There’s a number of lies I was told by society.
The lie that hurt my joy most was this:
Being a hot mess is just part of being a mom to young children.
I believed that ALL women in the same season as me were handling it the same way. I thought we were supposed to be be behind on chores, always running late and dependent on caffeine because that meant we were too focused on our kids to care about anything else.
I was so fooled by this lie, I didn’t see it was an excuse to be lazy, unreliable and unkempt.
I recently read an article posted on Portland Mom’s Blog called “Why I’m Not a Hot Mess, and Neither are You.”
There is a season of your life where things may seem like a mess, but only because you’re going through so much all at once. And if that’s you, THAT’S OKAY!
It’s totally fine to not have it all together when you have a newborn, you’re changing careers, you’re in school, you’re starting a business, or whatever else. On behalf of the mothering community, you have our permission to not “get it all done.”
Here’s where I disagree with the article: I was a hot mess.
I really, really was. And it had been going on a very long time. I never liked to clean, and I wasn’t good at keeping up on dishes and laundry. I don’t mean that I had dishes in my sink or that I’d consistently forget wet clothes in the washer.
My house was a disaster:
- I couldn’t cook because I had no clean pans
- I couldn’t wash my pans because my sink was full of dishes
- I couldn’t put the dishes in the washer because it was full of mostly clean dishes
- I couldn’t put those dishes away because most were dirty since I didn’t rinse them first and now there’s a bunch of yuck clogging up my dishwasher
- I had 5 loads of laundry that needed washed
- I had no baskets to put them in since the baskets were all full of clothes that still needed folded from last time I did laundry
- My husband was out of clean work clothes
- I had a bag of stinking clothes diapers that needed cleaned, too
- The dog needs a bath, but I can’t use the sink
- The fridge needs cleaned out because something stinks in there, but again I can’t get to the garbage disposal
- The cat litter needs cleaned
- There’s nothing for dinner
- My toddler needs a snack, again
And that was my life EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
You see how I had no time for myself? I was on a hamster wheel, chasing my to do list. I had all these things that always needed to get done, and I had zero motivation to do them. I was lazy, right?
Then something changed.
I forgot what society had to say about moms, and I was reminded what God had to say.
“John 10:10 says that we are called to abundant life, and mothers are no exception.”
-Allie Casazza (The Purpose Show)
I wasn’t lazy. I was overwhelmed. There was just so much to do, that I didn’t want to do any of it. It fed my anxiety. I had a low self image because I was ‘failing’ at my wifely duties, which lead to depression. I began to see myself differently.
Being a hot mess, I was NOT living abundantly. I was not living life on purpose. I was aimlessly living the same, unfulfilling day over and over.
I got inspired: if we’re called to abundant life, what does that look like?
- Not worrying about a sink full of dishes
- Not having a mountain of laundry to wash and fold
- Knowing what’s for dinner every day and that I have everything I need for that dinner, too
- Enjoying time with my kids, playing with them, snuggling them and not feeling guilty about a mess waiting for me
- Having company over and not feeling embarrassed about the mess
- Spending quality time with my husband, instead of endless chores
I had a new hope.
I joined Allie Casazza in her #DeclutterLikeAMother challenge. It was a month of intense, focused decluttering my home. I threw out boxes of toiletries I’d brought with me when we moved 6 months before and never even unpacked, I donated clothes and blankets, I stopped storing appliances on my countertops.
A huge weight was lifted. I felt like I could breath as I walked into my kitchen to see it clean, over and over again. I can handle my dishes because there aren’t as many. I have the time to fold my laundry as it comes out of the dryer.
Not having to chase that constant chore list means that I have TIME to get ahead on other things. I have the time to meal plan and to prep snacks for the kids. I have energy to pack my husband a lunch for work. I have the time to take care of myself, too! Showering is so important.
I’m not pouring from an empty cup anymore.
We all fall behind from time to time. We get into seasons of overwhelm, that’s part of life.
But if you’re living in a constant state of overwhelm and anxiety, life has a lot more to offer you. Fulfillment and overwhelm cannot live in the same space.
Are you ready to break free from the hamster wheel?