When I host playgroups once a month, my house is spotless. A little dusty maybe, but I’ve vacuumed. My playroom floor is visible. I’ve got coffee brewing and likely a baked treat on the counter. You’ll see all of my childrens’ crafts hung up rather than piling on a table. As you glance from my 6-month-old to my 2-year-old to my 3-year-old and then at me, you may think, “Whoa she has it all together.”
I don’t. Neither do any of the other mom friends you have compared yourself to.
There is a growing trend on social media for people to post their cleaning routines, their get it all done videos.
I’ve watched them myself or read their posts, wondering how on Earth I could be failing so miserably.
My laundry pile in my closet beckoned, my dusty floorboards seemed much more noticeable, my meal plan was not nearly as glamorous as I tossed goldfish on the table sans plate for my toddler just to stir some boiling water on the stove.
Until one day it hit me. Where are their children?! This question wasn’t to mom shame, I simply didn’t see them present anywhere in the video. Room by room, the mom would get to work, yet there were no kids in sight. As I started watching or following those mothers more, I realized this was curated content they knew people wanted to see.
They weren’t wrestling their vacuum away from their helpful 2-year-old screeching that they wanted a turn! I didn’t catch glimpses of them leaving a room of folded laundry only to come back and see toddlers using it as a launching pad or pretend pile of leaves.
I thought of all the times I’ve tossed my children’s jackets on, handed my husband the baby carrier, and told him to get out of Dodge for an hour or two so I could speed clean before company came the next day.
Maybe your friend has a mother’s helper or a grandparent who comes and gives them a break or a neighbor they can send their child over to.
Or maybe, they are like me and simply clean when they know people will be over because I don’t have any of those things.
In rare cases, they could be a “super mom” with printed schedules and homemade cleaning supplies. But, you are a super mom too although your strengths look different than theirs.
What I’m trying to say is, we all have things we struggle with. We all have moments we cry, or times we shoo unexpected visitors onto the front porch and slam the door behind us, kicking toys out of the way as we sit on our rockers.
Do I wish I could have it all together, like some may think I do? Yes. But I don’t.
What I do have are memories. Memories of crafts completed, baked treats made with assistance from toddlers, toys scattered from fun and laughter.
One day, that mess will be gone. So will they. Then, maybe I’ll miss it.
Either way, if you’re doing the best you can, then you’re doing all right.
That’s all any of us are trying to do. Now, when you come over to playgroup, don’t go snooping in my closet, that’s where I’ve stacked everything.
Originally published on the author’s blog