Why It’s OK to Not Have It Together as a Mom

Re-posting my favorite blog of 2013!  This one had the biggest response from my readers, so hopefully you’ll enjoy seeing it again, too.

Little crayon scribbled pictures displayed in a nice row on the refrigerator waiting to be filed in each child’s special box of memories, dinner in the crockpot from your homemade freezer meal stash, a sparkling and empty sink next to a happily humming dishwasher, children blowing colored bubble snakes on a freshly mowed lawn after painting the sidewalk with homemade scented paint…rainbows, butterflies, unicorns…you know…all of those realities that we moms enjoy every day?
Seriously…I think this is the way I pictured motherhood in my head in my delusional and judgmental pre-kid days…and probably why I have had many rough days adjusting to the lack of picture-perfect-ness that comes with the territory in raising children (especially my precious twin toddlers).
There is grape jelly on my couch from one of the dozens of PBJs I’ve made in the last few days.  It doesn’t really look like jelly, though…more like mud or some leftover science experiment dragged in from the backyard.  (It blends in nicely with the pen scribbles from last night…note to self: check pinterest for tips on cleaning ink out of microfiber).  I meant to clean it off today, but when I went to get a cleaning rag, the dishes and a major stench in my sink caught my attention, and I never made it back to clean the couch.  There are red crayon marks I found today on my kitchen floor after cleaning off the brown crayon on the wall and the orange crayon on the oven.  (These artistic expressions happened while I was vacuuming down the hallway for 20 seconds…it is counter-productive to clean with toddlers on the loose!). The load of laundry I started earlier today is still sitting in the washer because the dryer is still full of one of a million loads I’ve done this month but haven’t managed to put away. One of my daughters has a big bump on her head after yelling “one, two, free, dump!” (translation: one, two, three, jump!) and jumping off our bed that is way too high for a toddler to be on unsupervised while I was distracted by re-hanging the artwork her sister had pulled off the wall just seconds earlier.  I have a gym membership I am hard pressed to use, and it’s a fabulous day if I get to shower, much less wear makeup or blow dry my hair.  I really dislike crafting and cleaning, and even though I enjoy cooking, the mess and clean up are rarely worth the energy anymore!
Yep–rainbows, butterflies and unicorns!  Adjusting my expectations of motherhood to match the reality of motherhood has taken me almost every day of the 19 months I’ve had with my twin girls, and I’m still finding myself with an occasional day of dark despair over how crummy I must be at this whole parenting thing since I don’t measure up to the other amazing moms I know. Because other moms have it all together, right?
When is the last time I had a good laugh (or cry!) with a friend about the hard parts of motherhood?  Why is it that allowing a crack to show in the facade of “having it all together” is frowned upon and discouraged?
Many fabulous mothers, myself and my friends included, are feeling like we don’t measure up because we tend to leave out the imperfections, the struggles, the shortcomings and the challenges when we share our lives with each other.  Avenues like Facebook and Pinterest make it so easy to show only the warm fuzzies and the successes that we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and are left feeling like failures.
Let’s be honest for the sake of our sanity–motherhood is incredibly challenging, and that’s ok!  It’s a huge part of the territory!  It tests us, tries us, breaks us down and leaves us wondering what in the heck we’re doing some days.  It leaves our houses in a constant state of chaos, our laundry baskets overflowing and our hair a little less fabulous than the pre-kid days.  But all of those things shouldn’t be seen as failures but rather part of the process of doing the best we can do to raise little people to be successful, independent and intelligent.  Let’s help each other to embrace the challenges, share the failures and cut one another and ourselves some slack.
Despite the marked-up walls and the forgotten PBJs drying out between the carseats, being a mom is the best job in the world and such an important role in the lives of our children.  We need to surround ourselves with friends who encourage us and will also be there to help us adjust and readjust our expectations to fit reality. We need to laugh together over the mess, have play dates with dishes in the sink, meet for coffee without wearing makeup and not be afraid to be have a heart to heart in last night’s peanut-butter smeared yoga pants.  True friendship is about encouraging one another where you are in life and not holding yourself or your friends to unrealistically high expectations of rainbows and butterflies.  Sometimes on those never-ending days of whining and exhaustion and “I think I just want to sit in the car for some peace and quiet,” we need to know that other moms have terrible days, too, and that it doesn’t have anything to do with our success or failure as a mother.
Help a friend out this week and share your honest tales from the trenches of motherhood.  Host a playdate without homemade veggie muffins–get out an opened box of vanilla wafers, put in a pot of coffee and open up your home and your heart to your friends.  Let’s be real with one another and embrace the challenges and chaos as a team!  Here’s to NOT having it all together!

The link to the original post on the Greeley Tribune website:  http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/8275846-113/motherhood-clean-friends-moms

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4 thoughts on “Why It’s OK to Not Have It Together as a Mom

  1. Here here. I know I’m guilty sometimes of feeling like I have to clean the house and have perfect snacks available if anyone is coming over. And really it just puts me in a bad mood and makes me stressed, and no one cares anyway. Friends who would care about that aren’t really friends anyway. This is a great post–I love your frank, honest (and funny!) writing.

  2. […] does it all with twins, a toddler, and two dogs in Toronto. I learned about Elf on the Shelf from an honest and funny mom in Colorado, vicariously cleaned out my house with a photographer of pure, perfectly-titled photographs […]

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