Originally I was going to title this post “Staying Focused Even On The Days When You Feel Like You Should Have Your Own TV Show Called CHAOS CENTRAL“. But I just decided not to (it was a tad bit long). Would that be a good title for your life right now? “CHAOS CENTRAL“.
Well, for this particular day in my life, CHAOS CENTRAL would have been the perfect title. By the time I got home after a morning out with my 4 girls, I thought, this would have been a pretty entertaining episode on my own TV show, not that I want my own TV show, I’m just saying.
On this particular summer day we only had one thing scheduled to do that morning and it was to take my 5 year old daughter to sports camp. Since she was of kindergarten age, she was the only one out of my four girls who was allowed to go. The camp lasted two hours and was located about 25 minutes away from my house. I typically wouldn’t drive back and forth to go home for that short period of time so I planned on being out for the two hours while we waited to pick up my daughter at the church where it was being held.
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Oh, those two hours! Soooo much happened in that short span of time. Let me tell you a little story about these epic two hours in my life as a mommy. And later at the end of this post I will give you my final take away, or as I like to call it Jena’s TIP, from the day.
The “getting ready” part of my morning actually went rather smoothly!! BONUS! We were on time as we headed out the door. I packed up the car with everything a mom possibly needs to have when going out for the day with kids…Well actually it’s not a car but a van! I’m still getting used to saying VAN since it’s rather new for us. We just bought it right before our newest baby entered our family.
(Side note, comment below if you have questions or need advice on buying a van vs. a SUV. We have done a lot of research and we went with a Toyota Sienna).
Anyways, I packed up the van. We got our water bottles, the double stroller, snacks, diaper bag, keys, wallet, phone and most importantly, the 4 kids! We were set and ready to go.
As I unloaded the car outside of sports camp, we all walked in together holding hands (or at least we tried). My 22 month old was not taking part of the hand holding thing today. She plopped down, right in the middle of the parking lot and stood her ground. Here I am carrying the baby carrier and trying to make sure my 3 and 5 year old aren’t running the streets and my 22 month old won’t come with us. It was just the beginning of our adventure.
Well, we eventually made our way in, it was a bit of a blur. Then my 3 year old says to me “Mommy, we forgot my undies”. She was right. We were going to grab a new pair of undies for her right before we left the house since she had dribbled a bit that morning, but we forgot. She was going commando in her little running shorts. Oh well.
The moment we got settled into the building, my 3 year old had another announcement for me. “Mommy, Natalya pooped her pants”. And was she right!!! I looked down into the baby carrier to check my 4 month old and dreaded finding out the damage. And boy, did she make some damage in her car seat. It was a puddle of poop spilling out from her diaper onto the seat. A PUDDLE.
It was so much that I didn’t even know where to start. Looking back, I probably just should have gone right into the bathroom of the church to clean her up, but I honestly didn’t think I had enough baby wipes and supplies with me in my little bag I was carrying at the time (My diaper bag was left in the van. I didn’t have my diaper bag on me since I was just dropping off my 5 year old at sports camp, which normally takes literally one minute).
So I decided to get everyone back in the car, even with the poop still sitting in the car seat, and drive 2 minutes to my next destination. I would clean up her diaper and car seat there since I had all my diaper bag supplies in the car. We were going to go for a nice, long walk on a walking trail. I was looking forward to a peaceful time of exercise while my kids hung out for the ride in the stroller.
First things first, clean up the baby poop and my baby. I changed her on one of those disposable diaper pads on the front car seat. Well it worked for the most part, but the poop was just so much, it did get on a few places it shouldn’t have been. All said and done, it was cleaned up.
I then put my Bjorne on and strapped the baby into it. Next, I got the double stroller set up for the other two.
Wasn’t as easy as I thought. I really hadn’t gone for any walks with the three of them alone before so this was the first time I had to assemble the double stroller while wearing my 4 month old in the Bjorne. I struggled. I barely could pick it up and click it into it’s upright self. One man asked if he could help me because he obviously could tell I was struggling. At that moment, I finally got it together.
So, I was finally making progress and getting closer to starting this walk of mine. I got my 22 month old and 3 year old out of the car and strapped them into the stroller! Success, we were on our way.
We were off, enjoying the beautiful view and saying hi to every dog that passed us along the way. Ten minutes into the ride, I experienced some complaints. Ten minutes. I had an hour and a half of time to kill and already after 10 minutes, there was boredom. I was not going to let that ruin my walk. I kept on going and 50 minutes later, I was still walking. I found ways to keep the girls entertained and tried looking for positive ways to talk to them about our relaxing walk.
Several times throughout the walk, my 3 year old had asked to get out of the stroller and walk with me. I knew, if I let her, she would fatigue out quickly and ask to get right back in. Also, I knew if she got out, my little 22 month old would cry to get out, too. I knew that would be the end of it. So I told my 3 year old she could get out to walk once we got to the beginning of the parking lot.
We made it. We arrived at the beginning of the parking lot. I let my 3 year old out and then, instantly, complaints of her shoe not feeling good. She plopped on the ground, took her shoes off and wouldn’t budge. Several bikers flying past us as she scrambles to figure out what’s wrong with her shoe. I told her over and over “We have to go” “Our car is right down there”. But she would not budge. I thought “only if I walked a bit further I could just get into the car”. We were literally about 50 feet away from our car but it felt sooo far away still. I didn’t know if we would ever make it. She finally decided to just get her shoes and sit in the stroller the rest of the way with nothing on her feet.
