Moms: Embrace the Mess And Toss the Mason Jars!
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By Kate Buckholz Berrio, Contributor - June 28, 2016

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I don’t know the exact moment it happened but I finally stopped seeing the mess and chaos and started seeing a home. I wish life could be as simple as mason jars and freshly cleaned floors-- but what raucous fun we’d all be missing out on then.

 

According to the internet, just about anything can be shaken in a mason jar these days: salad, shampoo, cocktails, coffee… (my sanity?) As I scroll past pin after pin, tweet after tweet, I find myself equal parts hating mason jars and wishing I could somehow find the dedicated passion to post things as innocuous and tidy as mason jar recipes. 

Like, “homemade sunscreen you can eat AND slather for summer fun!” I find myself envious (read: actually a little spiteful) of these pinning mamas-- and what I presume to be their spectacularly clean, beautifully organized and absolutely clutter and fur free homes (read: lives). I can almost smell the bleach mixed with lemon as I type this.

Now let me introduce you to mine home. I am sitting on a couch with several tumbleweeds of cat hair floating across it, staring at a toy chest overflowing; an octopus leg stretching its way upward, crying for help as it’s sucked in with the superheroes and mixed up Lego pieces. There’s a light saber to my left and yesterday’s coffee mug to my right. The dining room table was triumphantly free of clean clothes for about 7 minutes on Sunday, but now back to its creeping state of disarray; the socks forever unabashedly mismatched.

The end of the school year combined with my full-time job and current side-gig in a show that opens this week means that I have had absolutely zero time, energy or actual craps-to-give about the state of our home. The kids finished school, we did all the happy dancing and promptly dropped their backpacks near the front door, where they continue to sit. And likely will for some time. I used to be the type of person who would absolutely lose her shit over stuff like that. Except.

Here’s what I’ve learned in the last year of life; in the year that we went from a family of four to a family of shared custody; in which I found out I had thyroid cancer, then was cancer free; in which I started writing in earnest; in which I ran my first half marathon; in which I allowed myself to love again: there is so very much more to life than CHECKING off the boxes, than your home being PERFECT and the IMAGE you project to onlookers. Stop putting a filter on everything and just be.

What counts is the laughter I hear coming from the backyard as my boys dig in the dirt. The couch snuggles with a kid curled on each side of me. The cat sleeping in the sunny patch on the kitchen floor. The mama bird who chose our front porch planter as the perfect place to make her nest and lay four little, speckled eggs.

My vow for this season is to be simple; to say no to all the commitments, activities and NOISE life presents us with (after all, isn’t that my job as a Mom? To give them a childhood?). To spend more time playing on the floor, regardless of pet fur. To jump in the pool feet-first. To catch waves on boogie boards until the salt prunes our toes. To stay up a little too late watching beloved movies and slurping drippy popsicles. We will put down the screens and look into each other's faces. We will make memories to live in the small folds of our mind's eye and the warm places beneath our hearts. 

I don’t know the exact moment it happened but I finally stopped seeing the mess and chaos and started seeing a home. I wish life could be as simple as mason jars and freshly cleaned floors-- but what raucous fun we’d all be missing out on then.

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