Dear God, my toddler picked the baby up again. I heard her whisper in her little ear, “I got you boom-ba, I know, I know . . . it’s OK baby, I got you.” A 3-year-old trying to be a force of calm, a beautiful oxymoron.

I just saw a delicate baby head smashing into the ground. I envisioned her toddler attention span shifting to something else and her arms would follow, leaving my newborn in the dust. I couldn’t see the beauty in the moment, a sibling relationship strengthening before my eyes, I couldn’t even recognize that maybe I was doing something right . . . her repeating phrases I murmur in that baby’s ear all day long. My nurturing being mirrored back to me, all this work paying off.

God, help me see my husband.

The way he carries the baby sometimes makes her spit up. And when the milk dribbles down her shirt I just see the wasted minutes I spent with her attached to my chest. And then the work of wrestling little arms into yet another outfit.

I couldn’t see my husband holding a baby who would have otherwise been left in a bouncer, or him extending love to the child we created. I yelled at my husband, God, for carrying our baby incorrectly. I expect divorce documents any day now. I think I deserve them.

Hey God, my toddler made a mess again. She peed on the floor trying to make it to the potty in time, she splashed milk all over the counter while stirring her oatmeal, and she ran into the sleeping baby’s room screaming to wake them up. And I saw red, rage washed over me.

I am 100% a monster, blinded by my desire for calm, clean, and control. I missed her trying to be a helper, working to lighten her mama’s load. I stifled her budding independence . . . you know, a vital characteristic she needs to be a successful human. Yes, I admonished her for that. I’m worried I damaged her, God; can you heal in her what I hurt today?

And Lord, I know you know what’s coming . . . this baby. She’s hungry every two hours. She wakes up in the night. I want to set her down, my house is a mess, and if I’m being really honest—and it hurts to say this—I want to check my social media platforms. God, I’m gross. I’d rather spend time staring at my phone than looking into my baby’s eyes. God, help me see my children as a source of connection and fulfillment, not as a roadblock in the way of it.

Help me see today. I’m living for the night, the few hours of peace I have to myself. I’m wishing their youth away, begging for a fast forward option. I don’t want to play on the floor God, right now I’d foolishly trade in make-believe for adolescence. Forgetting that with grown up kids comes grown up problems.

God, this mess. I can’t read another article about embracing it. Do you know what this clutter does to my anxiety? I don’t want to look at another pretentious blog about minimalism. It doesn’t matter what I purge, my children are fueled by chaos and nothing can thwart them. It’s their life source; untidiness is their religion.

Lord, slow my brain. Stop the downward spiral in its tracks, because my children don’t need fixing—I do. Help me understand what all the empty nesters have learned the hard way: cleanliness is accompanied by loneliness.

God, help me see you. I didn’t need you before, not before motherhood; drug addled parents, college, boyfriends, breakups, death and even the times in marriage when I wanted a divorce. I never needed you like I need you now.

I’m making this up as I go along. God, I hope you see me.

Originally published on the author’s blog

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Scarlett Longstreet

Scarlett Longstreet is a stay-at-home mom, retired bartender, and wife. She lives in a suburb of Detroit with her husband and girl gang; toddler plus infant twins. You can follow her on Instagram

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