To the mom with the messy van:
You are not a failure.
You are not a mess and your life is not a mess.
I know you. I know that for the sake of peace you let your kids bring books and toys, colors and paper into the car because you don’t want to just put a screen in front of them.
Sometimes you even grab goldfish or crackers so your 2 yr old can make it the rest of the time in the car as you rush home to make lunch.
Sometimes it’s so hectic, not because you are a mess, but because you HAVE a mess of kids and the fact that they all made it to the car mostly dressed and mostly on time is a major win.
I know you.
I know that you value your relationship with your kids and that is your priority. I know you’ve decided to major on the majors and minor on the minors. And I know you do appreciate a clean car…
I see you stopping your chores to read one more story, or a tickle a back, or look at a frog or a flower. I see you spend hours training your kids to keep up with their chores and pick up after themselves only to see it all destroyed again in moments.
But you still press on.
That’s life. We make messes, we all do, and then we clean them up.
I know that you aren’t looking for everyone’s highlight reel, you just want to know that what you’re experiencing is real life.
And I’m here to tell you, you are not alone.
You’re going to miss the mess. One day there will not be finger smudges on every glass surface, there will not be goldfish or granola all over the floor. One day there will be peace and quiet and complete order… and you will long for the messy days.
You will long for the days of nonstop noise, of yelling with joy and running through the house with superman capes. You will long for the days of spit wads, and coloring books, of mud puddles and forts.
You will miss it. I hope that when you get to that day you have no regrets. I hope you don’t wish that you would have cared less what others thought of your van, or that you would’ve stopped to read that story or look at that flower or frog.
And I know that you are working from dawn until dusk, picking up, wiping, sweeping, cooking, bandaging… and yet it seems you have very little to show for it. As if we are measuring your value on your floors or your van being clean.
What matters is not appearances. What matters is the heart.
Because the measure of a good mother is not the cleanliness of her floor or her minivan. The measure of a good mother is how she loves. And maybe you can do it all! Maybe you keep everything in perfect order without fuss or pressure and maybe all is well in your home and your kids are impeccably clean.
But for the mother who feels less than or judged or that she can’t get it together because of what “someone” else does or doesn’t do… I’m telling you that you are seen, you are valuable, YOU are the perfect mom for your kids whether or not your van is always clean.
I know when you can you will gather your munchkins together and you will all clean that van knowing that in one minute it will all be undone. And it doesn’t matter either way.
What matters is how you loved. Live in a way that you have no regrets. Live every day loving the way that you want to. Don’t live for a standard set by another person, live for your own.
Because the days are long but the years are short so don’t regret how you loved.