To My Fellow Mothers Scraping By

by Dana Del Real
Originally Published: 

Today, I caught one of my twins playing in the toilet. And yes, there was pee in there. So, I scooped him up, washed his hands, and we went on with the rest of our evening.

Ten minutes later, I found that same twin snacking on dirt from one of the house plants. So, I scooped him up again and we continued on with our night.

Now, I know some people would think, “Ewwwww! Give that kid a bath!” or “Why weren’t you watching him??” And to that I answer, “BITE ME.”

Let me tell you, I have spent most of my mothering days just just scraping by. For example: I don’t lose my shit when one of them falls. (Or plays in toilet water, apparently). I don’t do Pinterest, I don’t buy organic, I don’t read the labels on my kids’ shampoo bottles. Come mealtime, I’m asking each child what they want to eat, while I feverishly pull boxes out of my freezer. (Thank goodness for microwaves.)

On school days, I am pulling worksheets and stuff out of their backpacks 30 seconds before the bus pulls up while I simultaneously pull dog food out of the babies mouth.

If you stopped by unannounced on any given day, you’d see piles of clean laundry littering the couch. Snacks and stuff all over the kitchen counter (and most likely in between the cushions). Stacks of homework scattered about the living room, dining room, kitchen, oh hell…the whole damn house. Dirty socks in the hallway. Toothpaste stuck to my bathroom wall (I don’t even know). And toys, just EVERYWHERE.

And let’s not forget that kids are crusty. And I mean that in the literal sense. They are crusty, sticky, stinky creatures. And as good as I watch them and as good as I try to keep everything together, they spend most of their days getting crustier, stickier, and stinkier. So that whole toilet and plant snacking debacle is just a teeny, tiny drop of paint on a very large canvas.

I know some parents probably really have their shit together. And to them I say, “Pin a rose on your nose.” Because guess what? This IS having my shit together. Despite all of these things, and the fact that I am somewhat lackadaisical about a lot of stuff, this family of mine is pretty happy, and dare I say it, I think, pretty “normal” (whatever that means).

My kids laugh a lot. Our home is not a museum, but the place where they are making memories (and messes). I see this happiness in them that you just can’t fake. And I do the best I can. My kids look put together. They are always dressed great, and their hair is always combed. I don’t only let them eat junk. I always make sure their homework is done. And best of all, they know to treat people with respect and to stand up for their beliefs. So really, my life isn’t JUST a hot mess.

In my defense, I work best with procrastination and desperation. I’m just weird like that. But you know what? If children are a reflection of their parents and their environment then that means mine are gonna have a lot of love to give and sense of humor to go with it. And while our life may have the makings of an episode of “The Middle”, I’m ok with that. We aren’t striving for perfection. We are struggling just to make it through the day like most people out there.

If I don’t do anything else right for the rest of my life, I can say with certainty that I loved these kiddos of mine with everything I had. No amount of being “perfect” can make up for that.

So to all you moms and dads out there just scraping by like me, I raise a toast to you. You have my support and my lack of judgment. Love those little ones, and they will love you right back. Nothing feels as great as that. Not even a clean house.

And just for the record, my twin DID get a bath that night. We aren’t complete animals, for crying out loud.

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