I apologized to my husband tonight. I told him I was sorry that the house was still a mess. That I was sorry the folded laundry was still on the chair in the living room, the floor of our bedroom, and that chair on my side of the bed that I promised would never be covered in clothes when I moved it in there. I apologized that I signed us (read him) up for another cookie booth on Sunday. That I've RSVP'd for three birthday parties on the same Saturday that all start and stop within a half hour of each. I told him I was sorry my life was such a mess.
I feel like I'm stuck in the middle of the mess. I look at my dining room table and wonder who put all the papers and crayons and Fruit Loops on it. I wonder why I just keep shoving the shit aside when it would take me no more than five minutes to clean it up. I look at my clean laundry and my dirty laundry and see no obvious difference. I keep thinking that I'm missing important notes from school about parties and projects. I wake in the middle of the night and remember that we are out of turkey for lunches or gluten free bread for Caitlin. I just keep wondering if I will ever have my shit together.
Truth is, I've never really had my shit together. Not totally. But somewhere around Mackenzie's second birthday I felt pretty secure as a mother and a wife. My house has never been "company ready". There are always piles to recycle, give away, or throw away. I've never been one of those women who take comfort in cleaning, I've never been a great cook, and I've never found real joy in exercising. But three years ago, I found this groove, this happy place, where I was completely content with the mess. Where I could embrace the chaos, ignore the bullshit, and be happy with the mundane. I didn't even have to try.
Lately I just feel lost. I've never really regained my footing after going back to work full time. Every morning is a struggle, to wake up, to prep and pack lunches, to get two little ladies dressed and ready for school. It's not that I'm incompetent, it's just that the hours between five and eight o'clock in the morning feel like they move at warp speed. It doesn't matter if I wake up at four thirty every morning, I still can't get us out the door before eight? Why is that? I couldn't tell you, because it feels like we do the exact same thing every morning.
For some reason the mess feels bigger and heavier this week. Maybe because the girls reminded me that the leprechaun didn't come to our house and pee green into our toilet. He didn't leave treats in the leprechaun catcher either, but that's probably because we didn't build one. I told the girls that maybe it's because we need to invite the leprechaun to our house, and that maybe if we send him a hand written invitation, he will show up next year. Maybe. I also misplaced a fundraiser worksheet with sixty six dollars in checks attached to it. My mom showed it to me on Saturday while I was getting ready for work, and that was the last thing I remembered about it until she asked me if I had turned it in. I tore my already in shambles house apart looking for it. It wasn't on the dining room table with the other one zillion school papers and crayons and forgotten books and, oh look, Fruit Loops. It wasn't in the recycle bin, or on the bench under the window with the other books I've read and haven't read, and hey there's my lap top cord. And I felt it. I felt that tug, that pull to the dark side. The dark side where you are the quite possibly the worst, most disorganized mother on the planet. And every day I look at myself in the mirror and say, "Get your shit together".
I gave up on the idea of perfection years ago, when I had a baby who broke every rule in the book. Still it wouldn't be so bad if I had just a little balance in my life. If I could put in place a system of prepping lunches at night, or make the commitment to fnot yell at anyone before eight o'clock in the morning, then maybe, just maybe, I'd find some balance. I feel like if I could just do that, the leprechaun thing wouldn't sting so much. The lost fundraiser form would make my cheeks burn every time I thought about it. From the outside I look like a stand up kind of mom, but from the inside I feel like a walking disaster. Why is it that the little things always feel like the biggest failures. My kids are happy and smart and healthy, so why does a lost form or the lack of green pee in my toilet feel bad enough to make me eat my feelings?
One day I'll find my sea legs again. I'll find that place where the chaos is no longer stifling, where the joy co- exists with the bullshit. I'll know exactly where I put the fundraiser form, and I'll make sure we invite the leprechaun over, I'll even remember to buy gluten free bread before we run out. I had forgotten about the choppy waters of motherhood, the ones that make you feel like you can't sink or swim. For now I'll do my best to tread these waters, to keep my head above them, and on the days I can't, I'll float.
Because if I float, right in the middle of the mess, maybe I won't feel like I'm sinking.