My husband has this little joke whenever the three-foot-and-under crowd in our family gets insanely loud en route somewhere.  He pretends to press an invisible button near the A/C of our car, which magically scrolls up a sound-proof window between us in the front seat and those in the back.  You know, like in a limo.

Total peace after that.

Obviously there’s still cacophony.  The baby is screaming because that burp just won’t get out.  Our second is loudly singing to whatever tune is on repeat in his head (he doesn’t talk, but he sure hums in pealing decibels).  The five-year-old sits in the back, telling us whatever story from the day she wants to recall, yelling over all the hubbub so that we can hear from the front.

It doesn’t always work this way, but most days, Kyle and I look at each other, and we just smile.  Sometimes one of says, “Three?  Really?”  But at the end of the day, if we don’t laugh at the chaos of it all, we’ll go mad.

See, it’s a matter of perspective.

When the bedlam is good-natured and the clamor is simply because our family’s median age is five, then there’s not much to do except smile and remember that the days are long but the years are short.

How’s your perspective? When your day is nuts and the house is a mess, do you feel like a failure?  In taking a quick glance at the living room and recognizing that 95 percent of the mess is because of the kids, do you still somehow feel guilty?

Are you counting your blessings?

I know that life at this stage is insane.  I’ll be the first in line to wish it wasn’t so messy, so sticky, so loud.  I’ve given up hope that by the end of the day, I’ll never have anything smeared on my shirt that I didn’t directly put there — at least for another decade or so.

I’m not saying I never get frustrated or impatient — far from it.  But I’m also learning, day by day, to embrace all the good with the bad that come with this stage, and to smile at all those voices vying for my attention from the back seat.

They’re totally worth it.

What helps you plow through all the chaos and embrace your day?