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My kids have two moms. That’s not as awesome as it sounds. It’s not like they have a super cool aunt who lives with us and acts as a second mom. Or that I have a clone, cutting down on the exhaustion and ramping up the fun. Or that both parents are women, eliminating all those beard trimmings in the sink (hopefully). Or that they have a birth mom and a cool step mom who does fantastic things with them when they visit. Nope. But they do have two moms who are vastly different. One is a total rock star. I kid you not. Rock. Star. The other one…is a hot mess. I kid you not. Hot. Mess.
One mom wakes up singing. She is encouraging and patient. She walks them calmly through their morning routine. She plays upbeat music while they eat their breakfast. She makes jokes and laughs at theirs (even the knock knock ones). She fixes them two bowls of cereal. One with milk, one without. She knows it will not always be so easy to make them happy.
She reads to them. A lot. In the winter under warm blankets, in summertime on the hammock in the backyard. She snuggles them. A lot. There are cozy movie nights and nights when she stays near to listen to them breathe. She sleeps next to them in hotel rooms and cabins and cottages and anywhere they travel because it makes them feel safe. It makes her feel safe too.
She understands they are learning. She forgives their mistakes. She teaches them. She takes them to creeks and on walks. She sets up science experiments. She lets them paint outside. And inside. She plays games to make them happy. She is aware of the things they love. She uses those things to drive family experiences.
She devours any information that might help them. She puts time and effort into their education. She praises their talents. She eases their sadness.
She shows them how to live fully. She sings. She writes. She volunteers. She helps others.
Her house is clean(ish). She cooks (somewhat) healthy meals. She remembers to show up to be the Mystery Reader at their schools.
She lays next to them every night to rub their backs. She makes them feel safe. They do the same for her. She makes them feel loved. She is confident she is the mother they need. She is in awe of their intelligence and creativity and compassion. She thinks they are perfect.
The other mom does things differently. She wakes up cranky. She screams. Way too much. She hurries them through their morning routine. She gives them a breakfast they can take or leave. She doesn’t care as long as they, “EAT NOW! WE HAVE TO GO!”
She is consumed by laundry and dishes. She doesn’t have to time for snuggles or books because these clothes aren’t going to fold themselves.
She is abrupt. She doesn’t take into account that they are learning. She criticizes their mistakes. Sometimes in the chaos, she doesn’t even see them.
She is tired. She is overwhelmed. She doesn’t want to read one more parenting article. She doesn’t feel like singing or writing, or helping anyone.
She is consumed by anxiety. Anxiety so profound she can’t think past it. She is insecure. She is disorganized. She forgets things like picture day and putting Mystery Reader on the calendar.
She questions her ability to be their mom. She wants them to be easier, more compliant, less exhausting. She is frustrated by their defiance. She is perplexed by their unhappiness. She is grossly ill equipped to give them what they need.
Her house is a mess. There are clothes and dishes everywhere (seriously, this crazy mama lets her kids eat in the living room…and the bedroom on really bad days). There is disorganization. There are papers that should have been filled out weeks ago. There are bills that should have been paid. There is frozen pizza for dinner.
But, this mom also lays next to them every night to rub their backs. She apologizes. She makes them feel safe. They do the same for her. She makes them feel loved. She is not sure how to be the mother they need, but she is going to try. Even harder tomorrow.
I am both of these moms. I am a rock star and a complete failure. I am a beautiful mess. So when I see another mom on one of her beautiful days, I applaud her. I am happy for her. I learn from her. When I see her on a messy day, I understand her. I support her. I help her. Because every kid has two moms. One is rocking motherhood. The other is completely screwing it up. Depending on the day, I could be either one. But, I think the combination is enough. It is likely more than enough. It is exactly what my children need. Because it’s me. It’s you too. You are the beautiful mess your child needs. Just keep being the best you, you can be.
- World Down Syndrome Day March 21st (3/21)
- Earth Day at the Creek