Let’s talk about embracing the mess and mayhem that is sometimes motherhood. Oh this motherhood game can sure be a doozy. Even after our best-laid efforts. I am reminded of this even now with adult kids. I am here to say there are still storms. But they are bigger and I’m sorry to say, sometimes more vicious.
But I loved coming across this post from back in 2013 where I was reminded, in the midst of chaos, that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The Pothiers, in a moment of "the eye of the storm"

Finding the “Eye of the storm”

There are moments where I would normally get huffy and caught up in the hurricane myself, yet I somehow miraculously become the “eye” of the storm, and for a split second everything freezes and my heart turns mushy.  Not only am I the “eye” of the storm, but to my mother’s eye, that chaos surrounding me looks like pure perfection.
I like to record those “eye” moments because they are like gold I tell you.

Setting the background

On Sunday I was bound and determined we were going to be on time for church (it’s not til 1:00 so really, this should not be a difficult task!)

I was going to have my “interviews” I had planned with two of my girls.
We were going to be ready early.
“Pay Day” was going to go seamlessly and the kids were all going to get all jazzed to do their jobs for another week.

We were going to finally get on our pie-in-the-sky-planned-out-Sunday-before-church-routine that hasn’t really worked so far.
We got off to a great start, but things started falling apart when we hunkered down to have our family meeting.

What really happened

The girls could not keep their hands to themselves for the life of them.
Lucy was on a whining spree because she realized she hadn’t had lunch, which has a fingernails-on-the-chalkboard effect on Dave who then started getting grumpy.
My mind was stressing about some things I still needed to gather and print out for church since our Primary program is next Sunday and I’m trying to help the kids learn some last-minute things.
Max somehow got two large dollops of peanut butter spreading ugly greasy rings on the knee of his brand new Sunday pants so we snapped into gear trying to google how in the world to get peanut butter out of clothes (which didn’t work, by the way).
Needless to say we weren’t getting much “family business” done and the mood in our home was miles away from what we were aiming for.

Recognizing the “eye of the storm”

But we pushed forward with our family meeting.  Dave asked who had stuff going on this week.  He mentioned in a joking voice that he didn’t think we had anything going on at all on Wednesday.  At that moment Lucy sat straight up tall with the biggest smile spread across her face.

“Hmmmmm…” he said in mock contemplation, “it seems like maybe there is something…” to which Lucy pointed her index finger right at her cute little face and her eyes sparkled more than ever.

“Oh yes! Is it someone’s birthday party that day??”  Dave’s mock surprise made her smile even bigger.

Everyone’s stresses melted away and Grace mentioned that she had never seen anything quite so cute in her whole life, and that was it:

That was my “eye” moment because everything stopped and the smiles were in slow-motion.  Who cares about the oily stains or the busy-work or the Sunday shoes still un-found.  We have a family.

And it’s a good one.

Embracing the mess

Sure, we have all kinds of imperfections.  We fight, we get grumpy, we have a growing problem with kids speaking unkindly to each other that we’re working on, and we are late to 1:00 church almost every Sunday.

But we have each other.  And we adore each other.  And isn’t that all that really matters in the long-run?

The conversation ensued discussing the details of Lucy’s party and Grace and Claire had some debate about who was going to be in charge of what, and then the traditional scramble started: children scrambling to find shoes, me rounding up my last-minute visual aides, Dave in the car honking, no brushes to be found.

But something was different.

There was love in the air.

And I guess the key is finding ways to help that love linger more thickly there or even just noticing it more because it is there.  Sometimes it’s just hidden behind a scowl or whine or two.

And that love is what gives me my “eye” moments.

I sure love those things.

The moral of the story

I guess the moral of the story is that even amidst the mess and chaos in a family, there are moments of gold: those moments when you recognize you are in the eye of the storm. That’s the power of embracing the mess.

And those moments are the ones to recognize and cling onto. Because they have the power to stretch out and create a glistening whole.

Beauty for ashes.

Other ideas for embracing the mess:

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing. I had a rough day as a mother and this helped me see the precious moments, the moments where love was abiding, and push out the moments of anger and frustration.

  2. I would also love to know what you are doing to squelch the 'mean mouthing' as it is called in our home.It is such a difficult task for me to take on…don't know where to start…we try to model polite, kind speaking and be patient when it doesn't go well, but sometimes we lose our tempers and the nasty voices come out!

  3. Shawni, you have such a beautiful way with words. I love that you discovered that the love IS there, just a little hidden behind the whining & teasing. I sure need to remember this when I get discouraged during the times my girls don't treat each other the way I always envisioned. Thank you for the perspective!

  4. We are, no joke, always late to church. It's at 1 o clock too and gosh dang it, no matter how early I start getting ready…we are always late or JUSTBARELY on time. I am convinced it's my husbands fault 😉

  5. Thank you for this! After a rough week of new to me parenting challenges this is exactly what I needed as a reminder to Be Still, don't worry about the small stuff and find the rainbows. Thank you.

  6. I so sympathize on the speaking unkindly thing. We have 2 13 year old girls (triplets) who are pros at it now. We spent an hour of our homeschool day (while their triplet brother did his own thing, grateful for being a boy) trying to be able to see the other's point of view and see our own actions as also incorrect. It was exhausting!

  7. You may have already tried this for the oily stains, but dish soap (like dawn) has taken lots of oily stains out of my kids' clothes – even after going through the washer and dryer a few times. I put it right on the stains add a little water and scrub – then toss it in the washer in at least warm water.

  8. Thanks for sharing your "eye" moments. This last FHE was on contention and not noticing the beam in someone else's eye with our kids ages, 14 down to 5. It's gone better. We're late almost every week and I can not wait for a later church time in January as Primary president and mom.

    Btw, maybe you've tried it, but I use Shout advanced stains for all our oil stains and it gets it out every time.

    Love your Lucy and the post about her. She reminds me of my youngest who deals with Type 1 diabetes. (We have the same- oldest a boy and 4 girls, trailing.) It is so important when we can see the perspective that our Father in Heaven would see.

  9. There are very rare occasions that anyone should be late to church or appointments. Your time is not more important than someone else’s. It’s selfish and quite entitled. People who are speaking deserve respect.

    1. Except they can’t decide to go to 8am or 1pm church. It’s decided for them and the time every now and then, rotated. I agree that IS not considering a persons time deciding for them when to go. A nightmare for people who need routine. Course then they closed church and school for a year. So now I could care less about their schedule.

    2. WOW! Could you possibly be any ruder? You sound like a bitter old hag. You should be ashamed of your own rudeness instead of coming to someones page and trashing them like that! How pathetic you are!

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