Every day it feels like I’m moving through a mess. I can’t even make it through the front door without tripping over boots, coats and school bags. It doesn’t get much better as you walk through my house or the rest of my life for that matter. Like the kitchen table for example. Here is one I think all families can relate to.

My kitchen table, a perfect fit for four chairs, is always a mess and by mess I mean sticky from the grape jelly, spilled hot chocolate, and glue. I mean cluttered with art supplies because my boys are going through a crazy arts and crafts phase. I mean toys. I mean dirty dishes because obviously, and yet I’ve already done the dishes once today. I mean whatever gadget my husband is soldering at the moment. I mean socks, underwear and shoes because where does everything in the free world get tossed . . . 

I mean life—and such a beautiful mess it is. I won’t kill myself trying to keep it clean.

Moms, if we allowed ourselves to see the mess for what it really is, never ever would we consider it or ourselves a mess. We wouldn’t feel the need to make excuses or apologies when unexpected company drops by. I’m not sorry for the mess and NO I’m not lazy or lousy housekeeper. There are four people living here who love spending time together, why would I spend every spare minute scrambling to hide such beautiful evidence of a happy family?

Yes the floors get swept, the dishes get done, the bathroom gets scrubbed and you can bet the kids pitch in and do their share. However, our favorite board games are always sitting out, and lately Legos strewn about (because family time). The couch cushions are on the floor (because they make the perfect pirate’s ship) and pillows are scattered like rocks (because the floor is lava and if you touch it you die).

My desk is piled with work (because God is always providing). My to-do list is never-ending, and often what I hope to achieve this week ends up on next week’s list (because life just doesn’t fit into an assigned window of time). My calendar looks worse than my to-do list (because the kids have a growing interest in things and in order to figure out their talents, likes and how to be contributing members of society there is no avoiding it).

All this can quickly weigh a mom down into believing she is a hot mess. The guilt of running late, missing appointments, and the pile of boots at the front door turns into this giant mess, and instead of seeing it for what it is, we assume we are failing, falling flat on our faces. This is the moment we need to take a deep breath. This is the moment we need to bite our tongues. This is the moment we need to take a step back and change our perspective on things.

This isn’t mess. This is the reality of a thriving and functioning family. This mess of toys, piles of laundry and the kids doing a cannonballs off the couch into the middle of it all is a blessing. We need to stop letting our blessings become our frustrations. We need to stop feeling guilty because we are incapable of organizing, scrubbing, and perfecting every part of life. We need to let the mess go and opt for playing with the kids, spending time with a friend, dating our husbands, freely giving of ourselves, and making that much-needed “me” time.

In the end, our kids won’t remember the mess, but they will remember the time we took to play with them. Our real friends won’t comment on the mess, but instead give a hand with the dishes while visiting. Our husbands (if they even notice the mess) will only remember how we showed our love to them. We won’t be remembered for how organized the pantry was, but for our hospitality and giving spirits. And our “me” time will fill our cups, making everything else possible.

So why, moms, are we letting perfect steal our joy? Why is it so hard to put the dishrag down and accept that this isn’t a mess, but life at its finest? We moms are not a hot mess. Our homes and hectic schedules aren’t mess. Don’t forget, we were “fearfully and wonderfully” made not to be maids enslaved to what society deems to be a mess, but to live a fulfilling life God hand-selected for us.

That is not a mess—that is a gift and it includes the crumbs!

Jen Miller

My name is Jennifer Miller, but I prefer simply Jen. I live in Hawley, MN. It is a small town built along the railroad tracks and surrounded by fields. I married my high school sweetheart in 2005 and we have two little boys, Jack (5) and Grey (3). Motherhood took me by surprise just before my 30th birthday and since then I have been stay at home mom and have loved every minute of the craziness. I am a staff writer for the Hawley Herald and do most the work from home. Being an introvert it took me out of my comfort zone, but so worth it because I love writing. It is something I do every day and it allows me to be home with my boys.