Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Serenity Never

What should theoretically be one of the more benign, peaceful moments of my day is typically the one that is most fraught with drama: My shower.

Here's the thing - I know that I might, at times, veer dangerously close to painting the picture that life with small children is all craft-time-in-personalized-vinyl-aprons. That it's all glitter, no glue. It's blanket forts that appear with the snap of a finger and magically dismantle themselves when the fun grows stale. (Not that anything ever grows stale around here...) It's curly girls in cute tights and cuddly boys who eat all of their carrot sticks.

The reality is, there's quite a bit of angst up in my hood on a daily basis.

Especially during the 20 minutes that I race in to shower.

Don't the lady mags advocate being showered and dressed before the kids rise? Well, my kids rise around 6:45 most days, and that's just not happening.

When I shower, the five year old is in charge but the four year old probably should be and the two year old? Well, he's breaking ornaments and playing Whack-A-Sister.

Today, mid-condition, Ruby ran in crying her eyes out, "Mom! Calvin hitted me!"

Moments late, Calvin arrived to defend himself. "But Mommy, Ruby rubbed Velcro on my cheeeeeeeeek!"

Yup. Velcro.

And it all went down hill from there.

And then back up.

Then down.




You get the point.

Most days, I prefer to search for the fine strand of gilded happy and lock eyes with it. But some days, that strand is hopelessly lost in the laundry heap. That lilt is hidden somewhere between the whines and the sasses and the cries, but heck if I can hear it.

On days like this, I grab my definition of happy like a big lump of Playdough - blue mixed with yellow mixed with red, a little on the dry side - and I squish it and stretch it until it fits my world.

Thank heavens, happy sometimes means fruit salad in February and paint smocks for everyone.

But other times, happy is just gonna hafta mean canned soup for dinner because the cupboards are mostly bare and an ecstatic cross country/rollerblade combo in between trips to time out.

Their moods swing right along with mine, most days. We yawn and scratch our way through the cooped up hours and we giggle and play through others.

I'm all for finding the gooey caramel center, but sometimes what I look for and what I find are not the same. Sometimes the box is full of those weird mystery creams - still sweet, but not at all what you would have picked if it were up to you.

To every tired Mama out there - I hope tomorrow is frosted up tall and nice with the sprinkles landing exactly where they should. I hope you shower in peace.

But if not? Squish up your idea of happy until it's a little softer and easier to work with. Fold laundry amid the roar of the wildlife and notice all over again that it smells so good. And then collapse in a heap when bedtime rolls around. You earned it.


  1. thanks for yet another great post! i'm going to assume, that from this post, i am NOT alone when it comes to bad/crazy days around our house. sorry for you, but i'm happy to hear that things are not always smiles and giggles at your house either...and i mean that with all the mommy love i can send! here's to a great week for all of us mommy's!

  2. My sweet angels like bedtime to be their nightmarish selves. They know full well that they have worn down that momma to a thin thread. She could break at any moment....but when. What if I push, just, a little....harder. And SNAP. There she goes!!!! Why is it SO hard to get in bed, stay there and go to sleep? I have come to the point that I know sacrifice 45 minutes of sleep to get up in the wee hours of the morning, drink coffee (and be present enough to actually taste it, not just feel the effects later), and shower before the mayhem begins. It just feels so good, grounded to start the day with out the adrenalin pumping...and to have deodorant on!

  3. rollerskating in the house?! I want you as MY mom :)

    I love seeing the young-kid days in your posts..sometimes I long for them and they are a distant memory.

    You aer so FUNNY ;)

  4. I will never, ever take my shower time for granted again. It is truly amazing how quickly one forgets about these days. I am here to tell you there is a body scrub and double condition down the road for you. I promise.

  5. Showers are so stressful. I've resorted to letting my boys splash around in the sink just so I can shave my legs once in awhile.

  6. I'm not sure it helps when you are in the middle of it, but as the kids get older it all changes pretty fast, not necessarily an easier set of stress points, but you do at least get a peaceful shower (once your teen has finally vacated the shower room!!), and suddenly getting dressed means just getting on your own clothes and not lots of littles into theirs as well!! As Dana has said, your home spa moment will come sooner than you think!xx

  7. i remember those stressful showers! you said it all so well..and beautifully!



  8. I share many of those moments a few times a week but luckily I can shower before I the grandkids descend!
    Velcro, ha that is a new one. Yesterday, Aubrie shook her fists at Everett and said OH you make me soooo mad! I had to chuckle behind her back. I thought it was progress from wielding her fists, only for her to later slug him!
    But, we did don our garbage bag smocks and paint little pictures for Mommy and then snuggled in Grandma's bed for a movie. Balance for sure!

  9. what is it about fighting kiddos that makes the everyday so hard? I can't tell you how many times I've had to referee the he-said she-said from behind the shower curtain...and the hubby wonders how I can't shave my legs every day!

