Wednesday, April 29, 2009

putting it all out there... as encouragement

I heard through the grapevine (or just a husband talking to a husband) that a certain friend has foregone reading some of the mommy blogs that she once loved, not only because she's crazy-busy, but because she's (and these are my own words/interpretation here) tired of feeling like she's not measuring up... feeling like everyone has it way more together than she does and are doing a seemingly better job at juggling life and this mommy gig than she is at the moment.

I think it's safe to say the stuff you'll find on my rambling pages probably won't fall into that category. And even if any one person thinks that any of the time, I'm pretty sure this friend knows me well enough to know that I do not have it together and I most definitely do not do any amount of a better job of juggling than she does. She is one of the best moms I know. Honestly.

But regardless, I decided this was as good a time and place as any to use my sad sorry self as an example to prove that mama wrong.

May I present photo evidence of the fantastic job I do juggling. Har har.
Here are a few glimpses of my house right now:
Kitchen at 1:30pmYou'll find dishes (and a bag of croutons) from dinner with friends last night, package and wrappers from a pack of muffins, cereal on the counter, cough medicine, random bags of things on the floor, table covered with beads trying to organize for a charity vendor fair Friday, oh and also kids' dishes from (a decidedly unhealthy) breakfast. My floor has not been swept in at least a week and I haven't cleaned my oven ever in the almost two years we've lived here. And we had McDonald's for lunch after swimming lessons.

This is actually a good day for my sink.

The Playroom:

I haven't even been in here in at least five days.

And the playroom is spilling into the dining room.
Where you'll also find one kid with bed head.

Ew, my stairs are gross. I seriously need to clean these carpets.

Savannah's bedroom:Which is a never ending battle... clothes all over, knick knacks all over, a bulletin board unhung, etc, etc, etc.

The kids' bathroom:Lucky it's not a close up so you can't see the grime. Of course, you might not have been able to see it anyway with the counters covered with junk that should be in the drawers.
Good timing on the picture, as a cabinet door left wide open is a nice emphasis, don't you think?

My bedroom:This one needed breakng down: #1 unmade bed. I rarely make my bed. #2 the comforter that belongs on our bed is crumpled at the foot of the bed (with a pile of towels on it I might add) because we like our spare room cover better. #3 pile of outgrown clothes to go downstairs. #4 clean laundry from last Wednesday. #5 bag from trip a week and a half ago. #6 pile of shoes that made it up from the shoe pile in the entryway, but obviously it was too much work to put them all the way away in the bedroom closet. #7 pile of bedding from when sicko Sawyer camped out in our bedroom last week. #8 frame still yet unhung from Mother's Day last year. #9 shorts I wore last night.
I'll spare you a picture, but you can't see the floor of my walk-in closet.

My bathroom:
I won't disgust you with a photo. I really don't ever clean clean this bathroom. Others rarely see it and I just kind of "forget" about it. It's rather gross.

And yet I'm neglecting all of that and dinking around here on the internet after tucking my kids in their rooms for rest time.

But let's not dwell on my lack of housekeeping.

confession #9:
I also have not printed pictures, let alone getting them in any kind of albums for three and a half years. Sawyer looks through albums of Savannah's and then sadly looks through all five pages of pictures of him in his book and asks "what happened to baby Sawyer??"
confession #10:
granted I have had three separate appointment/lesson/errands to run already today and its only 1pm, but today is my laundry day and I haven't started a single load yet. I still haven't put away all of last week's.
confession #11:
Speaking of laundry day, I only wash and dry laundry once a week. You'd think I could get my act together and not have laundry piles laying around all week long. Yet as you can see from the above picture, that is not the case. The picture is, more often than not, the norm.
confession #12:
my three and a half year old does not know how to sing the ABC's.
confession #13:
my kids watch probably two hours of tv most every single day.
confession #14:
Savannah has a weekly homework assignment to do every Wednesday evening. Most Thursday mornings I remember about 10 minutes before the bus.
confession #15:
I have penpal letters to friends sitting in my drawer from Savannah that I was supposed to mail out probably months ago by now.
confession #16:
We've lived here for 22 months and I still haven't had my address changed on my license. Um, let me rephrase that. The address on there is from five years ago, with four moves since then. And it's an Oregon driver's license. The state which I left three years ago!
confession #17:
I haven't had a haircut since December and I've needed one since January. My roots and grays are getting ridiculously out of hand, and I do that (or don't do that it seems) myself at home!

I probably have at least 300 more confessions, but I'll spare you.

Do I keep up my house well? No.
Do I try to pretend I do when we're having guests over? Often.
Do I send cards or make phone calls to the friends I think about and want to do that for on a regular basis? Not hardly.
Do I often feel like I'm drowning in a sea of chaos that I'm contributing to on a regular basis? You betcha.
Do I prepare healthy homemade meals for my family? Not nearly as often as I could.
Do I fail at time management? Absolutely.
Do I have "it" together? Negative.

I'm absentminded, I'm chaotically busy, I'm a procrastinator and above all I'm lazy.
I go in spurts just like I'm sure 99% of us do.

