This morning has been anything but lovely. Lucy projectile vomited all over herself, me, the sofa, our fluffy rug, the living room carpet, kitchen floor, cabinets & even the dishwasher... It took her so much by surprise (she was lying down at the time, pretty shattered from being sick 2x in the night) that it went in her eyes and all through her hair! She was so upset about her face and all the mess, that I had to ensure her it was fine and I'd clean it all up after I'd got her changed. We got her new pjs on and settled her onto the other sofa with her Koala and a snuggly blanket and as I scrubbed the floor on my hands and knees in puke stained pjs, I saw her eyelids getting heavier as she watched me clean. I wonder what thoughts, if any, were going through her head?
As for me, once she drifted off I just had to sit for a minute, take it all in, breathe and decide where to start after scraping up one particularly large lot! It was like a flashback to the very first time that I realised how all consuming parenting is and the extent of my responsibilities as a mother...
Arabella was about 8 months at the time. Simon was out at work, she'd had the biggest case of diarrhoea in her nappy and as I was trying to clean her up and change her on the changing mat on the floor, she whipped over and proceeded to scamper off giggling, as if leaving her slightly frazzled mother sitting in the middle of the floor whilst smearing poo all across the carpet was the most hilarious thing in the world. Granted we have joked about it since, but at the time I was severely unamused!! I rang Simon in distress - what I thought he could possibly do at the time I have no idea - and he was less sympathetic than I'd hoped, clearly only seeing the funny side that was so evident to his mischievous little offspring! "What do I do??" I said... "Well, you'll just have to clean it up!" he said with a not so subtle hint of amusement in his voice. It was at that moment I suddenly realised it was just me, no knight in shining armour riding in, no fairy godmother to wave her wand, and I would indeed just have to deal with it. It's never described in any Mummy manuals or fairy tales that this is occasionally what it will come to, but it was an eye opening lesson indeed! Perhaps I should share it with both of my sisters, one who's just had her first baby and the other who is about to pop out her first, but that just seems mean really and until you've experienced it firsthand, I guess you'd never fully understand...
So anyway here I was, years later, back on my hands & knees scrubbing the carpets & cleaning the furniture, trying not to gag on the smell and trying not to cry - less about the mess and more about my poor little poppet who by now was asleep, completely exhausted, on the other sofa. And as anyone who's been in a similar situation knows, sick is like broken glass - it gets everywhere! Just when you think you've got it all, you spot some more much further away than you'd think it would travel.... And if you don't manage to spot it, you'll definitely smell it later!
Now I'm sitting for a few minutes contemplating what if anything to learn from this experience. I've got a bucket full of clothes soaking as the washing machine is already full of last nights sheets & teddies (ripped out of sleep at 1am to be covered in sick is a whole other parenting torture that newbies must discover in their own time!), wet carpets, a sleeping daughter on the sofa, hair that definitely needs washing and a sense that I'm sure I've missed a spot somewhere. Perhaps I should just breathe and be grateful for this miracle of life... We may not be a lovely sight today, but we have each other and I suppose at the end of the day that's the most important thing. Or perhaps I just remind myself that sometimes things get thrown at us in an attempt to unhinge us, but if we deal with them straight away, quietly, confidently and gracefully (well as graceful as possible with sick in your hair!), we can return to our path and get on with life. My pursuit continues...
Note to self though: if you have an ill child, always, always, ALWAYS keep a bowl or bucket to hand! (And have plenty of towels, sheets, kitchen roll and wipes available.)
Have you had a similarly eye opening motherhood moment? What has been your lowest parenting point and what wisdom, if any, could you share with the rest of us?
Love Holly x
PS: The lesson I actually learned from this is that you can't always control your situation and what life throws at you, but you can control how you react, what you choose to do about it and how you let yourself feel about it. In other words, When life seems out of control, do something you can control! After I'd finally finished the clean up I made the beds, hung out the laundry, cleaned the bathroom, got myself washed & dressed, put on some mascara, had a cup of tea, typed up this post then looked around and realised that everything seemed to have settled. It all came out in the wash and I knew tomorrow would be a whole new day. Once Lucy woke up she felt a bit better so we crafted a card for Daddy and then while she lay looking at books, I managed to bake some cookies to fill our tiny home with a sense of comfort (and help disguise the smell!) By completing small tasks, as menial and mundane as some of them may seem, I felt more in control and that small sense of accomplishment became the defining factor of my day instead of the sick-bomb that ruled most of the morning.