  10. yes my friend,i have been there too.
    only now the angst doesn't occur while i shower cuz i 'get to' do that in peace.
    the angst usually occurs later in the evening & maybe over something like....why the heck did you wear that much eyeliner again. as if i haven't told you that everyday since 2008?

    i think you are a rockin awesome mama
    & those babies are blessed like crazy
    even if they have velcro chaffed cheeks

  11. I needed this.

    'Cause we're gonna try to frost and decorate Christmas cookies today. (Deep, bracing breath.)

  12. Just what I needed this morning right along side Jayme's new Don't Worry Be Happy campaign. I'm going to try to embrace this today but it might be one of the bigger challenges I've faced in my life. P.S. I miss you.

  13. I miss those days of hectic chaos, be careful what you wish for!

  14. what would it be like to shower in peace? i usually find a boy has snuck in and cozied up in the warm bathroom to SURPRISE me when i get out. my name is meghan, and i am a boy mom.

  15. Eloquently put, I am resorting to "the ponytail" more and more and it's just the two of us...and yesterday for lunch we ate our last two cans of soup...they are ever smart woman's secret...I had Italian Wedding.

    Keep the faith ;)

  16. Too true. You just described my days to a "t". Only I just have the four and the five year old currently. The one year old is on his way!!

  17. I remember those days and take it from someone with now teenagers...they go WAY TOO FAST! I would trade anything for a day of playdough with little ones again.
    I used to put mine in their seperate rooms and set the timer for 30 minutes while I showered and had "my time" in the morning. It worked well usually until they started opening their doors and throwing things across the hall at each other!
    Enjoy all these times... :)
    Happy Holidays!

  18. Thanks for this post. Today is turning out to be "one of those days" and it is refreshing to hear that I'm not alone. Have a wonderful day!!

  19. Yes. And amen. And mmHmm. I long for some of the cooped up together days, again. Its really such a short season in the grand scheme of things.

  20. Oh girl...someday you'll be able to take a bubble bath in peace. It will come. I promise!

  21. This is a good post! My Sunday was trying to say the least - lots of slap fights make for a worn out Mommy! Last night we made cookies so it was a much better evening! They love hard, play hard, and fight hard all day long! Their hugs and kisses can't be beat!

  22. Oh I didn't mention - I take baths (probably because we never had a shower when I grew up & I still love them). I have to lock the door which they then open with a butter knife only for Everett to try to taste the bath water - so much for a relaxing bath huh!

  23. Not a mama but can only imagine how hectic your day is everday and night! You are a superwomen for sure. Love that you can find the happy and lock into it. Those photos of Ruby are hilarious.

  24. My life is nuts with one... you are a super trooper make it through a winter day with 3! And also a very cool mom.... love the roller blades with the wrapping paper rolls!

  25. This post hits home so well. It is amazing how tall the stretch can be between our highs and lows. It is also refreshing for moms to be honest about it and not make others feel alone in the wildness!

  26. Shannan - thank you. What a blessing you are to me. I feel like I just got a very deep breath.

  27. I hear you!!!! Wishing you a peaceful shower time somewhere in the near future!


  28. Shannan, I love you. lol :) This is sooo my life. My favorite is when the little ones comment on my girl parts as they've just barged in on me in the shower.

    For cereal. Get out!

    Love you. :)

  29. Thanks for being real! Life isn't usually picture perfect. At least not for me. I heart your blog. :-)


  30. And THIS is why we are best friends (even though you don't know it :) haha).

  31. Thank you so much for this post! I am not a mom of young children, but I am a soon to be step mom of a 15 year old and a 10 year old. I have been single parenting it for 14 days as their dad is in Africa. Working full time and balancing everything else has been overwhelming and today I almost reached my breaking point. Thank you for this post its given me some perspective.

  32. So does this mean you won't judge me if my one year old is eating cheerios off the kitchen floor? If she didn't I fear she wouldn't eat any lunch at all. And for the 5 & 3 year old it's bread-less sandwiches (we call them turkey roll ups...because we are fancy like that) because mama forgot to pick up bread at the store. And as far as the peaceful shower goes...I just keep reminding myself that it won't be like this forever. And when it isn't I will wish for it back.

    Angie from Ohio

  33. I'm right there with you! Who would have thought finding time to shower would be so difficult. We all have those difficult moments or sometimes entire days but somehow those sweet faces know how to say the right thing to make us fall in love with them all over again ;)

  34. I love to read your live!! You are beautiful w/ words and your children are so yummy I could gobble them up!!

  35. Love this post. Speaking of shower...I still need to and it's 12:35 pm.

  36. ((sigh and snicker)) It must be the weather.

    I was reading your post thinking "gee, she must be peering through our windows or something". From the sounds of it... you seem to take your "angst" with much more grace then I have or do or ever will. Some days I feel like I just can't... but with Jesus I can.

    You're humor totally helps... I love that about you.

    Thank you so much for your encouragement...

  37. Even if it's a not so perfect day you still manage to make it sound good!

  38. Oh I love this so much. Because it brings back memories of the old days and trying to take a shower. Because it speaks to me today, tired from a LONG weekend of hosting lots and lots of parties at my house. Because it offers hope.

