ISO: friends who text dirty pictures.

I suppose I should clarify. One of my dearest friends just texted me a picture of her dirty kitchen. I responded with a few of my own pictures and a lump in my throat made up of missing old friends and appreciation for the reminder that my job is taking care of people–not stuff.

True story: I just stopped typing to tell my son to put the shorts that got caught in a potty-break misfire in the laundry basket and then watched him drag them the entire length of my leather couch before placing them on top of the clean laundry piled on the dryer that has been sitting there for three days. I’m sitting here now, because I had too many Braxton Hicks in a row after cleaning the kitchen for the first time since Saturday as well as the fridge that had been the recipient of an unfortunate soy sauce accident about a week ago. The soy sauce had hardened into salty, stubborn, crystals that took a decent amount of elbow grease to remove. Unfortunately, I can’t relax because I know that my kitchen counters are still covered with a devious layer of watermelon juice that has dried into a commercial grade stickiness since it made its debut on Saturday. Of course, this all pales in comparison to the rest of the house I still have to clean so that when the new babysitter shows up tomorrow evening to let AJ and I go out to dinner for the first time since probably September, she’ll think we are a nice, normal, family.

We cannot afford to scare this girl off.

There’s been a surprising number of discontented mothers writing things that make waves on the internet lately. Notably, there was the mom in the UK somewhere who wrote eloquently about her strong aversion to motherhood several months ago, and more recently, a former professional wrote about how much smaller her world has gotten since becoming a mother. Her article was littered with words of regret and angst linked together. However, for every discontented woman who became a mother without counting the costs involved, there’s so many more who live for the validation they can get in the contest to be the perfect mother while only allowing themselves to be judged by the carefully selected things they post on Facebook or their Pinterest-worthy blogs. I hope to fall somewhere in the middle.

The truth is, nothing worth having comes easy. While I have yet to actually look it up to verify, Pinterest says that there’s a quote by Winnie the Pooh about how sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart. He was right; not only do they take over your heart, but also your house, your budget, your car, your clothing choices, your friends, and your early morning coffee time. In a perfunctory glance, your world does seem to get smaller. There’s so much less time for what you want to dream and live and accomplish, when someone is literally always asking for a snack. Nothing good comes without a sacrifice though. It’s like this law of nature written into the genetic code of all creation. There is no birth without pain, no life without inevitable death, and no spring without fall. If becoming a mother makes your world smaller, then I would contend that it becomes deeper. Where once was a rainbow of panorama to explore, now becomes a small pinhole of light like a laser that only travels far because of its intense focus.

If you’re a mother, or if you have one, this applies. Narrowing your focus onto the people in your life will necessitate that you lose the things that distract from these people, and somewhere in the journey you will discover that they were worth it.

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redux

You are reading the wrong blog post. Right now, there are at least three blog posts sitting in my unpublished drafts and I wish you were reading one of those instead of this one. But, they’re boring. Like dictionary boring. The ideas were good but the thoughts came out stagnant and stilted.

You see, there’s this thing that happens when words become real and lift off that screen or page and mix with a part of you that you didn’t know needed stirring. Unfortunately, it’s not something you can just summon. We can’t all pull a Taylor Swift and date people just for the breakup songs they’ll inspire but it’s still important to find ways to pour your heart into something with recklessness. That’s where life is born. Creativity isn’t just an ability that some people have and others don’t–it’s an unbidden freshness that steals through your soul when you let yourself go. It takes many forms. Any act, monotonous schedule, or choice can become creative and transformed from a rut in your mind that you can’t seem to pull the tires out of, to a flat beach and bare feet. I’m not talking about cutting and pasting inspirational words and images into a journal to visualize a better future, I’m talking about pouring the deep parts of your soul into life. There’s no safety in saving yourself for something that draws you out and inspires you. Instead, you’ll find that the well in your heart sinks deeper into a stoney void that less and less can reach.

Today I pour myself into slicing apples. I pour myself into finding flip-flops and turning on bathroom sinks for people that can’t yet reach, and reading that Mo Willems book about the flying pig…again. I pour myself into being the banner bearer for good attitudes, playing nice and not hitting when someone takes your car (unless it’s a real car, and even then…maybe not such a good idea). I don’t just pour myself into being a Mom, but also just like you; I dream of the future, mistakenly hoarding my hopes for tomorrow and forgetting that yesterday, today was one of my tomorrows.

Inspiration exists but it has to find you working. –Pablo Picasso

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