“A life well lived it usually messy”
That sentiment is on a kitchen towel my mother-in-love recently purchased for me. I love it. I feel it encompasses my life. J I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently. I went over to a friend’s house to borrow cookie sheets and she opened the door with “I’m a hot mess today!” I was just thinking she looked great (she got the “hot” part right) and was admiring her tree. My sister-in-love recently asked for prayer because she “was a mess” due to recent circumstances. And I’ve told my awesome husband that I feel like I am “a hot mess” (to borrow from my friend). I also heard a family member mention that if only she hadn’t fed her child so many preservatives (in food) when he was younger, he wouldn’t be this way.
I was devastated when I heard that. Being an outsider, I can see that this family member did their absolute best and the particular way this child is, and has been from birth, has nothing to do with preservatives and everything to do with genetics. Being an outsider, I also saw the beauty in my friends “hot mess” and was enjoying hanging out with her. Being an outsider I can see my friends and family are doing their absolute best with their children, family, and life. I enjoy watching their journey. But I get it. I feel the feelings they do. I say the same things they do. I put pressure on myself, blame myself, obsess over things…I’ve done it. You’ve probably done it. My friends and family do it. Why?
Is it society? Is it internal pressure? Is it something in our make-up gone array? Is it our children, our family, our partners? What makes us feel as though, as women, we need to apologize for the messiness of life? Life is messy! “A life well lived is usually (almost always) messy.” It’s a fact. It’s a joy. It’s a mess. J I don’t think we should apologize for it. I would say, 90% of the time, when my friends say “I’m so sorry my house is a mess…” I’ve been admiring it, I’ve been thinking it looks great, I’ve been enjoying their life. Most of the time, when I say to my husband in exasperation “our house is a disaster!,” it really means we spend 6 minutes picking up toys (& socks) and its clean again! (I can’t wait for our babies to reach the age where they can finally begin to pick up their own toys…although I’m not excited about the “fights” that I am sure will ensue around picking up their toys.)
I read a book recently and it had a story about “The Moms Club.” The rules are easy to understand but harder to follow. I also think everyone should follow them. One of the rules is “don’t judge other moms/families.” Another is “don’t clean your house before other mom club members come over.” I think both of these should just be rules of life. Don’t judge other moms/families. Haven’t we all been there? And, if people are coming over to hang out, eat dinner, etc, don’t spend hours cleaning your house. Sure, pick up the dirty clothes and wipe down your toilet, but otherwise? Don’t clean! We have toys on the floor at our house; your toys aren’t offensive. We have coats by our door, it is cold outside; your coats don’t offend us. Don’t succumb to the pressure to have a “perfect” house when people come over, especially other Moms.
And what is perfect anyway? My perfect includes toys on the floor, handprints on the walls and color pages on the table. Why? Because my husband and I struggled for 5 years to get pregnant, we had years where we believed we would never have children, I cried for months. Now, I cherish the things that remind me that we do have children, two miracle babies, who steal my heart every day. Their laughter erupts and my heart bursts with delight. Are there times I don’t want to be around them? Sure! I am human. I do need time to rejuvenate myself and my marriage. But I wouldn’t trade toys everywhere, hand prints on the walls, and food in the carpet for anything! My life is messy. I have children. I have an awesome husband. I have family and friends. I have feelings, needs, desires, dreams, fears, emotions. I have a life! I want to live a life well lived, mess and all. Who is with me?
So, to help myself, and anyone who wants to join me, in living a messy life and enjoying it I’ve come up with a couple ideas/goals:
Share your messy life stories below! I’d love to hear from you.
Doula Rachel has put together a blog of resources, info-graphics, and articles, with an occasional self-published blog. Enjoy!