04 Dec Choosing Joy with 2 Under 2
I imagined being a mom with two under two would mean a lot of things. Like more diaper changes, an extra mouth to feed, and a bigger stroller. Naivety got the best of me. One thing I didn’t expect was logistically how difficult it was to get out of the house. Taking 25 minutes or less is a true Christmas miracle to get everyone out of the house. MIRACLE. If I am by myself, it takes an average of 45 minutes. Needless to say, I am compulsively always late now if I have the kids.
This last week I went to meet a friend downtown. I managed to haul both of them down our stairs to our driveway in one trip. So far so good because sometimes I take around 3 trips because I tend to forget something and one at a time is probably safer. But Ephraim did a good job maneuvering the stairs as I balanced Abe in his car seat and held E’s hand going down.
Like true Seattle fashion, it’s raining, my glasses are smeared, but I got them in their seats and turned on the car. Then both boys were literally loosing their minds once they were strapped in the car seats for 3 SECONDS. I went in and out of my drivers seat 5 times to adjust a binkie, bribe with snacks, toys and shhh shh shhh like there wasn’t a tomorrow. I gave up, because it was 10 minutes later and I was already late, so like a good mom I blasted the music and drove out the lot ignoring them. 2 minutes later they were calm.
Then we got to the parking garage and I started unloading the mammoth of a double stroller (and ours is “small” because I spent too many hours googling city-friendly double strollers). Ephraim decides taking off his socks and shoes is mandatory in car rides, so I also have to re-dress them and put jackets on before they are loaded in the stroller. Unfortunately, I found out that BOTH had a blowout. Maybe that is why they were both so fussy leaving the house. No one likes pooping in the car. So I whisked one back in their car seat. Unloaded all the diaper gear out of my Mary Poppins bag and started the poop clean up. But my Mary Poppins bag failed me. I forgot an extra outfit for Abe and he ended up in a beanie, diaper and socks as we trotted through Nordstrom trying to get to the cafe. The worst possible place to have a half naked baby.
I am too stubborn to go to the baby section at this point because one, I think it is ridiculous to spend $100 on a onesie no matter how organic it is. They live in baby clothes for like 1 week before they grow out of it. We welcome hand-me-downs, Goodwill shopping and gifts from grandmas. Two, we are late.
I stroll up sweaty, frazzled, 2 day old hair, slightly shaking and 15 minutes late. But hey, we got there. The next hour was not fruitful for me and my friend. Ephraim decided screaming was an appropriate use of his voice and throwing every possible object at people. Peaceful Abe slept, naked and wrapped up in a blanket though showing off his baby chunks. We parted, and I hauled them all back to the car where they crashed hard in the car ride home. It took me 5 minutes to get them back in our house and tucked into cribs.
Why is it that coming home is so much easier? I collapsed on the couch, very grumpy. I wanted to spend more quality time with my friend, but was blaming the kids on not being able to. I was very exhausted kicking myself for thinking that going out was a good idea that day.
Then the Lord reminded me of a verse in Proverbs 17:22.
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
How true is this proverb? I felt crushed and dried up. I am sure many of you mothers and fathers have felt this way at some point in your parenting journey. This day was on the top of the list for me.
One of our mottos in our family is to “choose joy”. Whenever we are grumpy Trevor and I remind each other to “choose joy”. Joy in hardships, depression or trials can seem lofty. Joy in blowouts, in grumpy attitudes, screaming children and half-naked babies in Nordstrom. Joy.
Joy is good medicine.
We are not always good at choosing it. But when we do, healing happens. It’s medicine to the soul. So on the couch I may have cried a little and started to re-focus my attitude on choosing joy and counting my blessings that day – that trip. Letting the peace of Jesus come over me and having him help me be thankful.
That is my prayer this season with 2 under 2. Choosing joy admits are chaotic lives. To be my families biggest fans even when they fail or make life really challenging. To softly correct them, try with all my might to not over-react and find the joy in life’s biggest blow-outs. To be a mother, wife, friend, pastor who shares joy with others. To be a woman who lives a life that reflects joy even though we may be going through poop, literal or figuratively. That is my prayer for you too this Christmas season. To be people who invest wholeheartedly in our communities to give little doses of joy each day – medicine for our soul.
For more on Joy – I wrote this blog on Godspace about 5 easy ways to Bring Joy to Your Community that was adapted from this story. Check it out if you’re interested.