Is it wrong to admit that sometimes… just every now and then… once in a blue moon… not often at all, really… I’m just a teeny tiny bit amused when my super-organized, neat-and-tidy friend with two children complains about her messy house, her broken appliances, her general and seemingly never-ending exhaustion? Is it wrong that I say to her, every now and then, “NOW do you understand?”
Now do you understand the fossilized banana peels under my couch?
Now do you understand the ring around the bathtub?
Now do you understand the funny smell?
Not that my friend was ever hateful about these things, just that I think they truly baffled her. She would come over to help me clean (bless her heart) and then suggest “systems” and “schedules” by which to stay on top of things. These would always work really well… for about two hours before my household descended into chaos once again.
But a funny thing has happened, the longer I’ve been a parent and the more children we add to our clan. I find that these things just don’t phase me anymore. The seemingly impossible adjustment in the beginning gives way to acceptance and even pleasure as time goes by. What once overwhelmed now entertains. What once irritated now amuses. And so this is what I say to my friend, so newly on her parenting journey: Welcome to your new normal. Settle in. Hang on for the ride. It gets so much better… no less messy or chaotic, but so much better.
They say a frog can be boiled alive without ever feeling any pain, if the temperature is increased slowly.
It’s a lot like that.