“She is delightfully chaotic; a beautiful mess. Loving her is a splendid adventure” – Steve Maraboli
We’ve all seen her. Actually, honestly, we have probably all been her. You know, that mom? She’s the one holding back tears as her baby spits up down her shirt and her toddler screams on the floor while she wonders what happened to her life. Or you may have seen her in her work clothes, sobbing in the car outside of daycare. You know you her. You almost certainly know her really well. Because she is you. She is all of us.
Many of us try to hide the fact that being a mom is freaking hard by readily displaying our can-do attitudes and using stringent beauty regimes to fake our way through. “Being a mom is a breeze, for me.” Sure it is, dear. Sure. Others of us wear our stresses on our old t-shirt sleeves and make-up-less faces. We don’t even try to hide what’s up anymore. And most of us are somewhere in between, trying to conceal the struggle but not always succeeding.
You know why we can’t always hide it? It is because we are mothers. And we see it all. We feel it all. We may come in different shades of strength and experience, but we all carry it all. And sometimes it gets too heavy.
The Regular Mess
For those of us who are fortunate enough to have no dramatic circumstances shape our lives, sometimes it still simply feels like we can’t do anything right.
We work and we are “bad moms.” We stay home and we are “bad women.” We have children and we are “breeders.” We don’t have biological kids and we are “missing out.” We punish and we are old-fashioned. We try progressive things and we are pushovers. Moms literally cannot get it right. It’s impossible. We are judged on it all and we internalize it all. Sometimes it gets too heavy.
The Hot Mess
And for those of us who have had those hard experiences, the ones that completely break and re-shape us, our pasts can bubble up to haunt us and our present can simply overwhelm us. How could it not? Look at all we’ve carried, and look at all we’ve gotten through.
We have pulled ourselves up out of the depths of depression. We have lived in isolation. We have smiled during loss. We have had to carry on alone. We have lost our safe places. We have lost ourselves. We have seen things we never thought we could survive. And yet here we are.
We don’t just give up. We keep on. We keep on carrying it all. And sometimes, yes, it gets heavy.
The Truth about the Mess
So, sisters, next time your see a mess rear it’s complicated head, look that mom in the eye and marvel at the fact that she is still kicking. She is in beautiful shambles and she just needs a little kindness. Take inventory of her strengths and recognize her weakness. She is a human. She is a woman. And she has more strength than she is showing right now. Don’t judge her or walk away from her. Allow her some grace, especially because she is you.
You are a woman of great power and great vulnerability. Don’t forget it or be ashamed of yourself. You are beautiful in your brokenness and shining in your strength. How could you not be? Look at you! Look at all you do.