Last night was one of those tossing and turning nights where the baby cries before you’re sure you actually fell asleep, and although nothing can cheer me up like my girls, I don’t have a lot of patience this morning. And I never have a lot of patience for poop on the carpet.
So when Lucy rolled away from me during her diaper change, with poop smeared up her leg and her diaper hanging off of her, I was not going to have it.
“Lucy!” I howled. “Lucy, no! You’re poopy! Get back here! No no no don’t sit down… Lucyyyyy!”
She did it again when I got her clean diaper on and I picked her up. “Look at me, you are gonna learn to lay still for diaper changes,” I said sternly. Of course she did a backbend and quick roll away as soon as I put her down, and again and again.
“Lucyyyy!” I yelled. “Just. let me. put. your. diaper. on–” spoken through gritted teeth.
She thought it was funny. At first that annoyed me because, you know, I am the mommy and I should be taken seriously! But almost immediately, I was relieved that I hadn’t upset her with my bad attitude. Babies roll away during diaper changes. The carpet is already poopy, what’s one more spot? The biggest deal was that I was yelling about a silly diaper change.
Soon I shushed them both to sleep singing, “Jesus loves me.” As I tried to give extra cuddles to make up for my bad attitude a few minutes before, and reassured myself that every mom gets upset about silly things sometimes, I realized– that doesn’t actually make it better.
What allows me to move on with the day with a fresh perspective and a renewed heart isn’t that we all do that sometimes. I see that assurance often and while it’s sweet in the moment, it just means we’re all mired in the same muck, doesn’t it? And it’s not that after naptime is a new start. I could have the same attitude when we wake up, and then I’m just re-starting over and over like an old engine. And it’s not that my cup of coffee and some quiet is going to refresh me because while I sit here quietly, I just think about how I wish I could always be a perfect mom and never raise my voice.
The only answer is the blood of Jesus. Only He can wipe a bad attitude or a raised voice off my record of wrongs. Only He can take away the shame I feel any time I make a mistake as a mom. Only He can replace my bad attitude with a heart to love and serve my babies, poop or no poop. He takes my efforts and makes them worth something. He takes my best, which all moms know is never quite enough, and miraculously, He makes it enough.
These babies will wake up any minute now and, praise God, that stupid diaper change doesn’t matter anymore. I’m still tired and kinda cranky if I’m being honest, but I am also forgiven, and strengthened for motherhood by the perfect Father.