Skip to main content

Remodeling your Parenting

Have you ever lived in a house that is in a constant state of remodeling? The sounds of cutting wood until 10 o'clock at night, even though you've been trying to get the kids to bed for hours. Having to wear shoes when you get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night because you don't want to step on an errant nail. Drywall dust everywhere.

You sit happy, breathing deeply and decompressing for a few weeks until 'lo and behold, another project begins. More pounding and cutting, more nails and slivers, more dishes in the bathroom linen closet because your kitchen is currently destroyed. More drywall dust.

I'm thinking parenting is like that. A constant state of improvements and fixes and adjustments and learning how to make coffee in the bathroom sink. A constant dusting the drifting through the air until it decides to settle. Then you see it, take a deep breath and do what needs to get done... clean it up.

It's frustrating and annoying and exhausting; just when you get used to something it changes. Just when you think you've figured out how to get the laundry on the main floor you discover a major problem with the plumbing. Just when you think you've got the perfect day care providor you discover the kid who bites is your very own.

Just when the entry foyer is complete there's a problem with the bathroom. Just when you figure out how to play Just Dance they turn into teenagers and are too cool to speak to you.

"I just want to move some place where everything is done! and perfect! and I don't have to walk through these stupid plastic sheets duct-taped to the doorway!"

"I just want my kids to be happy! and healthy! and not freak out every damn time we're at swimming lessons!"

You picture the house complete. Perfectly arranged furniture, designer plates on the dining room table.

You picture your children complete. Married to the most fabulous faceless spouces with the most beautiful grandchildren.

 And you realize that one day the house actually will be complete. And quiet. And still.

And you realize that one day your children will be grown. Leaving you in even more quiet and stillness.

And you realize that time is going way too fast and there is nothing you can do to slow it down.

Meet the powder from last night's Fun Fest.

The toddler removed his pull-up and dusted.
Powder on the bedroom floor.
On the bed.
On the stuffed animals.
Powder in the hallway.
Powder on not one, but three upholstered chairs.
Powder on the CD player.
Powder on the cat.

I swept.
And mopped.


And still there is a fine dusting of baby powder
settling throughout my entire home.

Needless to say,
Mommy has decided Big Boys
don't get powder anymore.


Ah! I love the comparison! As the wife of a remodeler, we are constantly "doing stuff" to the house. As the mom of two, I'm am constantly "Fixing" my parenting.
Sorry about the powder. And I'm more sorry that I laughed when I saw it on facebook, because I know it is one of those things that is only funny in hindsight.
P.S. I know that because it is the way most of my life has been.
"what makes you laugh, makes you cry." But I normally cry first.
Becca said…
Wow. Mine did something similar with mayonaise recently. Great analogy!

Popular posts from this blog

The House that God Built

in·stan·ta·ne·ous /ˌinstənˈtānēəs/ adjective 1. occurring or done in an instant or instantly.
synonyms: immediate, instant, on-the-spot

The thing is, she died so sudden.
I didn't have the chance to plead with God, to make all the irrational promises. If he would just let her be okay.... I would start taking better care of my health. I would be nicer to the neighbor that drove me crazy. I would always let someone else go in front of me at Walmart no matter how long the line was. I wouldn't complain. Ever. I would volunteer at the Homeless Shelter. I would clean up after pigs. I would clip the toenails of the elderly. I would do anything and everything He would ask me to do....
There is a box on her death certificate that captures the amount of time between the initial injury and the time of death. It reads "seconds." I wish it read "instantaneous" because she deserves a clever word like that.
Fast forward five years.... definitely taking MUCH longer than "…

Seeing Avery All Grown Up

One day I'll tell you about the freezing cold we left and the heavy bags we lugged, full of supplies and medicines. I'll tell you about arriving in Port au Prince and walking across a cracked concrete parking lot to board an old school bus with a flat tire. How the heat was suffocating after months of below zero Wisconsin winter weather, how the people crowded and walked too close to moving traffic as we searched for a tire shop that was barely more than a couple men sitting on overturned 5-gallon buckets on the side of the road next to a pile of old tires, everything covered in dirt.

I'll tell you about waiting on the bus while they removed the tire and I'll recall the loud explosion that rocked the bus and scared the life out of me and how I was relieved to learn it was just the tire blowing after being filled too far. (They didn't have any gauges.) And then I'll tell you about the fear I felt when I realized we didn't have a tire and we were stuck on th…

When Your Imagined Life is Nothing Like This One

There were so many ways I imagined my adult life would be....THIS is not one of them.
I posted that on my Facebook wall last night. It might have been seen as funny except my choice of hashtags gave me away:
treading water getting nowhere piles of disappointment not many successes worn out and exhausted out of options

I always imagined my life would be thrilling. Full of exciting adventures and people from all over the world. I would dine at Ethiopian, Thai, and Indian restaurants. I would write books, teach English, coach forensics and direct the play. My husband would be charming and funny and not care about gender roles when it came to household chores. He would beg for at least six kids and I would fall in love with him all over again each time I caught him giving good life advice.
I would take photographs and travel the world documenting the people I came across. I would adopt a sibling group of three or maybe four and work on foster care policies because the ones we have aren't work…