Mayhem: It’s funny how the meaning of a word can change based on life experience.

Before I became a mom of twins, I didn’t have proper respect for this word.

A wild party may have resulted in mayhem…but it was so much fun getting there.  The couch-burning riots at Michigan State were mayhem; the tear gas proved just how serious they were.  Still, it was easy to detach ourselves from the previous night’s destruction and continue on with college life in a care-free manner.  Student-teaching for a year in an inner-city classroom overcrowded with 35 kids, 10 of which that didn’t speak English, felt like mayhem.  I was thankful to unwind from this clustered confusion during the evenings and weekends.

Then I had twins.  Then they both turned terribly 2.  That’s when I discovered the true meaning of mayhem.

Mayhem is serious shit.  When mayhem strikes, it invokes tears – never laughter.  It’s an ongoing natural disaster that threatens to destroy every last ounce of sanity you possess.

Mayhem is never having a quiet moment to  yourself.  Somebody always needing something.

Tripping over the bucketful of scattered legos that you just cleaned up only minutes before.  Stepping in dog shit because you forgot to let him out while attempting to tame the two beasts that woke up crabby from their naps.

Lip-stick stained carpet.  Sharpie on the wall.  Sharpie on their skin.  Spilled milk.  Spilled food.  Spilled everything.

Plates flying across the room in objection to an unpopular lunch.  Packed suitcases emptied before you can zip them shut.  Bite-marks.  Hair pulled out in clumps.  Drawers emptied.  Shelves cleared.  The total destruction of the interior of your car with just one trip to McDonald’s or one “fun” stop at Dairy Queen.  

Sitting on the bathroom floor praying for a successful day of potty training.  Exhausted – they won’t go to bed.  Exhausted – they won’t stay asleep.  My nerves fried from lack of control.

Fun public adventures ruined by chaos.  Blood curdling tantrums in their carseats – one on the way there, one on the way home – as though they coordinated their attacks.  Every adult conversation ended abruptly just to keep track of them.  Desperate to avoid the melt-down that will cause you to leave embarrassed.  Disgusted because your kids make you feel like a crazy person.

Mayhem is having every good intention ruined.  Stomped on.  Thrown in your face.  Regret that you ever had the good intention in the first place.

Loving your kids because they’re your kids – not because you like them when they act like animals.

Mayhem is raising twin 2-year-olds.