I’m such a mess.
I’m keeping 4 children alive, two of them belong to another mother, and also to me for the time being. I’m writing down appointments for our children in foster care to attend trauma therapy, the pulmonologist, physical therapy, the occupational therapist, and I’m out of compliance for their dentist appointments.
My biological children haven’t been to the dentist in over a year. Because mess. My oldest has had 4, or maybe 5 x-rays in the last month. I lost count. I can’t remember. Too many appointments. Too much need.
We have groceries, but I’m not sure if it’s food that could make a meal. We have broccoli, mustard, and rolls that I’m pretty sure are past their expiration date.
Cereal is a meal. Breakfast for dinner. It’s a thing. Pin it.
“Let’s get together.” I say with sincerity, and intention, and exhaustion. It’s not the physical tired that requires a nap but tired of a runner on a treadmill that’s going too fast. It’s funny as a meme. It’s less funny as me.
I miss my friends. I love them and follow them on Facebook, comment on their pictures. We hang out on Messenger because that’s where moms hang out. I haven’t seen them in…. I don’t remember the last time I saw them.
I’m too busy, I’m too behind, I’m too much of a mess.
Wait, you’re a mess?
You’re tired, and write notes on napkins, and forget to call people back? You forget birthdays, and eat Oreos in the pantry so you don’t have to share?
I didn’t know. I thought…
I thought it was just me.
It’s a club. It’s like a club for moms in slippers and mismatched pajamas.
Can we be real? Can we expose the mess and celebrate the magic? Can we commit to showing up with what we have left from carpool, and crying kids, and chaos? Can we have dinner on a mixture of big and little plates, because that’s what’s clean? Can we celebrate sanitary as a standard of cleanliness, and help one another fold the laundry on the sofa?
Let’s take off the mask and reevaluate the mess. Let’s find rest in the honesty of one another, locking arms in solidarity and reclaim our sanity.
Let’s redefine our mess, as motherhood.
It’s imperfect, and rich, and shared behind closed doors when what we need is open arms.
Every time you expose your true and authentic self, I have permission to do the same. When I come to your house with crumbs on the counter, my dog hair is normalized. When you share your struggle, your schedule, your need for less and laughter, and how big you love, I know I’m not alone.
Hold out your arms. Put down the weight of shoulds, and expectations. Pick up the phone, your keys, and your slippers. Show up imperfect with doughnuts even if they aren’t hot and ready. (But especially if they’re hot and ready.)
If we’re going to normalize imperfection, we have to show up messy. We have to show up with our burdens, the insanity of our schedule, and our cavity ridden children by birth or by choice. We’re doing the best we can.
And, imagine how much better it would be if we were doing it together. The mess and the magic. The authentic and vulnerable. The safe and sacred place we only get to by celebrating at the end of the day that we made it. We kept our children alive, and somehow, got this odd stain on our pants. Or…was it there when I put them on?
I may be a mess, but we’re in it together.