By reading this title and the previous title you might think unplanned and chaos are the same things. They are not. Embracing the unplanned is being flexible, chaos is cRaZy train time. When I found out I was pregnant with Harper a woman at church told me her kids were 18 months apart and, “Don’t try to keep one of those baby calendars, you won’t remember anything. Just survive.” At the time that seemed a little over kill but a week into having a 18 month old and a newborn I knew exactly what she was talking about.
Picture this: I’m 8 months pregnant, we’ve just moved to a new city (and state), my husband started a new job, I have to find a new OB doctor at 34 weeks pregnant (not an easy task), and my 18 month old just decided to start walking at 17 months and he has a double ear infection. In one week, I found a new OB doctor, got the keys to a new house, and made an appointment for my son to see a doctor for a double ear infection. The antibiotics they gave him were quickly followed by the worse diaper rash he’d ever had. The diaper rash was worse than the two infected ears!
My mom came up one day so my husband could go to the doctor with me and meet the new OB doctor. At that appointment my blood pressure was high and she gave me two options: bed rest until Harper was born OR induce that day. Induce! I called my mom and told her she was going to have to stay a little longer because we were on our way to have a baby! 10:21 PM that night Miss Harper Lee Plunkett made her arrival. Two weeks early and completely healthy. We left the hospital two days later. If I believed in premonitions the wall cloud that we saw on our way home could have been an indicator of what was to happen in the coming weeks.
Our front door was a revolving door of people dropping off food and meeting us because we were still new to the area. I’ll be honest, I remember some of the people but there are still people who say they remember talking to me and I had no recollection of talking to them?! The months following were a big hazy blur. Eli had the ear infection that wouldn’t quit and Harper threw up everything that went in her mouth. All the sleep techniques that worked with Eli weren’t working with Harper. I was tired and sleep deprived.
Embracing the chaos was not in my mind. Getting sleep was on my mind. THEN figuring out why Harper was throwing up all the time was next on the list. I stopped nursing and began formula for sensitive stomachs and expensive bottles. I also started keeping a cardigan in my purse at all times so when she threw up on me I could simply put on a cardigan and keep moving. The haze continued for months.
I don’t know if embracing the chaos would have helped in those first months because honestly, those first months were such a blur I couldn’t tell you what the chaos looked like.
Fast forward a year and we have a mobile 1-year-old and an active 2-year-old. Nothing was off-limits. All the pretty, breakable decorations were given away, the refrigerator got a lock on it and Cheerios were being bought in bulk. Every time someone got off formula or out of diapers it was like a pay raise!
Now, we have a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old. We do have some breakable things out as decorations again, someone broke the lock on the refrigerator and Cheerios are “for babies.” I’m now saying,
“Please get off the counter. I will get you a cup.”
“Only one kid in the bathroom at a time.”
“Stop climbing the shelves in the pantry. I’ll get you a baggie.”
“If you would put your shoes in your closet when you take them off we wouldn’t have to look for them every morning.”
In the blur of toddler and infant I was crying A LOT and doubting every mothering decision I made. One day it all hit the fan and all I remember doing was grabbing my Bible and going to the bathroom and reading Psalms. I have no idea what chapters I read that day, I just read until I stopped crying. Recently, I came across another verse that I wish I would have had tattooed on my forehead during the hazy months:
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17
Embracing the chaos isn’t about letting your house look like a war zone all the time or letting your kids take advantage of you. It’s about being okay with it and knowing it won’t last forever. My kids are totally crazy and one day I pray they use that spunk and craziness for God’s glory. I just wish someone would have told me that God was taking delight in me with gladness. I don’t know if it would have changed anything. Heck, for all I know, someone did tell me that and I was so sleep deprived I don’t remember it!