Motherhood is Messy

I took this picture today because I want to remember the messy, hard, falling apart days of mothering.

This is me after one of my kids had a giant public meltdown. The kind where I carried her flailing and kicking past teachers and students, and then put on a little show in the corner of the school yard for all who enjoy watching a mom try and tame a wildcat.

The tantrum didn’t end even after the half mile walk home. By that time I had threatened to take all of her toys FOREVER and was mentally fantasizing lighting them all on fire in the backyard. We headed straight to her room, I set her on her bed (as well as one can “set” a tornado in a place), grabbed every toy in sight, shoved them in their giant toy chest, and pushed it out the door taking a piece of floor trim with it. She was wailing “Nooooo not Flufffffy!!!” as I rammed it down the hall to the garage past my other three wide-eyed children.

Don’t worry, I settled on three days of toy jail. No romantic wine and toy-fire for me tonight, I guess.

I then sat down in the arm chair and started to cry.

I just lost it. I don’t always lose it, but today I did. It was enough to where my boys asked me if I was okay, and that is a pretty big deal because usually they just ask me for a snack if I’m crying.

Parenting is hard sometimes.

I am a mom and I am a mess.

There are moments when I feel so ill-equipped, so in over my head. There are times when I’m sure I have no idea what the eff I’m doing.

How am I old enough to be these people’s mother?

Now this recently tantruming girl is snuggled in my lap. Her red swollen eyes are matching my red swollen eyes and we are all tangled up…a beautiful mess. We are a beautiful, exhausted, red-eyed mess.

I’m sure a thousand strangers have seen me unravel. They might not know I was unraveling, with my stoic face and teeth sinking into my bottom lip. They may have seen me with a carseat in one arm and a little hand in the other as both babes screamed and I struggled to swipe my credit card. They may have seen me hunched in a corner trying to nurse a baby who was colicky and angry. They may have seen me rushing into an urgent care with my six-year-old in my arms. I may have seemed calm, but inside I was almost entirely undone. I was unraveled to the point where there wasn’t much left to hold me upright. My hands were shaking and I fought to keep back the tears.

I am not a “together” mom, I don’t think. I’m an unraveled, doing her best mom.

I think we are all that way sometimes.

These days are sacred and precious. They are beautiful and hard.

So, I took this picture because I don’t want to just remember the highlights. Motherhood is beautiful even when we’re broken.

Maybe especially when we’re broken.


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32 responses to “Motherhood is Messy”

  1. I have an almost 5 month old and I do not have it all together either. I love you for your courage to say it like it is. Thank you a hundred times over.

  2. So beautiful and true. We’ve all been there, thank you for putting it into words that I never could!

  3. This is right on! Yes, there are some rough days but that makes me appreciate the good days even more 🙂
    Nicely written!!

  4. One of my biggest fears of becoming a parent one day is public meltdowns. Thank you for being so raw and transparent in this post. When that day comes, I’ll try to remember that I’m not alone.

  5. When your children have meltdowns just remember that it’s just your turn…

  6. Being a mom is so hard…and as they grow up their problems get bigger. I’m lucky at the moment to be in a “sweet spot”… Between the tantrums of toddlers and the drama of teens. I was reminded of how challenging it can be this week when I found out a friend’s daughter, who I’ve known since birth, cut herself. My heart broke… Knowing this can happen to anyone and also remembering that motherhood doesn’t necessarily get easier as they get older. My heart goes out to all mothers dealing with all these challenges…❤️

  7. 😭that is so hard!!

  8. It broke my heart. She’s she has so much potential.

  9. We all have had days where we cry right along with our children. We are all a mess, some just look a little better and hide it better❤️

  10. Word, mama. 🙌🏼 I’ve lost track of how many times my kids have lost it in public (let alone the at-home tantrums, I don’t even bother counting those – with a 2 and a 4 year old, it’s still a daily occurrence in our household). It’s so embarrassing and you feel so alone. It is brutal. Glad you (and your daughter) got to enjoy some snuggles when it was over. I bet it was hard on her, too. 💗

  11. I wrote about the ugly side of parenting not long ago. It is not always rainbows and butterflies. We just need to remember to breathe (even if it’s after the tantrum).

