How to Learn to Embrace the Chaos of Parenting

I’m heading toward the frozen foods section when she throws my grocery list and pen to the floor (which she BEGGED to hold only moments ago), and as I bend to pick it up I notice the chuck of banana smeared on the knee of my jeans. A pathetic swipe at it does nothing, and I make a mental note to take the pants off as soon as I get home (ok, as soon as I get the groceries put away and dinner started), and spray them with stain remover. As I grab the paper and pen from the floor and stand back up to continue shopping, I realize that my daughter is only wearing one shoe. At some point between the front door of Wal-Mart and the place where we are standing, there is a pink sneaker that is missing from my child’s left foot. I’m sure she had them both on when we left the house…..I think.

I close my eyes for a brief second, envisioning myself hurrying out the front door of our house an hour earlier. In this picture I see her wearing both shoes, but my subconscious attention goes directly to my son instead, and I suddenly realize that he may or may not have walked out of the house wearing huge plastic clip-on earrings of mine that he had found and asked to play with earlier this morning. I slowly open my eyes and look down at him, sitting next to his twin sister in the nearly-impossible-to-maneuver shopping cart that is built like a mini race car. No earrings. A sigh of relief, and we continue shopping.

Two hours later, we have successfully made it through each section of this store, and found everything on my list. We made three mad dashes to the bathroom- potty training is in full-swing, so I can’t doubt them when they insist they need to go! We stopped for several strangers to comment on my twins’ “great driving” in the mini race car, which they of course loved, and I was resentful of, since I was the one trying to make this huge machine round a corner without taking down some poor unsuspecting shopper. We payed a visit to the fish, because what trip to Wal-Mart would be complete without saying hello to each and every one of them? And yes, we found the pink sneaker, only one aisles back from when I noticed it was missing. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Later that night the kids are asleep, the groceries are put away, dinner is cleaned up, and I am absolutely exhausted. The chaos of the past twelve hours was enough to drive a sane person over the edge. Luckily, I am not a sane person. Instead, I am a mother. Knowing that tomorrow will be more of the same, I have two choices: laugh or cry. I can cry over the stress, exhaustion, frustration, and lack of control that parenting can bring on. Or I can laugh over the looks that my son would have gotten had he been wearing those ridiculous earrings.

The only way to make it through the lifelong process of parenting is to always choose to laugh. Nothing works better to ease the stresses and frustrations of parenting than good, old fashioned laughing.