If I could describe motherhood is one word it would be chaos.
It feels almost bad to say that. Because I wish the one word could be "bliss", or "elation", or "blessing", or "delightful", or a happier more joy-filled word...but those words just don't feel like they honestly encompass all that motherhood is.
The definition of chaos is: complete disorder and confusion.
And truth be told, from day 1 of your motherhood journey and every day after, those are the exact feelings felt, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. On the good days, the bad days, and the in-between days; so long as you are a mother there will always be chaos.
In the beginning, I fought those feelings. I fought them harder than anything I had ever fought in my entire life. When my second was born just a short 17 months after my first, I knew things would be harder, I "prepared" myself for it and had all the determination in the world to maintain the "pinterest worthy motherhood lifestyle" that I had convinced myself I could have, that I deserved to have.
I remember one day as I was trying to make the bed while one of my boys was tugging at my leg and the other crying in the next room, I burst into tears and screamed "I am going to have it all, God...I can have a perfectly tidy home, happy children, a thriving business, happy husband, home-cooked meals, I can do it, if you would just let me!"
The mirror hanging on our bathroom door was perfectly angled so that I caught a glimpse of myself after saying this aloud, and I couldn't believe what I had just seen and heard. I was disgusted, and ashamed.
The problem wasn't God keeping me from doing all those things, it was that my expectations were completely and absolutely unattainable by a single mortal human being. You see, I was stuck in the trap that so many of us modern moms are. The allusion that the Instagram-mom/Pinterest standard of motherhood is what is expected and attainable by all. The idea that these bloggers and their beautifully curated photos are actually just snapshots of their every day life portraying just an average moment of their average day. And us modern moms scroll on our phones, and see these photos then glimpse up at our current situation- the chocolate milk stain on the couch, your child running around in his diaper and yesterday's tee shirt, your slicked back mom bun full of dry shampoo, wearing the same outfit you've worn all week, wondering what to make for dinner because you haven't had a chance to make it to the store yet feeling like an absolute FAILURE of a mother...
All the while Suzy the mom with a food blog has her meals planned and prepped for the month and proceeds to capture the perfect photo of her family enjoying the wonderful meals in their #sponsored post with brand new outfits from your favorite retail shop...and then you think "wait that's what I'm supposed to be doing"
SO, you rush your kids into the car go to the store buy a bunch of foods you have no idea how to cook (or whether or not you even like them), just because Suzy said to...go buy the whole family new outfits (much to your husband's displeasure), prep the meals, nobody eats them, nobody likes their new outfits, and you're left with angry feelings towards those you love most all because they're not just like Suzy's perfect family. (tell me I'm not the only one who's been here...)
Honestly, it wasn't until just the past year that I have learned what I would say to be the most important lesson of my motherhood journey thus far and that is to--EMBRACE MY CHAOS.
While I believe "chaos" is the perfect word to universally describe motherhood, I think every mother's version of chaos is completely different than the other's.
Because not a single one of us know what we're doing when we become mothers (seriously, not a one), we compare ourselves to others so deeply and relentlessly in hopes that someone will have the answer for us so that we can finally get a handle on this mom thing. Once I realized I needed to embrace the chaos, I began to compare my chaos to others. (Ridiculous, right!?) When my chaos seemed more chaotic than Martha down the street who's biggest problem with her baby girl was that she wouldn't eat her vegetables I began to doubt myself as a mother, and began blaming my husband for not helping out enough, and blaming my son's preschool for having students that taught him to laugh at potty talk jokes... and down the rabbit hole of blame and doubt I went.
And then, one day I found myself comparing my chaos to that of a mother's whose was far more chaotic in that moment than mine...and I realized, instead of embracing THE chaos, I need to embrace MY chaos. Because we ALL have different variations of chaos at different times. And the only chaos I need to be concerned with embracing is my own.
Just swapping out that one word; the for my has made all the difference in the world.
You see, mama; whether you believe it was God or the Universe, or however you believe we came to this earth--YOU and only YOU were divinely chosen to be that child's mama. YOU and only YOU were designed with the capacity to embrace the specific variation of chaos that comes with being your children's mother. YOU and only YOU can embrace YOUR CHAOS.
Instead of fighting it, or ignoring it, I invite you to embrace it. It just might be the greatest thing you do for yourself and your children as a mother.
Another amazing thing you should do for yourself as a mother RIGHT NOW is get yourself a copy of Rachel Hollis's "Girl Wash your Face". Like, RIGHT NOW. This book has been a complete game changer for me. A book I think EVERY mother needs in her personal library.
Don't have time to sit down and read a book? (Me neither!) Download it on Audible and listen while you're out running errands, walking the kids to the park, making dinner, or doing any of your other mom-duties! It's the best multitasking you can do for yourself.