How to Mindfully Manage a Pile of Parenting Poop

As I applied the last stroke of mascara on Easter morning, I felt proud and pleased. I was dressed, the house was clean and ready for the guests after church, the boys were waiting in their matching outfits, and the only task left to do was stick Eve in her dress. For the first time in a long time, we would not have to apologetically skulk down the side aisle of church 20 minutes late into a 45-minute mass. I extrapolated and thought “Mark and I finally figured this out”, “The kids are a little older and this can be the new norm”, and other such overgeneralizations that made me happy. I strode out into the hallway to find Eve and IT happened - my freshly washed foot, barely protected by new, thin stockings fell squat into a pile of warm poop. Squishy, human poop. (Insert dry heave here). Like an injured hound following a scent, I briskly limped to the bathroom where I found Eve, proudly working hard to finish the task she started. And, just like that, the new calm evaporated and we would be late per usual.

What a perfect representation of parenthood – no matter how organized and on top of things you are, sometimes it all goes to poop – and it’s okay. Yes, I had to shower Eve (and my foot), clean up the hallway, and find new stockings, making us more rushed than I would have liked, but I worked really hard to notice the negative thoughts I was having (“We can’t be late”, “Why are we always late”, “Why am I always the one organizing our family”) and let them go. They are just thoughts, no more, no less. Radical acceptance of the fact I stepped in a pile of caca - there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I had a choice – 1) be angry and frantic, or 2) laugh about it, put a little hustle in our step, and realize nobody but me cares that we would be 10 minutes late. Option One would inevitably trickle downstream, eliciting tears and frustration from the kids and adults alike, so I picked Two. And, it worked well enough – which is all we can ask for when managing a small army of people. We tiptoed in to St. Elizabeth’s, nobody looked twice, and we were back on stride. Letting go of the stress and tension that can often accompany holidays, especially when I host, made the day much more enjoyable and created a warm memory for us all (one associated with positive feelings of family and sweets). Thought replacement is often easier said than done but try to:  1) pick a new thought that is accurate, realistic, and creates a calmer feeling (“I did the best I could and it is okay if we are a little late”), 2) keep it simple, and 3) repeat it (even if you don’t completely buy it), while you breathe slowly.  The day was wonderful, not perfect, but really nice. Despite my mushy toes, I called it a win.

Super, Easy Red Pepper Jelly & Cream Cheese Appetizer

1 brick of cream cheese

½-1 jar of red pepper jelly (Stonewall Kitchen has one and it’s available at The Fruit Center, or Trader Joe’s Hot and Sweet Chili Jam is nice)

Crackers – I prefer the little toast crackers for this recipe. They look like mini slices of bread.

Literally, 1) open the cream cheese, 2) place it on a pretty little plate, 3) dump ½-1 jar of the jam on top, and 4) serve with the little toasts around it. Such a fast and simple appetizer addition to any holiday!

*This article is part of my column, Raising & Roasting, in The Milton Times.