Ahhhh…sometimes a rainy day is a wonderful thing. It’s a great excuse to take a “me” day and spend some quality time at home with nothing to do. I picture myself staying in bed, catching up on my dvr’d tv shows and then spending a few hours snuggled under a blanket on the sofa with a warm cup of chai tea and a good book. Screeeeeech! That dream doesn’t last too long because I forgot to factor in 3 children and a dog.
The ideal situation for a rainy day at home with the kids would be a fun day of board games, crafts, an indoor picnic and baking brownies together in the kitchen. You know, the picture perfect family moments as seen in Parenting Magazine. While a rainy day at our house may start out that way, it never lasts long. At some point I have to use the bathroom, answer the phone or some other event will occur that will pull me away for 2 minutes. Without fail, during my brief departure, one child will unintentionally (or intentionally, depending on the child and the day) mess up the other child’s hand-made masterpiece. The victim in the situation, let’s say my 9-year-old, then yells out “Mo-om! He messed up my (fill in the blank)”. The offending child, the 7-year-old, then says “No, I didn’t! It was an accident! He made me do it!”. All the while, the 2-year-old little sister is running around pulling everything off of the table and essentially destroying everyone’s craft only to leave all children crying, yelling and throwing punches when all other possible forms of expression have escaped them.
In the middle of all of the chaos the dog will wander to the back door, scratch to go out and start circling in anticipation. Because the last thing I need right now is an accident on the carpet, I throw open the door, point toward the yard and give the command of every good dog owner and mommy “Go potty.” The dog takes one look outside only to realize it is raining and then looks up at me with a look as if to say “Never mind, I’m not going out there”. She then turns and walks away. Great, now I have to worry about whether the dog is eventually going to suck it up and venture out into the rain or find a corner of the house in which to take care of her business.
I take a step back, look at the chaos around the room and think to myself “What am I doing wrong?”. I think back to those articles and photographs I’ve seen of those aforementioned picture perfect family moments and wonder why I can’t seem to recreate them. I must be doing something wrong. I must be failing as a mom. I just want to go lock myself in my room and hide until my husband gets home.
Then I notice the 9-year-old beginning to help the toddler pick up the torn, broken pieces from the floor and encouraging her to throw them into the trashcan. The 7-year-old sees what is going on and, with a sour puss look still on his face, begins to help by handing pieces to his little sister and clapping when she tosses them in the can. Within minutes they have turned this into a game and are smiling and laughing together again. It is only then that I realize things aren’t as bad as they seem. Everyone has bad moments and then we get ourselves together and move on. I take a look around and realize that we have actually just created our very own picture perfect family moment.
As I relish in the new-found feeling of warmth and pride I have for my offspring I notice that the rain has stopped, at least temporarily. I enjoy the moment another minute longer and then throw open the back door and call to the dog “Go potty!”.
Jennifer Kline is a wife, mother of three, resident of the Hereford Zone and Executive Editor of The Zone Magazine.
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