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It Ain’t Pretty

Sometimes, a house full of kids ain’t pretty. It’s messy. It’s frustrating. It’s loud. It’s full of surprises, no matter how much you plan. It’s often a battle: you vs. them, you vs. laundry, you vs. the unknown smell, you vs. screen time, or you vs. the version of you you’d like to be. 

Sometimes, like the other night for me, things get really crazy. It’s one thing after another, and there’s no one to blame, not even yourself (because sometimes, if I’m honest, it’s my fault). But sometimes, there are so many factors and so many things involved, it’s just too crazy and we can’t get through it without finding a little humor. 

On Saturday, Hubby and I had loose plans to go get (apparently amazing) burgers with some friends about 30 minutes from home. Once we started making further plans, our friends didn’t feel like going that far, but still wanted to hang. So we changed location and time, but kept the date. As my fam got ready to go, this kid didn’t want shoes, that one didn’t want a jacket, and the youngest screamed from the moment he got into his car seat. I was on edge from the crying, and from the sheer effort it takes to get all of us out the door…and because I had really wanted that burger with the obscene amount of bacon and the fried egg on top that everyone had been raving about. So when we finally got into the car, I sorta… exploded. I may or may not have told Hubby I wanted to run away by myself. I may or may not have meant it right then. But then I shut up, and we drove to dinner. 

Halfway there, I realized I had forgotten to grab baby wipes. This, with three kids under four, is a big mistake. Hubby offered to stop at the grocery store and grab some, and I declined, mumbling about how napkins or wet paper towels would do, and how stupid I felt for the obvious fail at Mom 101. 

When we got to dinner, it was time for D to eat his oatmeal, so he sat in Hubby’s lap while I fed him. We made precious little mess, and I went as far as to congratulate myself for not getting covered in it. How dare I?! Because the next thing I knew, he had puked. And puked some more. After the third one, I had changed his bib three times, his pants once, and used every napkin at the table. So then, obviously, there was one more spit up. Then he just got fussy. And fussier. And fussier. No amount of swaying or bouncing, toys or funny faces was making him happy, so Hubby and I deduced that he must’ve emptied his belly and gotten hungry. Because why else would he still be all mad? Well, two sips into his bottle, he passed out. Hard. Ooooh! Tired! That was it. Well, Mr. Man likes to sleep on his belly, so in my lap, he started to turn, until he was awkwardly belly down, splayed across my body. I managed to maneuver him to a slightly less awkward position, but it’s still a little disconcerting trying to eat a salad and a wrap with a twenty pound baby across your lap.

When he fell asleep, it was almost like that was my older kids’ cue to lose it completely. EK decided sitting was for losers and she would stand on one leg, with one butt cheek on her chair. J decided shoes were only for people who had their feet on the floor, and promptly threw his boots off the high chair he was in, and spend the rest of his evening fighting to get out of it. Both were fairly covered in their dinners (spaghetti with meat sauce and fries with ketchup, because obviously tomato is the only vegetable, and it exists only to be used in sauces). This was the point where I really regretted not letting Hubby stop for wipes. There was red everywhere, and several people at our table had been spit up on. And as I looked around at the laughing faces of our friends, a sweet Hubby who had hopefully not held my bad mood against me, a round of empty beers, and happy (or sleeping) babes, I made a decision. I could sit there brooding about how things hadn’t gone my way, or I could decide to have a nice evening, despite the crazy. All in all, the sequence of events was so bad it was funny. And I decided to laugh. I decided to wage my war on unpreparedness and loud kids later. I was surrounded by my favorite people, and I shouldn’t be sulking.  I should be having fun. And y’all, I did. I enjoyed myself with spit up on my sleeve, a baby sprawled across my lap, and kids who ate ketchup for dinner. I chose to ignore the battle instead of fighting it, and no one is even worse for the wear. 

Whitney Hsu

Whitney is wife to wonderful Ryan, and mama of bold and hilarious Ella Kate, Joseph and Davis. She leads worship at a new campus of an old church, and writes about life, parenting, and the Gospel. When she isn't writing, she's reading, running, making music, and being a foodie. Follow her journey here: Twitter & Instagram @onlyhsuman

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