Today was a great day! Though to be quite honest, it didn’t start out all that great. I now have a 4 day old baby girl that I love so much it often overwhelms me. Well, apparently this little girl loves me just as much because last night she did not want to sleep unless she was being held. Come 2 a.m., I gave in and just got her out of her bassinet. My master plan was to use my boba wrap to strap her to me so I could fall asleep holding her without dropping her and FINALLY get some much needed rest. After spending a good 15-20 minutes trying to figure out how to put the stupid thing on, Navy (my baby girl) decided she was ravenous and had to eat NOW. I finally had the boba wrap on and there was no way I was taking it off and starting on square one so I just left it on and worked my way around it to feed her. In the process of changing her diaper afterwards, my night took a definite unwanted and unexpected turn for the worst. At this point it was 3 a.m. and I made three very big mistakes. One, I changed her on my chair with no changing pad, two I was sitting on the footrest right in the potential line of fire and three, I didn’t put a fresh diaper on her IMMEDIATELY after removing the soiled one. I’m a mother of two now, I should know better. After removing the soiled diaper I turned to grab a fresh diaper and I heard a toot. I only had the hallway light on so it was fairly dark so I leaned in close, praying it was just a fart. At about the same moment I sighed in relief, straight liquid came shooting projectile out of my sweet baby girl. It shot out at least a foot and I was right in the line of fire. It got in my hair, all over my chest, and was quite literally dripping down my arm and my leg. Momma reflexes kicked in (2 seconds later than I would’ve hoped) and I grabbed the clean diaper and kind of just shoved it over the firing hole as my own personal shield. Needless to say, poop was everywhere. All over me, all over my chair, all over Navy, and worst of all, all over my one and only hope of getting any sleep that night. . .My boba wrap. As I went over to grab the diaper wipes, a quote by Marjorie Hinkley popped into my head: “You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.” So, much to my surprise, I laughed. I really wanted to cry but I laughed instead.
As I was in the shower, literally scrubbing my daughters feces out of my hair, I was racking my brain trying to figure out what has made the biggest difference in my ability laugh instead of cry. I REALLY felt like crying! I had every reason in the world to cry and break down. But I chose to laugh. I wasn’t happy by any means, don’t get me wrong. I don’t need anyone to think I enjoyed that experience. But it didn’t break me. It didn’t ruin the whole rest of my day.
Not too long ago, I read a book by Brene Brown titled “The Gifts of Imperfection”. In it she says, “We seem to measure the value of peoples contributions (and sometimes their entire lives) by their level of public recognition. In other words, worth is measured by fame and fortune. Our culture is quick to dismiss quite, ordinary, hardworking men and women. In many instances, we equate ordinary with boring or, even more dangerous, ordinary has become synonymous with meaningless.” This really struck home for me. It helped me make sense of my “fear” of being just a stay at home mom. I didn’t want my life to be meaningless and unimportant so I felt like I had to reach outside of the home and do something more! We all know there is little to no public recognition, fame or fortune in being a stay at home mom. In fact, I feel like being a stay at home mom is the perfect description of “quite, ordinary, hardworking”. And that was always scary to me. It was scary to me because I had accepted that an ordinary life was a meaningless one as truth. But that is so far from the truth. Ordinary DOES NOT equal meaningless. Say it with me now: ORDINARY DOES NOT EQUAL MEANINGLESS. Being a mother is chuck full of incredibly ordinary moments! And that’s what I used to find so discouraging. Every day was just like the last. But once I was able to change my definition of ordinary, that all changed. I started to look at the “ordinary” moments differently. Brown says, “I think I learned the most about the value of ordinary from interviewing men and women who have experienced tremendous loss such as the loss of a child, violence, genocide, and trauma. The memories that they held most sacred were the ordinary, everyday moments. It was clear that their most precious memories were forged from a collection of ordinary moments, and their hope for others is that they would stop long enough to be grateful for those moments and the joy they bring.” And that’s exactly what I’ve done and the results have been amazing and so I want to invite you to do the same. “Stop long enough to be grateful for those moments and the joy they bring.” Doing this alone has helped me immensely in finding more joy in every ordinary day as a mother. It’s a big part of why I was able to stay calm and not lose it at 4 this morning despite being covered in a little persons feces and not having had any sleep yet that night.
I like to think of this like it’s filling my “mommy tank”. You guys have heard of Steven Coveys emotional bank account, yes? Or some people know it as keeping the love tank full. Same idea. You are constantly making deposits (good/positive emotions) and withdrawals (bad/negative emotions). If you’re making more withdrawals than deposits then you will have more negative experiences and vice versa. As I go throughout my beautiful, ordinary days I am constantly on the look out for ordinary moments that bring joy to add to my mommy tank. For example, last night I was gently putting my sweet 4 day old baby in her bassinet and after doing so, I gently slipped her beanie on her tiny little head and just stared at her in wonder. As I did this, I made a conscious effort to stop and be grateful and soak up the joy of that ordinary moment. I let my heart soar over that one simple thing! It was not extraordinary by anyone’s definition but it doesn’t have to to be extraordinary to be meaningful. I am constantly making deposits (finding joy in ordinary moments) so that when a withdrawal happens (temper tantrum, blowout, etc), my mommy tank doesn’t go into overdraft mode and I lose it. As I do this throughout my day, my “mommy tank” stays full and it makes the unavoidable hard parts or withdrawals of being a mom doable. They don’t turn your world upside down anymore or completely unravel you because when the hard parts come up, you’re mommy tank is already overflowing with all of the wonderful moments you’ve captured throughout the day. You’re mommy tank can afford to make a “withdrawal” when your kids are less than perfect. But you have to make a conscious effort to keep filling it! It’s not going to fill on it’s own. You have to be on the lookout and when you do recognize those moments, let your heart overflow with gratitude and joy.
So, here’s your opportunity assignment: Find gratitude and joy in at least 5 ordinary moments everyday for the next week! This should be easy because remember, our days are chuck full of ordinary 🙂 You’ll be surprised at how quickly things begin to change if you’re diligent with this! Please feel free share your experiences, I’d love to hear how this works out for you and what you guys think! 🙂