Real house.
Real mess.
This my real life 90% of the time.
Ok, so it's 99.9%.

I posted that mess on Instagram last week.  It's a pretty good picture of my house on a regular day.  And yes, I was sitting on the couch, watching NickJr, and looking at Instagram, then Twitter, then Facebook, and then....

I had no desire or motivation to clean that house.  Why?  Why bother, when as I'm picking up the last of the stuffed friends, they will bring out ponies, or miniature squinkies.  Why, when they will just bring out more books or paper dolls?  Why bother?

Well, because the "good" mother inside me is telling me to get up off my ass and do something productive.  Since, getting two kids dressed, one off to preschool on time or close to it, and then making breakfast, lunch, soon to be dinner, and grocery shopping, is not something productive.  Having a clean house, and spotless floors is productive.  Having hung and folded laundry is productive.  But diaper changing, hair in pigtails, and clean faces isn't.

By who's standard?  Well, my inner "perfect" mother, but also most likely my neighbor.  Or that perfectly polished mom at preschool who looks runway ready at 7:45.  Do they really hold a standard?  Is there a standard?  Sure there is, because I would die, if you wanted to use my bathroom in my bedroom.  And it's actually clean right now, save for that pile of towels.

Bagels, cream cheese, sprinkles.
When you just want your kid to eat
something besides Oreos for breakfast.

So where do these expectations come from?  Leave it to Beaver was 50 plus years ago.  June Cleaver is dead, well the idea of her.  I grew up with Roseanne.  Now that's a model I can aspire too.  Meals from boxes, kids watching mind rotting TV, the couch covered with an afgan.  Then something happened, we cleaned up, someone invented Pinterest to make us feel more inferior, and our houses are supposed to look like a pottery barn catalog.

In case you are wondering, mine does not.  Even on a good day.

So how do we get over this?  How do we feel good about our homes, and our marriages, and our motherhoods?  How do we believe that we are the mothers we are supposed to be?

We check our out of date expectations at the door.

Our expectations of motherhood were created as young girls.  Our expectation of motherhood was sealed the day we got our first baby doll.  The one that's eyes closed when we laid them down.  The doll that came with the bottles that were already filled, and were emptied with the tip of a hand.  They had perfectly starched dresses, white turned down socks, and mary janes.  They were perfect babies, and we were perfect mommies.  And our expectation of perfection was confirmed.

So here we are, women, with our real babies.  And their eyes certainly do not close when we lay them down.  The milk in the bottles donesn't magically appear when you tip it right side up.  The starched clothes are now covered in baby puke or poop.  And we have instantly failed our expectations.  Now we are failures at motherhood.

However, our expectations were under perfect circumstances.  Anyone can be a perfect mom given perfect circumstances.  Real life isn't perfect.  It's messy and loud.  Didn't our baby dolls sleep through the night.  Didn't we decide we were going to marry prince charming.  See what I mean.  Take out those perfect circumstances and we have failed.  A sleepless, napless baby will not deliver our mothering happiness like we thought.  We don't all get to marry prince charming, no matter how fabulous our husbands are.  We don't get woodland creature friends or a french speaking candelabra to do our house work. 

So we are left feeling miserable and tired.  Because it's not what we thought it would be or what we thought we wanted.  It's messy and loud and regretably not perfect.

My fairy Godmother would die!
Cake mix cookies on a time crunch.
Preschoolers can't tell DIY from bakery anyway!
I feel we have to let those expectations go.  We have to set new expectations.  Expectations that are realistic and attainable.  Like a fruit or vegetable at every meal, even if it was frozen, and is served with a side of Mac and Cheese.  Like my five year old sleeping the first half of the night in her bed, and the second in ours.  To expect that happy kids, with a semi-put together mom, watching Nick Jr is better that a clean house on a random Tuesday.  Those kinds of expectations.  They require no prince charming, no perfectly plastic babies, or woodland creatures to pick up toys and sew pearls on my gown.  You get what I mean right?

And sometimes it requires us to "mourn" the mommy life we thought we were going to have, and start enjoying the mommy life we have now.  The one we are living.  With dirty hair instead of ball gowns, fast food dinners instead of gourmet, and kids that require more time outs than the Superbowl.

Because motherhood isn't about perfection.... It's about consistency and love.

Which requires no Fairy Godmother.  Just Starbucks and a good eyecream.

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  1. you are an amazing mother!! a clean house doesn't define you~! i hate cleaning and rather spend time w/ my baby (and blogging) than cleaning! haha that bagel looks SO good btw!

  2. I love you. Have I mentioned that lately? You always seem to write about exactly what I've been going through lately. :)

  3. Love the starbucks and a good eye cream comment. Your blog is so true, Love you Megs!!

  4. I love this post!! This is fantastic! I feel this way all the time. No matter what I do...it doesn't feel like enough.

  5. Oh gosh I love this post. My co-workers and I were just talking about this this morning! I need to get over my desire to have the house clean 100% of the time! I feel like I spend WAY TOO MUCH time cleaning up after my 2 year old! I need to let it go :) Thanks for posting this, I needed to hear this!

