This Friday, when I arrived home from work, I looked around in disbelief at my apartment. It looked like a tornado had come through in a fit of rage. Every toy we own was strewn across the floor, cupboard doors were open, chalk and open markers and other various crafting items were in a heap on the floor of the sun room. The dog was barking, two toddlers ran wild, screaming and laughing (our Friday sitter has a little boy we adore that she brings with her) and two trash bags left by the back door were STILL sitting next to the back door. I sighed. I thanked the babysitter, changed into my pajamas, handed Logan an iPad and sank into my couch. I was too tired to care or to parent or to clean.
This weekend Chris and I have been buzzing around, attempting to restore the sanity to our home. This is our tradition every weekend – the only time we are able to work together as a team to get anything done. So we spend hours moving piles of crap from one room to the next in the never ending effort to create order in our cramped city space. When, after 3 hours of cleaning this AM, I stated that I was heading to a coffee shop to blog, you would’ve thought I had a first date or day at the spa planned – that’s how giddy I was to dodge the mess and just escape into something I actually enjoy. I am not a homemaker – not in the way a lot of moms are. I HATE organizing (although as a student/employee/person I am incredibly organized, which is ironic). I appreciate Pottery Barn order and decor and yet have no idea how to make my own space look like that. I am a warm person, I do bake with my kid, and I like to think he finds our home cozy and inviting, but it is certainly a disaster in my eyes 99% of the time.
Which leads me to my point. If you ever enter my home and think, “my goodness, how clean and tidy!” I BEG of you, do not open my closet doors. I am the queen of shoving shit into dark spaces that I pray no one will ever see. Chris teases me about this because he would rather work neurotically at cleaning and organizing one drawer in the kitchen for 4 hours and get nothing else done whereas I come through like the whirling dervish and just need things out of my sight. Thus, my life has become (as I said before), a never ending effort to move crap from one place to the next in the hopes that I will give off the appearance of a mother who has it all together.
And that process has got me thinking – isn’t that motherhood in a nutshell? A feeble attempt at shoving the unsightly into places and spaces we hope no one will ever discover? At hiding the tears at 3 am when our kid won’t go back to sleep; at hoping no one drops by uninvited because we still aren’t wearing a bra and all we have to offer them is half a box of dry pasta left because there has been no time to grocery shop; at praying and pleading with God that our kid doesn’t throw a body-on-the-floor tantrum in a public space so that others can secretly judge our inability to parent; at pretending like the whole transition to motherhood has been seamless and everything you dreamed it would be and that you are just KILLING it, every day? I guarantee that most of you reading this are nodding or smiling in agreement.
Now one reason I am admitting to all of this and that I even started this blog and website in the first place was to help mothers who feel like everyone else has it together but them – because guess what? Those people are liars. You can LOVE motherhood to your core and love your baby to your core without loving every single struggle or frustration along the way. I try to explain this to my new mom friends if they are ever under the impression that I seem to know what I’m doing – because I don’t. I started where every mother starts – in a delivery room with a baby on my chest, both elated and terrified that I was in charge of the well-being of another person for the rest of my life. And while I am in a stage with my son right now that is certainly more smiles than tears, I have been through each and every one of those rough stages. The cluster-feeding-awake-every-hour-stage, the “all I do is scream” stage, the “I am independent enough to want to do everything on my own but am still a danger to myself because I can’t” stage. I’ve been through the “I’m a terrible mother” stage, and the “all of my friendships and relationships have changed” stage. And my son is only 2. There are plenty more stages to come… I am currently just lucky to be in a stage that I can manage and am enjoying more than anything else.
I’d like to tell you to stop worrying or caring or to get down on the floor to play with your baby and that the dishes can wait… but I get it. I get it that you need to feel some sense of control. That you yearn to get it right. That sometimes you need to give your kid an iPad to play with so that you can breathe for just one second. It’s OK. You’re OK. You’re doing great.
And please… if you ever invite me to your house, please don’t feel like you have to hide one single ugly thing from me. Leave your piles of crap where they are. I will never, ever judge.