>If I’m having one of “those days,” you’ll often hear me fling up this prayer to Heaven: “Help me, Jesus!” Borne partly from frustration and partly from the realization that without divine intervention, I might not make it through the day.

Days like last Wednesday. It had rained here for days and Wednesday offered the promise that Spring will, indeed, come. Wednesday gave us a hint, just a sneak peek, at what the next couple of months would have to offer: sunshine, a slight breeze, the perfect day to go play at a park.

In theory, going to the park was a perfect idea. Hannah was out of pre-school on Spring Break, so I knew the park would be more crowded than normal. But we all have a case of cabin fever, and any time the sun shines, she asks if we can go outside to play. You know, because if the sun is shinning, it must be warm enough to play outside. Only, on Wednesday, it was.

Abbie hadn’t had a nap, but that isn’t so uncommon when the schedule is changed a bit. My thought was that she would play and wear herself down, then fall asleep on the way home, allowing me have only one child underfoot while I made dinner.

She enjoyed the baby slide and was having a great time, but kept wanting to run over to the swings. Not knowing that if she got too close, she’d have her clock cleaned, I kept herding her back to the slide. Finally, one of the two baby swings was available. I darted over with her. She loved it. She kept saying, “Whee!” and smiled that perfect little toothy grin.

Then a dad came over holding a baby who looked to be about a year old, maybe. Wanting to be a “good mom,” who teaches by example, in this case, taking turns and sharing, I tried to get Abbie out of the swing so this new duo could have a turn. “Tried” being the key term here. She latched her fingers around the chains so tightly, I had to literally pry her little fingers from them.

Then It happened.

“It” being the Perfect Storm of a toddler being tired, cranky, and not wanting to give up her swing.

This normally happy, adorable little girl threw a fit. She arched her back. She screamed. She collapsed into a heap of a toddler in tears onto the muddy ground, covering her entire back side (even her hair) with mud. I picked her up and she kicked like a mule. I tried standing her up and managed to get myself covered in mud, thanks to her kicking. I tried redirecting her with a sippy of water, then with her bottle, aka her soothie. Nothing doing. She was done. And so was I.

Of course, other mothers (or perhaps Nannies? Both? With this crowd, it was hard to tell the difference) kept shooting me these looks. You know what I’m talking about. As if their child(ren) had never done such a thing. As if I was Loser Mother.

I called out to Hannah and told her we had to go, which brought on the pleading of, “It’s not fair!” You’re telling me! I agreed that it wasn’t fair, and promised to bring her back on the next nice day.

Yes, Abbie fell asleep in the car on the way home. Less than a mile from the park. No, I didn’t get to enjoy cooking with only one child needing my attention. I was exhausted. Cooking was just another chore on Wednesday night. On top of all that, I had to work that evening.

So Thursday dawned with new hope. For the first part of the day, I was happy to put the previous day behind me. Hubby came home during his lunch hour and told me that, no, he hadn’t bathed Abbie the night before like I had asked. He apologized and started running bath water. Around 1 in the afternoon, I gave my now happy toddler a bath and she was enjoying it. So much that rather than risk another “fit,” I decided to let the water out first, then get her out of the tub, thinking that without the water, she might not resist.

Seemed like a good plan, only when I tried to pull her up and out of the tub, she stiffened her body and gave me this look. Then, she went in the tub. Oh, how I wish it were only “number 1,” but no, my baby does it all the way. With toys still in the tub and not understanding why a diaper is not covering her bottom while she does this. I scream in shock, which prompts Hannah to come running in to investigate. I shoo her out, then get the baby out of the tub, slap a diaper on her bum and then set to cleaning up. Hannah, being a typical 5-year-old, keeps trying to check it out, asking a thousand and one questions until I finally say, “Come in here for a second.” I show her what her sister “produced” and explain that I have to clean it out of the tub, then I have to disinfect the tub and the toys. “Oh,” she says, very clear on what has just happened and wanting nothing to do with the clean-up.

“Help me, Jesus!” I exclaim.

So, just when the bathroom has been cleaned and things have started to settle down, I notice that Hannah doesn’t quite look right. I feel her forehead, then get the thermometer. Low-grade fever of 99.9. I don’t panic, but keep an eye on her. Then, about an hour before Hubby should be home, she throws up.

By the end of the night, her temp had reached 101.1 and she’d thrown up twice. I fell asleep in the rocking chair and Hub proved himself “Husband of the Year” by taking over and even popping a lasagna into the oven.

The next day wasn’t quite so adventurous. I took Hannah to our pediatrician’s office where they ruled out strep throat and some sort of flu by way of a nasal swab. We then went downstairs to the lab to get Abbie’s AFP blood work done.

In times like these, Jesus really does help me out. I have no idea why I feel the need to bark out a “prayer” like that, as if I need to yell just a little to get his attention.

I found this wonderful, and for me, timely, blog post:
http://lysaterkeurst.blogspot.com/2009/02/my-letter-to-young-mom.html

It kind of helps to know that I’m not the only one.

Motherhood can be lonely and isolating, especially when you are a “Stay-At-Home Mom.” Little adult interaction. Days spent doing kids stuff will make you wonder why you spent all that money and effort getting your Bachelor of Arts degree, after all. Not to mention that our society doesn’t value motherhood, and in many ways, the at-home mother.

During days (or weeks) like these, I keep thinking of the Bible verses (perhaps it was parable and for the life of me, I cannot remember the exact quotation or where it is. Sarah? Angie? If y’all are reading, I could use some help). But the gist of the story is, even when you have a “bad boss,” work as if you are working for the Lord.

Even though my children aren’t my bosses, I am working for them. I am giving my time to them and am praying that my time with them is good and life-building. Even on crazy days like these.

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