My years of being called “Mommy” are long past. At the ripe old age of 44, I am looking forward to the birth of my sixth grandchild any time now. Over time, I have learned many lessons on being a parent… many are things you younger Moms have yet to even imagine. I have often thought of writing to each of you, hoping to impart wisdom and help make your own journeys a bit easier. Something always held me back, though: what makes me so arrogant to believe that anything I learned or have to say will be of any value at all in the face of today’s challenges? I sat back and commented on articles whenever I could find words to convey something uplifting and otherwise held myself in check – until today. My own “baby,” herself a Mommy to the most amazing little two-year-old boy on the planet with her daughter due very soon posted an adorable photo on Instagram that hit my Facebook feed. As I grinned that special goofy Nana grin, the smile faded as I read her caption: “Please excuse the explosion of toys…”
Enough, y’all. My daughter is by far not the only Mommy I see apologizing all over social media for something or another. Do you have any idea how many photos and videos my daughters have convinced me NOT to share of my babies because they felt their house was too much of a disaster to be posted on social media? I mean, seriously – God forbid the rest of the world see that you cannot eat off their floors every moment of every day. I have had it, Moms everywhere! YOU should have had enough of this, as well.
WHY are you continually apologizing if there are toys or a few outfits in the background of an otherwise great photo? Who cares if nothing else in that picture of your little one is not perfect? You are choosing not to share that moment with the rest of us – your friends and family who adore you and that precious face in the photo – because of some weird insecurity. Guess what? NO ONE GIVES A CRAP!
Stop it. Stop apologizing because your little one is not perfectly put together. Stop saying you are sorry when there are toys on the floor, a basket of unfolded clothes off to the side or even a complete disaster in the living room. We get it. You have a child – or several of them. I replied to my daughter’s comment today by saying: “why would you be ashamed of this? There are no dirty dishes or rotten food lying about. There is not trash piled high. Your baby boy is not surrounded by filth. You should be happy and proud that you have a happy, healthy and well-adjusted toddler who loves to play. Yes – you cleaned twenty minutes ago and those toys are already everywhere again. Camden chooses to live life out loud… and boy oh boy is he loud at times. Too many children cannot do the same. So many live in that filth you somehow have come to perceive that is in the background of your photo. Suck it up, buttercup. Until those little ones are long gone from your home, it will NEVER BE COMPLETELY CLEAN for long. When the day comes that it finally is, I promise you will shed a tear and wish that mess back.”
My own apartment is stupid clean as I look around. It even smells clean. Four of my grandbabies are out in Connecticut while I live here in Indiana where I grew up. I see them four times a year and it crushes me heart when I’m not with them. Their momma actually apologizes to me when I FINALLY get there after months apart if their home is not spotless. WHAT?! I don’t give a crap about any of that. The only thing that matters to me during those precious three weeks is soaking up every single moment – every hug, every kiss and all of the moments that I can store until the next time. Leave the stupid dishes in the sink until tomorrow and spend time with me once the kids are asleep, my girl, because you and I don’t get to see each other often enough. Laundry can wait until then, as well. I will even help you do it! Let’s just sit here and enjoy a glass of wine and laugh about every silly thing those amazing kids have done today. I miss you, my beautiful and amazing oldest girl, so much that it hurts me every day. I am proud of you – the Mommy you are and the way you are raising those babies. I’m NOT proud that you think you have to be perfect. I hope I did not teach you that. If it is a product of our “times,” then our times frankly suck.
To my youngest – I know how exhausted you are. We live less than fifteen minutes apart and yet I rarely see you. You have been working full time, going to college full time and managing a two-year-old who is all boy while being pregnant. Why did you apologize for his toys being in that hilarious picture of him with his silly new pose for the camera? Do you really think I – or anyone else who loves you both – would have even noticed if you had not mentioned it?
I would give anything to have a mess in this too-quiet apartment right now. It would mean that my family is around me, living life loudly WITH ME – the way it was meant to be.