Thank you to my friend who emailed one of her messes to me!
I’ve always been one to enjoy seeing other peoples’ messes. I also like being around other people’s children to realize that “it’s not just mine”, other children do the same things. These are like little gifts. Gifts of relief.
I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who finds courage from seeing the messy life of another. You other mothers out there need to know you’re not the only one too. We quickly begin to believe that. That everyone else has it together while we hang a FAIL badge from our necks.
It’s helpful knowing that some other “seasoned mama” has committed the same “rookie mistakes” or that she zones out while mess bombs have landed all over her house or she can’t keep her kids teeth and hair brushed. That knowledge takes so much pressure off. Pressure I put on myself to actually have it together or to appear to have it together.
I especially feel this pressure with so many babies. I think we can feel bad about being too honest out of fearing that we’ll scare someone away from having children or more children or maybe be so glad they don’t have a lot of babies.
Or if we complain we fear that someone will think us ungrateful or we fear our honesty will give the other mamas out there reason to “judge” us. And I’m sure those fears might be legitimate, but I still prefer the honesty.
And it’s not just the messes of the stuff in our houses. For me the mess that is hardest to be honest about is the mess of us.
Maybe I’m finally growing up a bit or maybe I’ve just surrendered to defeat but I think I’m letting go of some of that worry. There’s something about mothering a large group of Littles that is pretty humbling or just humiliating.
Exhibit A: This morning in church, after realizing just grabbing defiant Gerhardt by the pants and pulling him to me wasn’t gonna do anything but break his buttons, I had to stand up, in great aggravation, during the sermon, in the front of the congregation and yank him twice…HARD, to release his death grip of the pew. While baby wearing Mercy I’ll add. A sight I’m sure and a nod to humiliation.
That’s “Mess.” The kind of mess you really don’t want happening in public but know it’s gonna happen.
I like what these Mamas have to say about mess.
From Blythe: “But one day I watched a veteran mother of many pop up from her shady spot under a tree to chase a wandering toddler away from the street. I watched her run with a newborn at her breast, soft, postpartum belly exposed, underwear bunched up above the waistline of her jeans… yelling, running, towards the 2 year old on the sidewalk. And I loved her for it. I loved her for being a mess in that moment. I loved her for allowing me to see her- breast, belly, running, all of it. Of course, she wasn’t putting on a show for me, she was just being a mother to her wandering little one and to her nursing baby- but she gave me a profound gift. And in that moment, I mentally untied all of the tightly wound expectations I had given to myself. Because I saw a good woman being a little bit messy, just like me. And I realized that meant I was just like her.”
From Cari: “So to every person who ever was brave enough to show me the less-than-glossy side of parenting during my journey towards motherhood- thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, because had you just fed me the highlights of parenting, I would have smiled politely, and let it slide right off of me. It was in the gritty and the imperfect and the difficult aspects of motherhood that you showed me what wonderful and tremendous gifts children were.”
From Ginny: “Ladies, I wish we could all link hands and promise each other: “I will never judge you because you are behind on laundry, or because I tripped over baseball cleats and power tools on my way into your house. Book and toys scattered across the floor, crayon on the wall, I won’t even notice. I’ll feel special that you let me into your real life, trusting that I want to be your friend not a source of anxiety or even worse someone to compare yourself to.”
From Emily: “Embrace the mess. By which I mean, not exactly embracing the MESS, but the children IN the mess…who create the mess, who are a mess…So yes, embrace the mess. And try not to twitch… at least not in front of them.”
But for all the ways we try to hide our messes, I love sitting around with other mamas talking about each of our messes. All laughing as we try to “out mess” each other. Isn’t that how it goes? And that’s fine, it helps to know you’re not the only one with mess and it helps to know that sometimes, yes, someone else’s mess might be messier than yours! Be thankful and be helpful to that Mama.
I hope all my mess helps some of you and I want to thank you for the kindness you return when I gift you with my messes!
Also, thank you for not making me feel I have to make 100 disclaimers when I show off these messes. I love my babies, I love being a Mama to my babies, but reality, I have much more mess than clean in my life. I complain but I’m grateful.
No, never nearly grateful enough and that’s because…truth, I AM THE BIGGEST MESS in this house.