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When you appear relatively put together but you are one screaming toddler away from drinking wine while locked in the bathroom...

I don't know what it is exactly that is causing this extreme meltdown in my friends at this particular moment in time, but it seems that everywhere I turn another one of us is struggling to pull it together and about half of us have flat out given up the ruse that we are keeping it together.

I would venture to guess that a lot of it, is just getting back into the swing of getting kids to school, and sport practice and music lessons, and where I live, harvest season.

I know that because I am a mom to four littles, I am also surrounded by other moms of the same age group, but I am willing to bet if you have older kids, you have your own struggles, or have definitely been in our place.

If you do not have kids. Quit reading now, I wouldn't want to discourage you from having children. I swear despite all our complaining, it really is the most wonderful thing to have children. Except when it isn't.

Full disclosure I am in full on potty training mode with a toddler, the baby is in a growth spurt that means not sleeping at night, and my husband is finishing harvest so I am on my own 95% of the time. So all of that to say, I am in survival mode again and I am not particularly in a positive mind set.

Here's what I do know. I am not alone. No matter how different your family make up is from mine, we are all on this leaking ship together. Every time I turn on the internet I read another article from another mom that has those really annoying titles starting with "An open letter... etc.".

This is no open letter. This is just what I know for now.

This week I have seen mom after mom around me struggling to keep up and you know what, they are doing it. How do I know? Because they got out of bed and tried. That is what being a mom is. Even if you fail miserably, and we ALL do, as long as you woke to a new day and made the choice to get up and try again, knowing the odds are against you, then you are doing a great job.

You cared enough to try, however distorted and messed up and imperfect your trying is.

As a kid, I thought my parents knew everything because they were parents. I thought they had never experienced the hardships of childhood and being a teenager, but somehow were born lame, know-it-all parents. There was some equally lame rule book that told them how to do all the awful parenting stuff they constantly doled out. My parents ran us to practices, helped with homework, did the dishes, laundry and everything in between without ever getting tired because that what parents were made for. Their world did not exist outside of being my Mom and Dad. And they made it look easy.

Of course I was all wrong. They had their own problems and exhaustions. My words and actions hurt them more than I would ever understand until I became a parent myself.

And of course the sweetest revenge of all is now they are the grandparents and I am the parent and they get all the fun stuff and I get to clean up the poop and run the errands and fall exhausted onto my pillow at night, wondering how my parents ever made it through.

Can we just quit writing and reading articles that tell us that no mom is doing it all, because we all know we are not. It should be a non-topic at this point. We all choose priorities and then scrape by on the rest.

Lets just share the truth and let others feel good about it.

I shared a picture of my messed up, dirty, disgusting kitchen on Facebook and put my ugly out there for everyone to see. That picture got more likes and comments than most cute pictures of my kids. Why? Because we want to know we aren't the only one struggling. So I put my failures out there for you all to see, not because I want sympathy, or because I think I've got it rough (my problems are largely first world problems), but I put them out there in hopes that you will feel a little less alone and a little more like you can handle this messy life we are walking through together.

For example:

I was running late for a church meeting last Sunday. I was feeling frustrated and got there with exactly two minutes to spare. The other two Moms got there even later than me and they felt bad about themselves.

My daughter came in at the end of the meeting and needed me to fix the ponytail in her hair. The other moms were impressed that I had styled her hair to begin with. One confessed she had only had time to brush her daughters hair but didn't have the time to put it up, the other said she just pulled a ponytail around the rat nest in the back of her daughters hair.  I told them the truth, my daughter did her hair herself in the car and as I spun her around I found the rubber pony severely knotted into her hair and discovered that although she had dressed herself and at first glance appeared presentable, the back of her dress was still unbuttoned, waiting for me to notice.

We all had a good laugh about what seemed like personal failures that morning and bonded over the struggle to present a good facade. Admitting that their is no facade, just moms doing our best and calling it good enough. We are all like my four year old, appearing to have it together till you turn us around and reveal the knots and the unfinished mess that we really are.

The mess is good enough. Just showing up and doing your best (and sometimes not your best because you are just too tired) but at least giving it an effort is what being a good parent is all about.

Hold your head up high, whatever, however you are doing it, you will not be judged by me. I will salute you as I pass your screaming kid in the grocery store, I will give you a sympathetic smile as you juggle getting kids in and out of cars, and as I learned yesterday, I will most definitely laugh out loud with you as your toddler runs smack dab into a 15 foot tall lamp post (because seriously toddlers are the best/worst).

Go get it, you are amazing.

P.S. That's the only title I could think of while nursing a baby, typing and taking breaks to clean up pee. Here's hoping for a great day! If not, I'll try again tomorrow.


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