  12. So true, it’s messy and hard and anyone who says otherwise is either lying or in such deep denial I wonder how they can breathe!
    This seems to be the theme for this week, I wrote about my motherhood struggles too…

  13. Oh Mama! I feel for you. We’re raising our 6-year-old granddaughter and I would have thought we’d be done with fits by now. But alas she didn’t want to practice reading today. After she calmed down I told her I needed her to apologize and she did with tears. She knew. Then we prayed both of us for help. I think they are fewer and usually in private. I believe God has a special place in His heart for moms. Love your authenticity. Thank you.

  14. Monica Dawson Avatar
    Monica Dawson

    Oh, man woman, you make me draw in great big gulping breaths of fresh relief with each blog!

    I wear my parenting battles (and few victories) on my sleeve for the world to see, because motherhood IS precious, but oh.SO.lonely and oh.SO.incredibly.hard.
    There is such beauty to be found down in these will-torn trenches together as we recognize our own battle in another’s tear, tracked face. Through broken, wobbly smiles we find our own hated imperfections reflected in anothers eyes. We find we are just human and we find the beginning of amazing GRACE.

    Thank you for this gift for all of us today.

  15. ❤️

  16. So true! It’s not easy, especially on days like this. Keep your head up. You’re doing a great job mama.

  17. Teodora Arielle Avatar
    Teodora Arielle

    I am a single mom of twins. I never had the experience you described in your touching post. However, when twins were younger they had my full attention, no phone, no social media. I made all their meals from scratch. I never bought a baby food in a jar and made a home made cereal. No distractions and I was fully 100% committed and worked at it 24 hour hours. I lost myself in the process but now I think it is worth it. They are 13 now and very respectful and compassionate young almost adults. Entering teens so will see what happens next. I believe you are a phenomenal mother and do your best and you give us inspiration through your trials and the honest aspects of motherhood.

  18. I love reading your blog! Such honesty, so raw. I had no blogs, no cell phones, so social media when raising my kids. I had a son, then when he was 4 I had twin girls and then 15 months later another girl. My husband’s job had him traveling Monday to Friday almost every week. My support came from local Mothers of Twins/Multiples Clubs. And when my kids reached the teens I switched support groups to ToughLove (A lifesaver for sure times four!). If I took away anything from all the support groups I have belonged to through the years is that no one can do it alone – we all need someone! Thank you for your support!

  19. with 4 kids I often feel the same way. I have a smile on my face but inside im about to lose it. my oldests is 8 but thinks shhe 16. I have had many fantasies about burning all the toys lol

  20. This post is so honest, thank you for sharing xx

  21. I have been there. I don’t even try to pretend to have it together anymore. Motherhood is a mess and most mommies know it. There is a lot to learn in motherhood and unfortunately, those lessons come in the messiness. Thank you for being so honest and vulnerable!

  22. I love this. My kids are 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. Every time I think I have them figured out, one of them throws a curve ball at me. We do our best. You’re an awesome mom.

  23. It takes true courage to be this honest…am sure u are doing a fab job

  24. I feel you. Such an honest, beautiful post. Big hugs mama x

  25. Tantrums are part of motherhood. One day you will remember them and smile. Hugs. Love your post.

  26. Just a few days back, my only son yelled his first ,”I hate you!”.I immediately blamed myself for bad parenting. I have no idea why I do that. I don’t remember yelling anything of this sort (when he is around). And yet, he screamed the those painful, soul-ripping words. I remember sitting on the couch with tears in my eyes and wondering where I had gone wrong.

    After all that we’ve been through, after all that I’ve done. Mothering is hard. So hard. I just can’t express how much this post has helped me. We mothers are real soldiers!

  27. It is so beautiful. Motherhood is a beautiful mess i agree

  28. Oh my gosh, the toys! We have three boys and I think of burning our toys every. single. day.

  29. Love. Love. Love. I needed this. Broken. I just feel so broken. I can totally relate as I had long cry similar to this just this past weekend. I don’t know anyone else who has the same struggles as me. I have a 10 year old daughter – diagnosed with blah blah blah- makes life…let’s just say challenging, to say the least. Anyway, I just found you through FB and can’t wait to read more of your blog posts. Thank you for your bravery and honesty! I am afraid to be honest to people outside of my little tiny circle. I’ll be praying for you!

  30. such a beautifully honest photo

  31. What a great idea to take pics of even the not so pretty moments of motherhood, because there are so many of them! You’re doing a beautiful job though, because you love your kids and you’re aware of the struggle and you strive for your best, but it’s not easy at all. People don’t understand sometimes, and it’s good that you’re putting it out there. Even the mom with the straightest face could be unraveling on the inside and no one has a clue. Love your writing, thanks for sharing 🙂

  32. So nice

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