The only thing I even try to pretend I might be on my way to having my act together on (and the stuff I like to highlight here on the blog because it's so much more fun!!) is when it comes to holiday and birthday stuff, because that stuff is important to me. It's important to me to make a big deal for my kids and to make things special and memorable, or perhaps teach them to want to make others feel special and memorable too. It's important to me to put extra effort into celebrating those things, because otherwise? Normal everyday life around here is boring, chaotic, messy, unorganized and not always very fun or pretty.
Also, it partially boils down to; I'm not the best every-day mom, so I tend to want to make up for it in other ways.

And I have to point this out too. Admittedly, I think I have it pretty easy right now. I only have two kids right now; one in school part time and the other being past the high maintenance toddler stage. I don't, for instance, have three kids 3 and under... I don't have homeschooling to throw in the mix... I don't have any health concerns or issues in our family to deal with... I don't work for an outside income... basically, I'm at a pretty easy going spot in this mommy thing right now, theoretically speaking. And still- it's hard!! Sometimes I think if anyone should have their act together, it should be me right now. But I don't. And I wonder- does anyone, really?
We keep our days relatively full and our home relatively happy, and that takes effort, no matter where you are in life. Is it always "together" and running smoothly? Not by a long shot. That's life, isn't it??

Anyway. All that to say, to my dear dear friend, give yourself a break.
We all have days, weeks, months, where we're looking around wondering why no one ever told us being a grown up was so hard. Why no one ever told us being a mom -or being a mom of two or three or four or eight- was so hard. Why it's such a different kind of hard on so many different occasions.
And we all have times when others look at us and wonder how we do it all. Yes, we ourselves- we who feel that same way about the next mom over.

And, my friend, all you have to do is look at your child's beautiful face; when he smiles at you, when he shows you with pride the puzzle he's finished, when he just wants one more hug, when he's sleeping soundly in his comfy bed at night... just look at those faces and know that God only gave you this "job" because He knew only you could do it just the right way to grow your kids, to grow yourself, to grow your marriage and grow your family as He intends.
Your children are blessed to have you as their mother. Your husband is blessed to have you as his wife. Your family is blessed by you, as are your friends, as am I.
I'd say you're right on track.


Heather S. said...

Wow! Your post describes my house exactly!! I love knowing that other people live like we do. Although it can drive me crazy sometimes, I am trying not to let the mess bother me. I did mop today because we have ants - lovely, ants!! Kevin will try multiple home remedies before we actually call someone, but just today they have been out of control. I figured the crumbs and sticky spots on the floor are just feeding the ants - literally - so I mopped. Not exactly what I wanted to be doing while Norah was having a tantrum about smudging her nail polish, Daphne was crying because I put her in her bed to nap (gasp!) and Lucy was actually sleeping peacefully. My desk, which as you know, is in the front room of our house is piled HIGH with homeschool stuff, mail, seed packets, cd's receipts, etc. It will be cleaned up before we have small group here on Monday - I also try to appear to keep a clean house.
Could this comment be any longer? All this to say Amen! sister!

michele said...

Thank you for this post. It is nice to know that I am not the only one living in choas, sometimes it feels that everyone else has it "together" and I don't. But it is nice to see that we are likely the norm, with clothes covering the floor or the closet, dishes in the sink, laundry to do - I could have written your post nearly word for word and the pictures could have been of my house. Well said and thank you so much for sharing!

Katie said...

Great post, friend. Thanks for puttin' it all out there.

Amie R. said...

Awe! It's a shame that your friend stopped reading blogs because she might feel very special that you took the time to write that out and encourage her. She is going to miss out on some great laughs too! ;)

Anonymous said...

Loved this! So much of this describes my house on a daily basis...confession #9 made me feel especially comforted as I sit here tonight, working on months of pictures.

jenny said...

heather, you ROCK. this post was PERFECT.

beanski said...

i really enjoyed this post...we don't often talk on blogs about what we DON'T get done! :)

Anonymous said...

Great post, just what we were talking about last weekend at my party. You should start a confession chain... I might just follow in your footsteps today. It's about time we all let that burden go.

jessica said...

Oh, I miss you, Heather. I needed this encouragement today, and I didn't realize I did until I read it.

This is my story, this is my song.

Thank you, and God bless.

Anonymous said...

Oh thank God you aren't an Uber Mommy....Let me tell you though; my kids are 11 and 13 and it doesn't get easier....i feel so guilty when i go to someone's home unexpectedly and it's 100% in order......

Thanks for sharing!!!

Gina said...

What an honest and great post, Heather. Thank you for writing this.

Jen said...

Thank you for this wonderful and authentic post. I know I am not the mom friend you are talking about since I only know you through your blog, but I have to admit I have felt that way before when reading other mom's blogs. I have two kids and a third on the way, all whom which will be three and under in age. I work three days a week as a teacher. There are days or even weeks recently where I am just overwhelmed and wonder how all these mom's get it all done, look polished, have fabulous bodies, happy kids, clean (well decorated) homes and so son. I am barely surviving right now between pregnancy, my two kids, my husband who is in chronic is hard. This post was very encouraging. I know that God will not give me anything I can't handle (in His strength), but it is also nice to know that I am not the only one out there with dishes piled up, every room a mess and struggling with this thing we call life. I hope you are having a blessed weekend.

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