Mess (noun): a disordered, untidy conditionSee also: Motherhood
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m the world’s okayest Mom, and though it crushes a bit of my ego to label myself as average, I’ll have to come to terms with it and find ways to count my blessings with these two humans that share our DNA. Although the ensuing paragraphs are an honest admission of my struggles, I’ve also never known my heart to be as full as it has been these past seven years. I would like a nap, most days, but I also laugh every 👏🏻 single 👏🏻 day, because of our two.
Confessional moment. Long before I confirmed the impending arrival of our oldest or heralded the newest tiny person, I worried about the kind of mother I’d end up becoming. It would literally keep me up at night. I knew I had a few good role model mama bears in my life, and I’d watched several same-aged friends go through the newborn trenches before me, but I felt a lot of undue pressure to use the newest baby techniques, purchase a heap of unneeded gadgets, and fret over every organic product on the market. I got a lot of advice, but here’s the truth: I would never know motherhood until it happened to me and I had to figure it out as I went along.
Nobody in the history of the world proclaims motherhood to be a squeaky clean, drama-free, restful experience. It’s not as if there’s a perfect-for-my-baby how-to manual included in the hospital bag or baby shower gifts. Ok, that What to Expect In The First Year was out there, but it didn’t speak my lingo, so I chucked it. Most of the time, novice mothers like me search blogs for tidbits that help us de-escalate the toddler-sized World War III’s or get stains out of a dress up outfit that’s been covered in muck, but just has to be worn again. I honestly just feel accomplished if they’re fed, clothed (at least three times a day), and not setting things on fire or putting sharp objects in the light socket.
Nothing prepares your body for the overexhaustion, the world-traveler-sized luggage under your eyes, or the wiry grays that burst forth from your scalp as you welcome your bouncing bundle. These are the sleepless and trying in-between years, the minutes and hours of growth that blur together until the first, or next, birthday or national holiday marks the passing of time.
It seems as though every living space is a constant tornado of laundry and toys ranging from Fisher Price first learner blocks, to teething rings, and Disney Princess dolls or Barbies. It may not strike the outsider looking in as an orderly and zen home, and it does set my OCD off the Richter scale on the daily, but it does speak of a life well lived. Don’t they make those cute farmhouse style signs these days that read: “Excuse the mess. We’re making memories”? Yep, that’s what we are doing.
I’ve enjoyed this season’s newest episodes of “Battleship: Motherhood,” especially the little things, like watching my daughter create unique items out of everyday objects (did you know that a doll looks great in tinfoil couture?), narrate hilarous hijinks of all of her stuffies, and thrill at the sight of fairy villages created along the bike paths. Or the time when my son smiles his happiest when I cheer him on as he tries to scooch his way across the blanket in an effort to crawl, or cuddles me close right before bedtime and breathes a sigh of relief. These are heart-tuggers, y’all.
Thank you to the tribe of women who gave me enough positive examples of motherhood to have a little faith in myself, and those who reminded me that I just needed to love my children and let it go, occasionally. My mother, grandmother, aunts, mothers-and-sisters-in-law, you are inspirational to me. Thank you, also, to the women friends whose mothering spirits allow them to love my children, and who are willing to help me juggle life when it gets difficult. Finally, a very special thanks to my two little ones for their constant giggles, twinkly smiles, and memories made to brighten our days. This Mama loves you endlessly.
My reminder to humanity on this Mother’s Day: total perfection may never be attained, but it’s the messy bits that should be cherished in their perfect imperfection.
~Kindred Spirit~ 5.10.20