The chaotic life and motherhood go hand in hand. I noticed recently how many times I say “hurry, we’re late” in any given morning. One time hurry mode was traumatizing enough that it still makes me think twice about uttering that phrase.
I was running through Target before school pickup, short on time (as usual), and at the last minute, I remembered we were out of toilet paper (not something you want to be out of in house with kids, right?). So, I grabbed the first large package I saw—I was so proud because it had 48 rolls for a dirt cheap price. (I’m always out for the bargain). I checked out and sprinted to the car knowing I could still make it to carpool without being noticeably late—still feeling especially proud of the deal I had landed.
Upon arriving home, I unpacked kids and groceries and of course, filled the bathrooms with my great find. Within the hour, I visited the bathroom, and much to my surprise the toilet paper felt different than anything I’d ever used before. I determined I’d better dig the wrapping of my super-sized package out of the trash to confirm what I had purchased and there it was, the horrifying words: single ply. (Gross.)
To be honest, in my rushed state of mind at Target earlier that day, I hadn’t paid attention to what I was really buying. Suddenly I became acutely aware that I had not just bought 6 rolls of this stuff, but 48 rolls! I thought we’d be fine, but within the week each one of my kids was asking why we had tissue paper, sand paper, or typing paper as our toilet paper.
And, the rolls just kept reappearing! That’s because one stubborn mom refused to throw it away. (It was a bargain!) I looked at donating it to the teenagers in the neighborhood who wanted to decorate their friend’s houses, giving it to a shelter, or any other method of removal from our home, but didn’t feel at peace about it. This whole time I was hearing my mom’s voice in my head telling us we couldn’t waste toilet paper. But as the weeks went on my kids began to prefer using public restrooms because the toilet paper was higher quality (and frankly, I began looking forward to using the TP at work)!
I’m telling you all of this for one reason and one reason alone—I learned to slow down (and am reminded every time I wipe!). As summer has arrived life in our household slowed down. I have personally set out to enjoy the extra time with my kids and have more fun. (Note to self: fun usually doesn’t involve the words “hurry up” or “we’re late.”)
Hello, Darling, let’s fight the busy life together! Join me this summer in slowing down and embrace having more fun time with your kiddos. Instead of watching them from the sidelines:
- Join them running through the sprinklers
- Make homemade cookies with them (and actually let the little hands help)
- Plan a picnic lunch and sit on the blanket with them.
- Jump on the swing at the park next to them (instead of answering pressured work emails on your iPhone)
- Watch their favorite DVD with them (instead of using the time to complete the “to do” list)
- Get your swimsuit on and play Marco Polo with them.
- Make an art project right alongside of them.
- Take them to the free movie in the park.
- Blow bubbles in the driveway for them.
These are a few of the things I am going to be doing with my kids this summer—join me! Keep the chaos at bay and take it from me--slow down—especially in the toilet paper aisle at Target!
Erin Smalley is the mom to three girls, ages 6, 16, and 19, and one son, age 12. Erin was a labor and delivery nurse and then returned to school to earn a Master’s in Clinical Psychology. Although Erin thought she had sent her last child off to kindergarten, she and her husband, Greg, were blessed with their youngest child through the gift of adoption. She works very part-time at Focus on the Family in the Marriage and Family Division, while attempting to balance life at home with four kids. She has co-authored three books, her favorite being, Grown-Up Girlfriends—Real Friends in the Real World. You can reach Erin at www.smalleymarriage.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.