement and hid in the guest room closet. I was really hoping my husband hadn’t seen the carnage that had just unfolded. He did. I heard him calmly walking down the steps and into the room where I was hiding. He sloooooowly opened the closet door and then I started laughing/crying/who knows. Poor guy was playing hide-and-seek with his stinky, cry-faced, swing-killing wife. He actually stepped inside my cave of darkness and despair and held me tight. He said something along the lines of, “You know what, baby? This is just a stage. You are doing so great! You are killin’ it! The kids are happy and fed. 2 out of 3 anyway. You need to look at this stage in our life as perfectly chaotic. Look at all of our blessings! I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere and we are a team. Now, you stay down here for a little bit and I will go upstairs and order a pizza for dinner. Then me and the kids will do a 10 minute power pick-up. I love you. Stay down here as long as you need to.” Yes, I know. Perfection. I’m so thankful to God for this man.
ok, so that gives you a little background for this phrase I’ve repeated to myself every day this year which brings me to this afternoon…
We had one of those perfect days. We giggled, we played outside, we got creative and made potions of flour, water, various seasonings, construction paper, string, etc., we read stories and ate healthy snacks. Rest time was heavenly. I managed to wash everyone’s sheets and get the beds made wrinkle-free and smelling fresh. On top of that, I cleaned the bathrooms and washed the towels. I also got my kitchen looking all sparkly. We are talking fridge, microwave, every inch of countertop space, etc. Then for a moment, I became Martha Stewart herself and I purified the kitchen air with my organic lemon and grapefruit essential oils diffusing away all afternoon. I planned a lovely dinner of spaghetti and homemade meatballs, french bread and steamed green beans. It was a ridiculously beautiful day full of beautiful moments. I played a little Michael Buble’ as Allie and I floated around in our matching cupcake aprons and made meatballs together. Once they were in the oven, I prepared the rest. I finished off the fresh steamed green beans with a little butter and sea salt and then added a sprinkle of sugar to the Ragu Homestyle sauce. YES. Ragu Homestyle. White sugar. Are you starting to see where this is going? Getting a little more real by the second! Once the kids were outside and I was setting the table, I turned off good ol’ Michael B. and I started to sing, “ Oh theeeeees ees the niiiiiiiiiiight. Eeetsa Beauuuuuuuuteeful niiiiiiiiight and they caaaaaaaall it Beeellle Notte’. Loooooook at the skies. They have stars in their eyes on this loooooovely Beeeeella Notte. SIDE BY SIIIIIIIDE WEEETHA YOUR LOVED ONE…” Ok, you get the point. I was Lady and the Trampin’ it up at the top of my robust, italian wanna-be lungs while picturing Jake and I starting on opposite ends of a spaghetti noodle and meeting for a kiss in the middle while a cute little meatball sat steaming on the plate. I opened the sliding glass door and called to my adoring little family that dinner was served. I turned around and suddenly Italy was gone. I realized every single cabinet in the kitchen was open. Drawers and all! Lids and tupperware strewn all over the floor courtesy of my 11 month old. I can probably only blame two of the drawers on the baby. The rest was all me. Allie (age 6) asked for two scoops of green beans and Jace (age 4) asked for just two beans. As they were all scarfing it down, I was feeding baby Bradley. Just kidding. They weren’t scarfing it down at all. You would’ve thought I served them asparagus wrapped onions dipped in hot sauce. Ridiculous! Kids these days. I tell ya. At some point, baby Bradley coughed with his mouth shut and discovered that his mouth doubled as a high-powered assault rifle and he had all the ammo he needed right there on his tray. For the rest of dinner, I dodged green bean, meatball and noodle particles, milk and spaghetti sauce. He also discovered that when he touched mommy’s arm with his buttery fingers that my soft arm turned into a shiny, slippery fun arm toy that he could blow slimy raspberries on between moments of warfare. I don’t really remember exactly when but at some point Jacob (my husband) finished eating and headed back outside to work some more. Somehow we missed the romantic noodle kiss thing. But anyway, he was out there with his leaf blower and had all the kid’s attention as they were at the table just staring at him pitifully like they were victims of the supper warden. The next thing I know, Jacob burst thru the side door and proceeds to turn his leaf blower on INSIDE the kitchen. He pointed it toward the dining room at the kids and got their hair and faces and clothes and buns. I was surrounded by laughing and air! Hahaha so funny and cute!
Now my purified kitchen smelled like gasoline and motor oil. The thousands of crumbs from the loaf of french bread that I had sliced so perfectly earlier were now blown all over the kitchen, dining room, in the kid’s hair, back in the bedrooms, etc. Spaghetti noodles dangled from ceiling. Just kidding. There were no noodles on the ceiling but there may as well have been! The crumbs are probably still in beds, under dressers, on top of books. I foresee a real-life Ratatouille situation happening in the near future.
All that to say, our evening was perfect chaos. I love my kids. I love my man. I love my messy, chubby baby. I love my home which will soon be over-run by mice. And strangely, I even love the faint smell of fuel in my kitchen. I should probably get my iron levels checked now that I think of it. We all survived the night and we will all go to bed happy and thankful. Perfection is boring. In 15 years I won’t remember the clean sheets and the stellar job I did cleaning our kitchen. But I WILL remember the time daddy started up his leaf-blower in the kitchen.
Do your best, ask God for patience and peace and then enjoy the crazy. That’s all I’m sayin’. If needed, claim our phrase. It sure has been helpful to this perfectionist.
Bonus, easy no-fail meatball recipe:
1 lb. burger (I actually used deer burger), 1 egg, 1/2 c. bread crumbs, splash of milk, 1/2 tsp. garlic salt, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder. Mix it all up, shape into balls and bake at 375 until done (about 25 minutes depending on the size).
You can throw in whatever seasonings or cheeses depending on the meal. Easy peasy.