The Beautiful Mess

A tribute to the glorious chaos that is motherhood.

I write this as my 1 year old son sleeps peacefully across my chest. That’s a lie; he’s stretched all the way from my chin to my knees (I’m 5'1 and married a 6'3 man — I should have seen this coming) and he’s still gulping bits of air because I let him tip just beyond the point of crib crying I can handle for one nap attempt. I swore I’d never let him “cry it out,” which is probably why it took him almost 11 months to sleep through the night (who knew sleep consultants existed!? Best $500 spent. Ever. And I have a nice collection of shoes). Then I swore I’d never reinforce “bad” habits like letting him nap on me. But here I am.

A perpetual planner, a relentless ruminator; I recall my sister’s wise (and eloquent) words. “This kid is going to slap the type A right out you.” Ain’t that the truth. While pregnant, visions of ladies’ lunches and quiet manicures danced in my head. I anticipated shopping trips and errands with my little angel cooperatively in tow, like so many of my peers advertised through their Facebook chronicles. And I don’t begrudge those moms their afternoons of coffee and soap operas while their little one naps like a pro. But I don’t have that kind of baby. I just don’t. My kid is the one I need to corral at music class while the others sit in a circle and clap. He’s pulling books from a shelf and clothes from a drawer just as I finish tidying up the last one. He’s pulling down my pants and clinging to my leg as I side-shimmy to the sink, pants around my ankles, to wash the raw chicken off my hands. He’s boisterous and energetic and bursting with personality. He’s mischievous and exhausting and full of love. He’s demanding and hysterical and my perfect little prince.

I’ve read that lists work quite well in published posts. “Top 5 tried and true nap routines.” “15 steps to maintain your sanity in motherhood.” “How to look party ready when you haven’t had time to sleep…or shower.” My sisters, this is not that kind of list. This is a small list of my own truths in an effort to help my fellow moms — imperfectly perfect in each’s own right — to give themselves a break and embrace their own truths.

  1. I love my son with everything in my being and I would not change a thing about him.
  2. Still, sometimes I go in another room, shut the door and scream.
  3. Last month, my son pooped in the tub and I just barely got to his hand before his hand made it to his mouth.
  4. I don’t want to get together with other moms to make crafts and I’m ok with that, even if it means I’ll be at home drinking a glass of wine in pjs at 7pm on a Friday.
  5. When my son isn’t cooperating on the changing table, “hang out with your wang out” put to the tune of a Congo line at a bar mitzvah works like a charm. One might call me a musician.
  6. I work part time and don’t quite resonate with the stay at home moms or the working moms (and I’m giddy like a girl with a new crush as I meet and establish friendship with other moms with whom I “click.”)
  7. When my son finally naps for an appropriate amount of time, I start to miss him.
  8. I loathe Facebook until it’s time to post pictures of my own child, which I try to limit but when you have the cutest child in the entire world it gets tough.
  9. I’m a little bit of a hypocrite (see point 8).
  10. The instant my son turned 1 I missed having a baby and decided “we” might be ready for number 2.

I hope my list has served as an invitation into camaraderie to those who candidly accept motherhood for the beautiful mess that it is. It isn’t a craft party and it isn’t wearing stilettos to the park while waving from a distance, and it isn’t a show you work so hard to produce.

It’s getting down and dirty (and enjoying it). It’s watching your plans crumble at the mercy of this beautiful being who is a product of your love. It’s allowing yourself the freedom to part ways with those type A roots…ok, well maybe holding on to just a tiny morsel for dear life.