It was a spring Saturday, the morning sunshine streaming through my little bathroom window to my right as I applied the rare eye shadow accent to my sleep-deprived eyelids. I then twisted my chestnut hair into a braided side bun, trying my best to look more presentable than my daily yoga pant attire, only to find all my bobby pins were missing. Where are they? How can a whole set disappear? I frantically dug through my purse with one hand supporting the bun — nope. I ran out to my car while setting off our house alarm in the process and found a few sitting on my dashboard. Whew. Crisis adverted. Leaping back up the stairs I put the finishing touches on my hair and got my chosen dress off the hanger. Being just eight weeks postpartum, it was my favorite maternity dress with shades of blue and green in a plaid design (Shhh. I did get many compliments though!) I stepped in and adjusted the straps onto my shoulders, only to find now the zipper would not budge. I tugged and pulled, twisted and turned trying to get that side zipper to zip to no avail. My husband could not get it either. Just when I was about to give up and try to find another suitable outfit that fits my postpartum frame, my eight year old asked to try — and hallelujah her little fingers had magic in them! Whew. Another crisis solved.
My appearance finally satisfactory, I dashed downstairs since I run on “Leah Time,” which means I am constantly 10 minutes late for everything. That day was no different. I was scheduled to make a public speaking appearance in an hour and still had to make the drive there. My role for the day was meant to encourage others on the process of telling their story through writing and here I was late, living this sitcom situation in real life. And, to be honest, I was semi-terrified as I kind of hate talking in front of people. I'm a writer, after all. The words come out better on paper. I figured that if I could just get my cup of coffee, down my supplements, and rub on some essential oils to calm my nerves, I could make it through the next hours. Having four kids — one a newborn — coffee is essential.
I rounded the corner to my kitchen and saw it: The mess.
That coffee I was so looking forward to and needing to jog my sleepy brain? Grounds were dumped before I even got to make me a cup. Those supplements that give me energy and keep my hair from falling out after four kids in eight years? Hundreds of capsules scattered. And not to mention, the lovely marker scribbles all over my counters plus dollars in change sprinkled as topping. Yes, the two-year-old terror has struck.
Thoughts flew through my mind consisting of logistics and pure anger. How can I sort all those capsules back out, which one was which? Did she eat any? She did! OMG do I need to call poison control? Why was she down here alone? I need to be leaving right now, not cleaning! Where can I get a cup of coffee quickest? Can I please just hold up my white flag and cry now?
This two-year-old of mine, I tell ya, she's unique. I've had other two-year-olds before her; she is a different breed of child. She is a challenge and keeps me on my Jamberry toes, yet a complete lovable joy all wrapped up in her blonde pigtail sprouts at the same time. You never know what the day will hold with her! She tends to find her way into mischief my others never dreamed of. Unfortunately her timing was awful with this curiosity moment... and I wanted to yell. I did yell. And then I cried.
My husband took me by the hand and told me to get my shoes and go; he'd take care of it while I was gone. With my instructions to not throw any supplements away (those cost a pretty penny!), I left for my day out feeling defeated before I even made it through the door. Here I was supposed to go encourage others when I felt like a two-year-old had stomped all over my courage. And man — I needed coffee.
So what is a momma to do? Laugh. Just laugh. I got in my car, took a breath, and posted the evidence of her mess on social media and had people laughing and sympathizing with me in no time. That's all you can do when your white flag is looming overhead and mess is surrounding you. Science says lauing physically reduces the symptoms of stress, easing tension, and stimulates oxygen flow — so laugh away, momma. I know these motherhood days are challenging. Sometimes a change of perspective is all you need to get through it. And you will get through it, promise.
Plus, one day these curiosity adventures will make for a great story to tell.