She called for help as I was downstairs completing one of the many tasks on my to do list. I called back, “I’m coming to help. I’ll be right there.”
Frustration was already present for me, just that kind of a morning.
I walked up the stairs, breathing deeply, walked in to help and as she got up the potty tipped, with all of its contents. I flared inside. It was more than I expected, wanted or had the patience for in the moment. Even after mothering five children through elimination communication, diapering and toilet learning, cleaning up pee can still get the best of me at times. Especially when I’m already irritated or rushing around.
Sometimes it’s nothing, just grab a towel, some cleaning spray and we’re on our way.
Other times some old programming jumps in to inform me that cleaning up pee is not fun — but I better not put off any aspect of it off (laundry) or I’ll be sorry. Blah.
This was the second time I was cleaning up pee today. Double blah.
So I handed her some cloths, offered to turn on the shower since the potty contents were now not only on the floor but her fresh clean pants as well. I then told her I needed to stop and breathe, and that I’d be back to help some more shortly, but that she could get started on her own. I growled a little, kind of like a dog or maybe a bear, but not at her, just in frustration — and maybe some sort of release.
And then I slowed down, way down, enough to notice my breath, body and all of the crappy ideas that were coming up for attention. Like these…
I’m tired of cleaning up pee.
Really Amy, after five kids you’re still tired of cleaning up pee?
Well, it’s just me here and there’s all of this to do. Ugh. The laundry, endless laundry.
So, you’re tired?
And maybe it’s the tiredness more than the cleaning up the pee that’s challenging right now?
Well, yes, although if I could take cleaning up pee off of my list it would be okay.
And then I walked upstairs, knocked on the door, looked at my sweet child still standing there waiting for me to help and it dawned on me…
Yes, cleaning up pee is a glorious job. And so are all of the other mundane, unappreciated, dirty, messy, boring or otherwise perceived undesirable tasks that come along with caring for human beings.
Why are these undesirables actually glorious?
Because we are caring for ourselves and others when we perform them. And if mothering, fathering, parenting, care taking isn’t about caring, what is it about? At the base, at least for me, I want my children to feel cared about, cared for, cherished, nurtured, loved. The only way they will feel this is if love comes through my actions in caring about and for them.
As I stood there and looked at my youngest child, the one I have the least history with but hopefully the most time to continue making a positive impact, I saw her innocence and need for my caring. I saw the pee as I have seen it many other times – as a unique and important part of being human and caring for humans. A working excretory system is a blessing and having the ability to help my child learn and clean up is as well.
So, today I invite us all to really look at how glorious the mundane really is and can be, when we choose to appreciate life for the gift that it is.
What can we find glory in, simply because we decide to do so?
Take gentle care,
Are you struggling as a parent? If so, I’d like to share something with you: a story and some hope.