On Tuesday, I took a photo of a shelf in our house that
is supposed to hold some of Cameron’s books and toys in our kitchen. The purpose of my photo was to show what life is like in my home.
But then I realized that this photo looks nothing like Cam’s toy shelf. No, as soon as everything is put away on the shelf, Cam rushes over and starts pulling things off, dropping them on the floor, flipping through the books and hitting the musical buttons on his toys. If you hang out in my house, you have to watch your step while walking through the kitchen to avoid all of Cameron’s special played-with treasures strewn haphazardly around the floor.
This is reality. This is what my life looks like all the time.
And it makes me feel like I’m doing a terrible job.
Because it isn’t just the toys that look like this.
It is everything. My entire house.
I don’t try to live in a pigsty. Really I don’t. And I swear, my house was clean and ready for guests on Sunday. I had a goal to keep things neat. I really really wanted to maintain it.
And I failed.
The problem is, it is totally pointless and nearly impossible to clean during the day while Cameron is awake. So things start piling up. When I clean up Cameron’s toys, they become infinitely more appealing and he immediately starts to play with them. And I can barely open the dishwasher without my little monkey boy trying to climb into it. And unless I want to scare the poop out of my baby, I don’t dare vacuum without my husband home to provide comfort. So as each day progresses, the mess just piles up.
And I feel so powerless to do anything about it.
When I was staring at this disaster that is my home, I realized that my house is kind of like motherhood. There is so much in motherhood that seems completely out of my control. So much that makes me feel like the world is crashing in around me. So much that feels insurmountable.
And yet, in all the mess, there is something special. There is a story of laughter and love and relationship. There is evidence of a family. There is beauty in the chaos.
Why have toys if you can’t play with your baby?
Why have wine if it can’t be shared with friends?
Motherhood is full of dirty diapers and milk stained shirts and crying and screaming and sleepless nights.
But as I clean that little bum, my son and I share tickles and giggles and kisses. And those innumerable milk stains come from hours of snuggles. And no matter how many night I spend awake with my little man, I still miss him so much when he’s asleep that I tiptoe into his room and listen to his soft breathing.
Motherhood is messy. Motherhood is tough. Motherhood is chaotic.
Motherhood is beautiful.
Today, I gave myself a photography project: find the beauty in the mess. This is what I came up with. (click through to see the all the photos individually),
Now excuse me while I go clean up my kitchen.