    I love your blog. So much.

  39. Shannan, Savor every moment of these crazy days as they will go so fast! I remember those days so well always something going on and why is it that it always goes haywire as soon as you hit the bathroom? Traci

  40. Everyday may not be lollipops and sunbeams, but reading about your family life gives me such a warm feeling. Your posts just remind me how quickly life changes and how blessed we are to be here, in this moment with our littles. Thanks for sharing everything, even the parts that aren't rosy and picture perfect...it reminds me that I don't have to be perfect, either.

    PS: Thank you so much for commenting on my blog. I almost cried...you made my day! :)

  41. I've gotta side with Calvin, if someone rubbed velcro on my cheek, it would bed an automatic reflex of my arm swinging to slap it away, I mean it could have been an accidental reflex.
    Some may cringe at this, but I take my showers at night. I get to hop in bed clean, and it really saves time in the morning, so I roll out of bed, throw my hair in a pony, wash my face and slap on some makeup and I am in the kitchen in a matter of minutes. Who wants to go to bed grimy? I'm tellin' ya, try it, you'll be hooked and wonder how you ever could have done it the other way!

  42. At least you don't have Frank Costanza yelling "Serenity Now" at you all day long...I think that's something to squish into the happy playdough.

  43. sounds like my house! I watch 2 other kids with my one and 3 altogether is quite eye-opening! :) But I do find some sweet spots mixed in with the sour. My daugher is the most dramatic by far! She's gotten so good with the fake cry, I have half a mind to get her headshots done and sign her up with an agent! :)

  44. Yeah, sometimes we just have to tell the truth so that everyone knows we are not exactly picture perfect. Rather, we are everyday normal, whatever that means at any given moment! Thanks for keeping it real!

  45. May your shower tomorrow be peaceful! Love the picture of Ruby rollerblading!

  46. and what exactly would you do with a day that went perfectly planned?! i think you'd be bored! you'd miss the action. you thrive on the beauty of organized chaos ;)

  47. ok, my first try at commenting and I got a weird error... so if this posts twice, oops!

    I have to say this brings back a lot of memories.. back in the day when my husband would come home and wonder what I'd done all day. Kid wrangling is alot of work! Really!

    I enjoyed seeing a snapshot of your daily life in words and pictures. The real stuff, not just the blog/perfect stuff :)


    PS I hate to break this to you but that shoe craziness... they don't grow out of it. I'm still tripping on shoes!

  48. oh how true this post was...your showers sound so similar to mine...probably to many, right?
    love Ruby in the roller blades...so cute!!

  49. Awesome analogies! I loved this oh so truthful post and want to send it to every mommy I know.
    And I agree, Ruby is too cute roller blading through the house.

  50. With having an 11 year old I don't have any of those troubles anymore but it's fun to remember back to when we did have all that young children angst. Now I have the tween angst! I so prefer the young children angst to the tween! ;-)

  51. Wow, that could be my daughter AND son BOTH roller skating round this tiny farmhouse. Thank you. I do feel better. Love your writing.

  52. The gooey center of our chocolate rushes usually comes out like a dripping cherry alamode....pretty messy....

    With 5 kiddos in our house a day with roller blades, curlers, muddy boots, and whip creme mustaches are but a slight distant memory. At one time I had 3 under 3 and thought I would lose my cotton pickin mind!...but they roll into those quirky adorable tweens and teens and then the chocolate center becomes like a nuggat creme and all becomes well with the world...BUT only if you let them roller blade with the curlers and whip creme mustaches when they were little.

    Showers? Highly over rated....that's what deodorant and hats are for!

    May your chocolate center become richer and creamier each day!


  53. Getting caught up on your blog, and I have to say this is an all time favorite post!

  54. Ohhhhhh...thud. (clackety clackety clackety)

    That was a moan of despair, followed by the sound of my head hitting the keyboard.

    With an accidental finger move, I completed swiped away the comment I had been diligently working on. It's a depressing thing no matter the time of day, but especially so after midnight. What does one do? Start over with something different? Try to salvage the pieces? Give up and go to bed?

    That last one is what I want to do. But I *really* wanted to tell you how much I love this post. And your Edie post. I also have an Edie. I thought you were writing about her until you got to the turquoise cabinet part. And the used-to-be-a-doctor part.

    This post resonates with me, as many of your writing does. Your real-ness is invigorating. I also let my kids rollerblade in the house. I take my 2 yr old in the shower so he doesn't scream and beat at the bathroom door instead. He loves the water...so much so, that he even pouts when he's not allowed to help with the dishes. And as Ree often does, I use the term "help" very loosely.

    On we go. Time's slipping by and I must sleep soon.

    Your writing helps me remember why I love to write. Your writing helps me remember why I keep letting my kids rollerblade in the house and play with Playdough, even after they've ground it into my carpet.

    Your writing (pause for effect) is excellent.

    Thank you.

  55. I also make typos. Even when I proofread.

    And you can tell your husband that maybe he just doesn't understand the *tone* of your writing, knowwhatImean? ;)