Simplifying: letting go of ideals (and cloth diapering)

The idea of using cloth diapers was so chic when I was pregnant with our first little one in 2011. I picked out neutral color diapers as to be able to use them with any other babies the Lord might entrust us with. We also received the amazing gift of 15 cloth diapers from Cotton Babies as a part of their cloth diaper grant for  missionaries living overseas. Seriously; what cool people!  All this to say, I was sold on cloth diapers.

We still love cloth diapers- we save a ton of money, usually have clean diapers on hand, feel better about the whole landfill issue and like lowering the number of the chemicals our kids are exposed to. However, we have had six weeks of non-stop illness, car problems, a clogged tub and the like and we just needed to simplify. One of the ways is we have put the cloth diapers aside. It’s hopefully for just a season but it means less laundry and less laundry hanging on the drying rack screaming for us to put away.

A sweet bright spot in all the difficult of the weeks has been our little guy, Jack, is potty training. I figured we weren’t going anywhere for a while, so why not try bringing out the tiny potty. He has done really well. As Dave said, we found the right incentives– a M & M if he goes peepee and a new Hot Wheels car if he goes #2. He’s a bit of a showman in all of it. He has the art of flinging his Lightening McQueen undies off his foot perfected. So, we are almost down to just lil’ Chloe in diapers.

Other ideals that I’ve had to come to grips with are accepting that during this time of my life our meals are going to be good but not extraordinary. Given my mom is a very talented chef, I have inherited her appreciation for the delicious. But most days dinner looks a lot like it did last week and was probably made in the fantastic inventions called a slow cooker and rice maker. But this is ok, in fact it is even good. It means that I’m able to focus more on these little tiny people I love so passionately. It usually means less dishes for my studly husband at the end of dinner (yes, he does the dishes every night… and I cook every night). And, thanks to meal planning, I have less decisions to make. Heidi, let it go.

Standards of cleanliness are also a changing ideal chez Onken. It means there are usually crumbs, um chunks of food, under our table and the kids’ pjs may be worn again even if there is a bit of oatmeal speared across the front. It means splattered mirrors because we have a lot of them and a lot of them at just the right height for little fingers. And yes, sometimes it even means Jack’s leaving the house with a milk moustache if it means we’ll get out the door on time to get Lexie from school.

Lastly, I’d say I’m starting to have to confront my “ideal mom” complex of being able to respond to everyone’s needs at the same time and before my own. Motherhood is a beautiful and refining exercise in self-sacrifice and I’m learning more about it with each little one. But I am also learning I can’t be their savior… I need to model that I need Jesus’ forgiveness and grace and sometimes, I just need to go to the bathroom while their needs are unmet. Let’s face it, if you are hangry (hungry+anger=hangry) or have had to go to the toilette the last hour you probably aren’t going to bring much good to your kids.

I think the Lord knew that “I” could “handle” two kids on my own but that with three He’d get to work on those deeper places in my heart. Here’s to letting go of some of our ideals- to the crumbs, hotdog dinners, disposable diapers, suckers before noon and “mama’s going to eat her breakfast before I help you find meow meow.” May we be so intimate with God’s grace that letting go of such ideals would be a casual affair.

What are ideals you’ve let go of since becoming a mom?

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