Buckle up, 1, 2, 3. I got all the kids in the car and we were ready to go. The last kid I put in the car was the baby, who sits behind the driver’s seat. From there, I rushed to turn the AC on since it was so hot. I was ready to go, put on my seat belt and started the car in reverse, and then…..I can’t believe this happened, out of the corner of my rear view mirror’s eye was my double stroller, sitting outside all alone about to be left behind. AHHH I can’t believe I was about to forgot my double stroller. And, on top of that, why didn’t my car (there I go again, I mean Van), beep when an object was about to get smashed. Thankfully, I saw it and got out to put it away.
It was about time to pick up my 5 year old now, but we had about 20 minutes to spare. We hung out at the church’s playground, had a snack and let the girls play while we waited. Everything was back to normal, girls happy, running around and enjoying the nice weather and then all of a sudden I looked at my 3 year old and saw…..her shorts pulled down to her ankles!! AH!! She was squatting behind a wall of the playground peeing.
What was she thinking? I asked her, “What are you doing?” She said, “Nothing”. It continued back a forth for a while and finally I was able to get her to admit she peed in the grass!
But this wasn’t just any ordinary grass. IT WAS ASTROTURF. My little girl, poor thing, thought she was peeing in real grass (like her daddy had taught her to do outside our backyard when we roast marshmallows by the fire pit as if we were really camping).
(Check out the astroturf in this picture!)
Well, this wasn’t quite the same environment. She peed, out in the open, at a church’s playground on their astroturf. And to top it all off, she ended up peeing most of it on her shorts. There was a bathroom right inside. She is fully potty trained but just enjoys going in the grass instead. We kept the peed-on-shorts on for the remainder of the time until we picked up my oldest from sports camp. I wasn’t going to carry all my kids back to the parking lot and then back again to change the shorts! Is that wrong?
In the end, we got my 5 year old, made it back to the car, used up the remainder wipes we had left after cleaning up the pile of liquid poop from the baby earlier and wiped my 3 year old all clean.
“We forgot my water bottle,” my 5 year old said. Ah, I wasn’t going to go all the way back into the gym with all the girls to get it. So we left it. “Hope it’s there for you tomorrow,” I said.
Back to my 3 year old, who was standing practically naked in my car. Unfortunately, I did not have a spare pair of pants or undies for her size since the previous week she got soaked at a church water balloon fight at VBS.
So, she had to settle for size 5T pants. She was swimming in these pants. This was the final straw for this little one. She had enough and just started to break down in the car as I was buckling her in. She screamed and screamed and screamed about those oversized pants. Nothing at that point would make her happy. I ignored it. I told her not to scream, especially in front of the baby. I asked her to apologize to me for screaming before I was to drive off.
It took a while before she said she was sorry, about maybe 7 minutes. Once she apologized, I told her I forgave her and I loved her. From that point on, we left all the chaos behind us and started a brand new part to the day
We were heading home, everyone was safe and buckled in the car, relaxed and listening to music. Eventually my 3 year old fell asleep in the car. As I was driving home, I started to reflect on the events that happened over the past 2 hours. How did I handle each situation? What will I think about this day 5 years from now? What will my kids remember about this day? Does it even matter that I forgot her underwear? And that I forgot the water bottle? Is it really that big of a deal that the car seat got ruined today? What would have happened if I actually did forget the double stroller in the parking lot? Should I really be ashamed for the way my 22 month old acted in the parking lot when she plopped down and wouldn’t listen to me? Does it really matter that my 3 year old threw a huge fit when trying to have a nice relaxing stroll on the trail?
Jena’s Tip: Instead, I thought…….
I am so glad my daughters were all safe while we were having difficulty in the parking lot. I am so glad no one got hurt or ran off without me knowing that they ran away.
I am so glad that I have clean clothes to put on my daughter while going out for the day. I am thankful for the ability to buy new clothes for my children and having money to do it practically whenever I need to.
I am so glad I have an endless supply of diapers to put on my newborn when she has accidents because some people can’t afford to buy new diapers.
I am thankful for the ability to walk and enjoy the day with my children. I am thankful for the ability for my child to bounce around from the stoller to the walking trail and run on her two little legs because some children can’t walk at all.
Wow, I am blessed to have 4 beautiful, precious girls that I can take along side me every day to experience the world, teach them things and make wonderful memories together. Some people can’t even have children, and I know I am blessed to have 4. Don’t complain about the little things, don’t focus on the chaos, don’t dwell on the bad stuff. Instead, appreciate what you have in life.
I got home that day and thought, yeah, this could have been a really amusing tv show. I could have let the day’s events ruin the rest of the day for myself.
But instead, I kept going, staying positive in each moment and trying my best to be a mom who is there for her kids when they need them and show them unconditional love!
Have you had days like this before where you feel like everything is going wrong? What did you do to overcome them? What positive parenting techniques do you use or what tips do you have for other moms who experience these tough situations with their children? I would love to hear from you so please comment below.
Dr. Jena Bradley, DPT
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.