Living in Chaos
The laundry is piled high, the dishes are dirty and my kids just dumped the entire bin of duplo all over the floor. Que loving message from my husband who just brought another load of laundry upstairs. Can you picture it all? This is the lifecycle of our house right now, then we clean and I have a moment of feeling in control and we do it all over again. Most days I sit down at 9PM and am exhausted, but my brain is so wired I can't sleep so we binge on Netflix and I play a game on my phone.
How do we embrace this chaos and turn it into something brilliant? Well, I have no real answer for you, but from my expert point of view from the 6 foot high laundry pile and no clean forks I am here to share my perspective on it all.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel
Yes, yes yes I know "they are only young once" that's repeated over and over again. When you're in the middle of the chaos though it isn't really the most motivating statement. Abi is 4.5 and an amazing young woman. I look at her and can't even picture her being the same size as the twins, though I know she was at some point as they are wearing her clothes. Thank goodness for Facebook Memories! With my first child knowing there was light at the end wasn't even something I could fathom, with the twins I now know there is a "this too shall pass". Sometimes I have a twinge of regret for missing being present during those hard times with Abi because I just wanted to be out of the phase. With the twins I still want them to sleep the whole night and would prefer to skip the potty training phase but I also have peace about the fact that this really will be short lived. I have created a daily mental practice for myself to embrace the hard things with them. Sometimes that is simply being present and singing twinkle twinkle little star for the 10th time when all I want is to sit without someone climbing on me. And sometimes I forget my practice all together and go hide out in my kitchen until they get distracted.
They are sponges
Kids absorb everything to do with their environment around them. We know this, but we aren't always responsible for it. It's hard to keep on top of sometimes, especially when life feels chaotic. Yesterday during reading time with Abi I sat on the couch with a pretty advanced book she picked out, it was all about environment and the universe, and we explored. One page was talking about the difference between glaciers and rivers. I read her the page and then we looked at the pictures. I asked Abi to tell me about what a river is and what a glacier is and she was actually able to articulate the difference. Giving our kids the opportunity to educate us is pretty incredible and I think sets a powerful foundation for learning.
They are sponges in other ways as well. If I am having a hard day and am sad I find the twins gravitate to naturally wanting to cuddle more. They can sense the energy. I've learned over the last 4.5 years of being a parent how important it is to create an environment both physically and emotionally that is nurturing for my kids. There is no perfect way to do this and no checklist to get this done, it's simply letting yourself see the world from their point of view and adjusting. Ask yourself, what do you want them to absorb today? My answer is often, I want them to know I love them with my whole heart. Then I remind myself that doing the dishes doesn't equate to love for them.
They just want me!
When I stop reading the book because my eyes are about to close I get a not so gentile tap from a little one reminding me to keep going. When I'm flustered with trying to keep up with the living room being in order they dump out the duplo blocks or start to color on the walls. These are my reminders to breathe, reset and be present with them. Maybe it's important to me that my living room doesn't feel like a landmine with small blocks all over the place, but it's not important to my kids right now - they just want me.
How do we deal with the chaos then?
There's no real answer to this, sure I could give you all the organization systems in the world or a bunch of checklists but is that really going to help? Likely not. From my own experience, learn to embrace it, learn to love it and learn to live with it. I now choose to make chaos a game with my kids, Abi's all about who can do something faster right now so yesterday's game "who can pick up the toys off the floor the fastest". Sometimes she'll play full out and sometimes she resists but doing it with her helps. And let's be honest, some days I just say F it and we add to the chaos tomorrow.