Moms have a lot on their plates every day.
Parents have a lot on their plates and rarely get a break because they have to juggle numerous tasks throughout the day, such as washing the kids’ sticky hands and faces, folding their laundry, making sure they have breakfast and lunch, and getting them ready for school.
No matter how hard they try, there’s bound to be some kind of disaster waiting around the corner, like a glass of milk knocked over, a toy you accidentally stepped on, or a stain somewhere.
Few mothers can afford the luxury of a short shower before turning in or taking some time for themselves.
Some things we take for granted as parents are touched upon in a recent piece by Heather Duckworth, a mother who has been through it all.
The messes kids make as they mature before our eyes into the persons we’ve always imagined they’ll become are an integral part of that process.
It’s important to remember that our children will look back on the messes we cleaned up as adults and use those memories as the greatest testament to the childhood we gave them, so it’s worth the effort to find the joy in the midst of the chaos.
Regrettably, not all women get to experience the turmoil and clutter that children create.
Likewise, not all parents are able to enjoy the joy that children bring into their lives.
The popular post by Heather titled “The Blue Stain” resonated with many new and expectant mothers.
Heather’s heart started pounding as she scrubbed the grout her daughter had formed with the slime, remembering the disaster she had to remove all those years ago.
After a long day of running around after her two-year-old triplets and four-year-old older brother, picking up toys, and making sure no one got hurt in the piles of laundry she couldn’t finish that day, this mother would reflect, “My hands were full, but so was my heart.”
Before turning in for the night, Heather and her two sons danced to the radio while they tidied up the playroom.
Nobody could have predicted that it would be the last time they laughed so hard for a while.
It was just as she was settling in for a good night’s sleep herself that she heard one of the lads remark, “Uh, Oh,” and she saw the huge blue stain that would haunt her dreams forever.
The pen one of the triplets was holding burst in his grasp, spraying ink everywhere. His hands, face, and pajamas were all blue, giving the impression that the tiny boy was a smurf.
While she watched, Heather felt like a bad mother and began to get angry.
She hadn’t been angry with her son, but she did hold herself responsible because she had left the pen where youngsters could easily access it. Her feelings got the best of her.
“I gasped as I saw blue splatters across the floor and a thick pool of ink sinking into our carpet – our brand new carpet. I quickly yelled for my husband, who had been doing the dishes, to come and help me. I instantly felt so upset as I grabbed my son and took him to the bathroom to clean him up and my husband started scrubbing those bright blue stains on our carpet.”
Heather’s feelings of annoyance and fury would always resurface whenever she saw the stain on the fresh new carpet. All the wonderful times she had with her sons were symbolized by the stain until the day it was finally removed.
The youngster who spilled blue paint on the carpet was diagnosed with cancer a month later, and he died two years later, leaving the stain as a memento of their time together.
“It was still there . . . and now . . . it was a constant reminder of my son. It was a constant reminder of my frustration over something so trivial . . . something so unimportant in the scheme of life.
That blue stain was a constant reminder that life is messy, but that’s what makes it worth living. A constant reminder to not sweat the small stuff. A constant reminder that ‘things’ aren’t important, but people are. A constant reminder that accidents happen. A constant reminder to let go of the little things and hang on tight to what is important.”
She tried to cover up the vivid blue stain with the furniture, but every time she cleaned the room, there it was, staring at her, reminding her of her loss and the sorrow she was still feeling.
Heather’s story is meant to remind us of how often we take life for granted and fail to appreciate the little things that give our lives meaning. She feels the need to inform all the moms out there that the dirty laundry and strewn about toys are what really make the house a place of comfort and safety for their families.
Those messes, made by the people who matter most to us, are what make our lives worthwhile, as Heather puts it, because there will come a day when we will miss those moments very much indeed. “I would have a million blue ink stains on my carpet if it meant I could have one more day with my son.”
Her advice to moms: don’t let yourself get so wrapped up in the world that you miss out on quality time with your kids. Life is too short to be wasted scrubbing stains, so prioritize what matters most!
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