White woman throwing a lacrosse ball in the air.

Motherhood & Chaos: Why It’s Not Our Fault

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Today, I’m circling back to a topic near and dear to my heart: the whirlwind of overwhelm. Specifically, the overwhelm that stems from navigating life’s incessant household chaos. For years, I’ve been under the illusion that I must be missing something. Society has whispered relentlessly in my ear, “If only you were more mindful, simplified your life, got more organized, planned better, invested more into that one magic solution, then, THEN you would have peace in your home.” Yet, no matter my efforts, chaos has clung to me like glitter on my cheeks at a craft party—there’s not a lot there, but no matter what I do, I can’t get rid of it completely.

The Endless Battle Against Chaos

Let me be clear, Team: I have thrown everything but my youngest child at the problem of taming the chaos. Prayer, meditation, support groups, retreats, seminars, online courses, hypnosis, more sleep, less sleep, organizing my kids’ clothes by day, delegating laundry duties, delegating household chores, embracing “no,” welcoming “yes,” counseling, and even throwing money at the problem. I have been all-in striving for that “serenity” they speak of,Team, but alas, the predicament persists. Until I started thinking…

Do we approach our accountant friends during the chaos of tax season? Do we suggest they’re not meditating enough, or ask if they’ve tried decluttering their offices, eating healthier, or getting more sleep? And what about our friends who are in the process of moving? Do we tell them, “Moving is usually so peaceful. Perhaps your lists aren’t efficient enough. Have you thought about a more comprehensive cataloging system?” For our friends going through a breakup or divorce, do we advise them, “Have you tried counseling? Maybe everything would fix itself if you just sought help.” Of course, we don’t. Why? Because we recognize that some phases of life are inherently chaotic, far beyond the reach of any well-intentioned strategy.

Societal Expectations vs. Reality

Here’s why I’m fired up today, Team: The daily disorder and confusion in my home has nothing to do with what someone is or isn’t doing, it has to do with having a family with offspring in the first place! But society has a knack for deluding mothers into thinking that if they take the time to get the recipe juuust right, they could quell their unquellable mayhem. Society’s message to moms is a load of complete commonwealth crap, and it just slaps another colossal layer of burden onto a woman already battling a Herculean list of obligations. Having gone from diapers to driver’s licenses with my kids, I now know that no amount of anything is going to completely eliminate chaos from a home with children. These childrearing years are inherently unpredictable. The fact that parents’ lives are muddled with messiness and mishaps does not mean they are doing anything wrong. 

A Heartfelt Apology and a New Perspective

With that thought in mind, I need to extend a huge, heartfelt apology. If I have ever made you feel like you need to add “eradicate all household chaos” to your already impossible to-do list, I owe you a Diet Coke. Or better yet, I should come pick up all your kids and your spouse so you can enjoy every mom’s favorite treat: Having the entire house to herself! Now, that’s what I call a peace treaty!

So let’s make sure we’re not blaming ourselves, or anyone else, for not being able to stop a storm. Like we spare our accountants any blame during tax season, let’s extend the same grace to moms and dads. Especially now because spring is here, friends, and Mama’s about to drop a lot of (lacrosse) balls around here! Let’s embrace those tiny ungrateful twerps and all the discomfort they breed!

Join the Conversation: Your Thoughts on Household Chaos

Next week we’re going to chat about one reminder that can help eliminate a little chaos in the spring, but until then, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Have you ever felt like society puts pressure on moms to do all the things, and also avoid all the pandemonium? Share your stories in the comments below. I love hearing from you!

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  1. I always love reading your blogs. This one especially hit home!!

    • KIM! So lovely to hear from you.
      It’s always wonderful to know when topics resonate with people.
      Thank you for taking the time to reach out~

  2. Right! I love your imaginary scenario of telling someone who is moving to make better lists! It brings home the impossibly high standards women are encouraged to set. I believe a lot of that crappy message started in women’s magazines at the turn of the 20th century. For at least a hundred years in magazines and now online, tantalizing curated collections of articles told women to be sweet, old fashioned and thrifty and at the same time pushed them to spend money on gadgets and the latest thing. Still does. Pushes us to be beautiful and perfect while also cooking and eating crap. Pushes us to simplify while acquiring things. Etc. it’s a big lie! Everything is kind of all over the place, wonderful human. As you have captured so beautifully here.

    • I LOVED IT ALL, but especially: “Pushes us to simplify while acquiring things.”

      As always, so wonderful to read your reflection.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, it means a lot to me.
      Thanks Christine!

  3. It’s like you read my mind some days and know exactly how I’m feeling and I need to read. Love ya.

    • I’m so happy you checked in, Jennifer…
      Ships passing through lacrosse season — it’s a beautiful, chaotic life.

      So wonderful to hear from you~

Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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