  6. Bestill my heart. Just when I think I can't possibly love your blog more, I do. You just described my life. This is why I call myself the Semi-Domesticated Mama. I love this post!

  7. So true! I feel like I'm finally coming to a place where I can embrace who God made me and not want to be everyone else. Comparing is just way too easy and trying to be the perfect Mother is so hard! I'm so glad there really isn't a "perfect mother" and that God designed us to all be different.

  8. ROUND OF APPLAUSE!!! I soooo needed this post today.
    I feel this way most days. Am I doing enough? I should be cleaning, or baking, or re-doing my house, or cooking healthier meals, or running a marathon, or finding more activities for the girls to do, or sewing their clothes, or or or yada yada yada... :) All while raising two toddlers, working, keeping my marriage alive, etc etc.

  9. Word to your mother. No matter how much I clean the messes just come right back. I refuse to spend my life scrubbing base boards and what not. How freaking boring is that. I keep it up, but it will never pass a white glove test if you know what I mean. Sometimes I feel like I got more done at home when I worked outside of it. Here's to Nick Jr, shared beds, and squinkies everywhere. That's my life everyday. xo

  10. What a great post! All those thoughts are so true! I used to worry so much about it but I don't anymore. We're moms now, its ok! Thanks for sharing :)

  11. holy heck - just what I needed to hear right now. And I may re-read this every day of my life!! I have this struggle DAILY. Forget daily, by the minute! And being a step-mom, wondered if I was just an oddball for feeling like this! And I hate feeling like I'm the only one struggling with these thoughts! thank you, thank you and thank you! this is why you are one my absolute favorite bloggers!!! xoxoxo

  12. I am just glad I am not the ONLY mom that has one hot mess in the hizzy! And, I am right there with you when you say 'sitting on the couch looking at Instagram..then Twitter...then Facebook" and God knows what else while us Hyder's are watching Team Umizoomi!

    You rocked the shit out of this post and I am very greatful. Sooo many mothers relate to this "mother life". And, don't those "runway" moms just piss you off!!!

    You would of thought you gave my husband $5000 yesterday just because I told him I made a hair appointment. Do you know how long it has even been since I got my hair cut?

    We loose ourselves sometimes, when we become Mommies. But you are right.. "Because motherhood isn't about perfection.... It's about consistency and love."

    Great post!!! ♥

  13. It's 2:15 and I'm still in my pjs. The house looks like a bomb went off and I don't care. I really don't. It's not about that - its about making memories and loving our kids. Maybe if they see us like this, their expectations of parenthood won't involve perfection. I would like a talking/dancing/singing candelabra though - not for house work - just for entertainment!

  14. I have to say. This is depressing. I'm sorry that you set your expectations so high. I never did, and I love my life. I think perfect is what you make of it. My house is cluttery, but clean. Toys all over, clean clothes drape the back of my couch, stuff on every surface in my kitchen. I stay home with my kids and thats all that counts. We should never compare ourselves to the past or other circumstances, because THEY are not ours.

  15. I am so happy I could cry, Someone else feels the same! I am not alone!!! As I am sitting here, in my jammies, eating left overs, with one boy dressed and the other in his jammies, watching Pinky dinky doo, thinking about why I cant stop reading blogs and get up and do the damn laundry. Everyone has clean clothes, so it can wait a minute.... or a day. My house looks like toys r us on black friday. Every day. And everyday I feel guilty, because of those expecatations I put on myself. THanks Mrs. Cleaver and Mattel. :)

  16. Perfect post, my friend! I know my expectations of myself are set way too high and I need to put them in check more often! Especially now, when my kids are so young.... do I want to spend all day tidying up or playing with them. I want them to remember the fun things we did and how I had time for that. :)

  17. This is one of the best posts I have ever read. I don't have kids or my own home yet, and I'm not married, but you hit it dead on with my expectancies. I find a lot of the time the blog-world leaves me with these expectations as well, the collection of beautiful mums with beautiful children and beautiful homes and apparently great marriages. It's so nice to see real-life posts like this. Gosh, I love your blog Megan. And I love your sprinkle bagels. You are amazing! XO

  18. You have a way with words! I know so many feel this way too. I'm sure you are EVERYTHING in your kids' eyes! I loved the part about the way we saw ourselves as future mothers when we were kids. Dead on with the description of the doll! Love it

  19. This is such an amazing post! You hit the nail right on the head for me! I can't tell you how many times that "failed mom" attitude has creeped up on me. It's so easy to get overwhelmed as a mother, and those standards we've set for ourselves certainly aren't helping anything. This post was a great reminder for me that, hey, it's ok that my couch is covered in folded laundry and at 11 pm the dishes are still overflowing the sink.

    Great post, mama!

  20. New reader here! LOVED this post! Story of my life you attempt to clean as your kids are following behind you making another tornado. I don't know how ppl with kids have a spotless house?!! Well a few of the ones I know have maids. That's just cheating :-).