Enough is enough
Updated: Nov 27, 2018
Last night, a friend shared another mom bloggers post about how she was just so tired of the daily mess of motherhood. The toys everywhere, the dishes, the laundry. The daily mom struggle and the endless cycle of cleaning up the same mess multiple times a day only to wake up to the same mess all over again. The post was shared over 11,000 times on Facebook and had over 1,000 comments on the original post. What struck me (and left me so furious I decided to write about it) were the comments like these:
"Make the kids clean it up."
"Here's the trick: turn cleaning up into a game."
"You have too many toys."
"Enjoy the mess, soon they'll be all grown up."
"Your kids won't remember how clean their house was."
"Quit acting like victims, make the kids clean and keep toys in their rooms."
"I would rather enjoy my kids than clean up."
"Homes are meant to be lived in."
"Get down on the floor and play with your kids, cleaning can happen later."
"You're gonna miss this."
.....I could go on. Now, there were also A LOT of positive comments. Moms commiserating and being supportive and encouraging. But these negative ones really got me. Especially the ones that weren't meant to be negative at all - they were meant to act as a reminder that "these are the days" and someday we'll look back and miss the chaos.
Well guess what? We KNOW these are the days. We're living it. Can we please just STOP telling moms to sit back and enjoy their kids? Can we stop reminding moms that kids grow up too fast? Within their first week of life we understand the concept of "it goes too quick." And to all the moms with older kids: can you please just try to go back and remember how incredibly hard this time with tiny ones is?
I get down on the floor and play with my kids every single day. That's how the mess happens! I am a stay at home mom. Because I stay home, the mess is even bigger. We're in the house ALL DAY. That's an entire days worth of dishes. It's a days worth of playing. It's coloring and play-doh and diaper changes and snack time and tub time and laundry and washing dishes and making breakfast lunch and dinner and reading books and playing outside and coats and shoes and hats and mittens and art projects and and and and and....
"You'll never get this time back, savor it." Well guess what? I'll also never get back those 27 minutes watching Octonauts and learning about a place called the midnight zone from a bunny, a dog, a kitten, a penguin, a sea otter, a bear and an octopus who solve undersea dilemmas. But I watched the damn show because my daughter asked me to. I chose to put off the mess for 27 minutes and now it's time to clean up.
If we let the mess grow, we'll literally drown in a pile of dishes and toys and crayons and diapers. You can't ignore the mess. It's a part of this phase in our lives and it is what it is. Can't a mom just vent about that? Don't tell me to "bless this mess." Don't tell me that I'll miss it. I promise you, I will not. I will miss my babies being little, but I will not miss the mess. And when I take the time to clean the mess, it doesn't mean I'm choosing the mess over my kids. It doesn't mean they'll have memories of "mommy cleaning and ignoring them." It means they'll see their mom working hard. They'll see me cleaning the mess and it will show them that I care about our home and our things and our health and happiness as a family.
What moms with young kids want and need to hear is that they're understood. Yes, it's a wonderful, miraculous, joyous time in our lives, but it's also completely foreign and new and HARD. It's lonely and exhausting. Tell us you get it. Tell us we're in the thick of it and it's hard, and you've been there too. Tell us we're doing a great job.
Because that's the other thing. We have no performance review. We have no salary increase based on said performance. We have no salary! We don't go to work and check off a list of tasks and then leave when they're done - they're never done. We wash a sink full of dishes only to make dinner and more dirty dishes. We do endless piles of laundry so our kids can have clean clothes to dirty up again. We change diaper after diaper and fill bottle after bottle. FOR YEARS ON END.
Moms never need to be reminded to be grateful. I promise you this. It's something that comes naturally with being a mom. I prayed hard for both of my babies, I am grateful and thankful and appreciative beyond words. In fact, I remember specific prayers where I said "Please lord, I don't care how hard it is, I don't care how exhausting it is, please just bless me with a baby." And now that I'm in it, the mess does break me from time to time. I've had full-on meltdowns over the mind fuck that is cleaning the same mess multiple times a day.
"You've got this."
"I hate the mess, too."
These are all acceptable responses. Learn them, say them, live them, drink more wine.