Monday, May 23, 2016

Five Working Mom Lessons Learned From Cleaning Up a Mess

My daughter and a friend made at the playground...

When I was ten years old I threw up on the steps. In the morning the throw up was gone. I was old enough to no longer believe in fairies and knew that my mother had cleaned it up. I vowed at that moment that I would never have children because I could not imagine cleaning up anybody's throw up, including my own.

Fast forward to Friday morning when I was cleaning throw up off of a slide at our community playground. Why was I doing that? Is it because I'm a community saint? No.

My kid was the culprit and I was just taking care of my responsibilities. 

Before You Start Dancing, Make Sure You're in The End Zone


Here's what happened. On Thursday, I was on a panel and got a message via text and was on a panel and couldn't engage much. The message said, "N is sick." I asked two critical questions. "Does she have a fever? Did she throw up?"

I confirmed that our daughter didn't have a fever, and learned she was resting comfortably.  So, I continued my presentation on the panel. Not to boast, but I rocked it. I was impressed that I had rallied and done my job and my daughter was well taken care of. Then, on Friday morning, I was humbled.

Friday morning is when I appreciated the full magnitude of what happened on Friday. First Lesson: Sometimes you miss things when you only communicate via text. When our nanny arrived on morning she elaborated on the story.  As she talked it became clear that our daughter had created a mess and it was probably still on the playground...


Our daughter on the slide

If You Celebrated Too Soon, You're Disappointed When You're Cleaning Up a Mess Later


Here's what she told me: 

Our nanny had the kids at the park and  our daughter had thrown up on the slide. Somehow when I got the text, I assumed she had thrown up on her clothes. She didn't say that, but I assumed. Second Lesson: Make no assumptions. 

I also missed the details of the story because by the time I returned home our nanny had left for the day and my husband was there. Surprisingly, not really, he knew very limited details about what happened at the playground. He also focused on "sick now sleeping" and was busy working on what will become our new patio. (He struggles keeping still and fills his days with home improvement projects.)

I got more details about "Throw Up Gate" on Friday morning. The tale involved a lot more details, which is typical with talking as opposed to texting. I learned that my daughter threw up on the slide and had thrown up all down her shirt. She also mentioned, somewhat casually that she felt bad that she didn't have any paper towels with her when they were at the playground and hoped that the rain would clean up the throw up. Third Lesson: Always keep paper towels in the stroller.

Our boy at the playground

Being a Mom Means You Clean Up Messes


Well, it didn't rain on Thursday night so I knew the throw up must have still been there. Also, that "natural cleaning plan" seemed fraught with problems. In my mind, Mr. Clean or Lysol was needed to remove my daughter's germs from that slide. Also, throw up stinks when dried by the sun and Friday was going to be a bright sunny day, an event to be celebrated in Pittsburgh.

So, off I went Friday morning with a spray bottle of Mr. Clean and paper towels. I thought I was ready, but I was not nearly prepared for what was in store… 

It was a lot of throw up! So much, that I lacked enough paper towels. So, I had to go to a restaurant and ask for more. I had no money. So, I couldn't buy anything. I just put myself at their mercy and shared this this wild story about slides, children and throw up. They took pity on me and gave me two large cups of water and some paper towels. I will be eternally grateful. Fourth Lesson: Your neighbors can be the solution to your problems.

When I was done, that slide nearly sparkled. I had some cleaner left and sprayed the other slides and the handles of the money bars. In an odd way, I was proud. I felt even better when we were at the playground on Friday evening and saw all of the kids enjoying the slide. 

Another thought occurred to me. Fifth Lesson: Because you don't really know what has happened on the playground, keep bathing the kids every night.

Have you ever had to clean up a mess as a mom?!
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