Blue Suit Mom

My house…Pre and Post Motherhood

I very clearly remember the days when I would clean my house and the only thing that would have changed in between dusting my furniture was the dust that settled. No little fingerprints, no toothpaste marks, or whatever else the substance is that sits on my kitchen and bathroom cabinets…. My house was immaculate, just the way I liked it. I set things down and they stayed there. Each night, before bed, my sink was empty, dishes were put away and my counters were sparkling again. No little crumbs on the floor, no toys that I accidentally kick in the morning as I run to the refrigerator to take out a bottle for my 8 month old. Oh, the number of times that I’ve tripped and didn’t drop that little boy. He should get an award for surviving in this circus called my family!

I write this article and I’m using it as an oath to myself to let go of my high standards for cleanliness. It’s not realistic, it’s exhausting, but yet, each night I try to get my house back in order and clean again. It stays that way after the kids have fallen asleep and changes once they’ve awakened.  So, today, I write for you, my fellow mothers, who are struggling to find peace in the chaos.  Here are a few mantras for us to recite out loud and in our heads so we can survive another day…

It’s temporary. This phase shall pass…

Each one of us has survived those first three months when we awakened to the sound of the smallest squeak (or screech) when our little newborn was hungry. I felt like my head was in the clouds all day, everyday. But yet, I survived and even, willingly, went through 2 more phases of that.  Perhaps it’s post-partum amnesia? Perhaps it’s hormones that the good Lord has given to us that make use remember the cuteness of our little baby and forget about the labor pain, fatigue, and terrible twos, threes, fours, fives, and so on…

So I suppose this too shall pass. That is, my children will grow out of this phase of not being aware of the towel that was just dropped, the dirty underwear that was kicked into the closet, and the fact that the box of strawberry yogurt covered O’s that just spilled is now turning into a concert… that keeps on giving into my family room, bathroom, and my toes….

It’s temporary. Each phase of my children’s development is temporary and will pass.  Let’s repeat that again as we ignore the screaming of my 4 year old who can’t find her Barbie’s pink high heel shoe in the mess of Barbie shoes that her brother is trying to eat right now.

One day, my beautiful children will leave my house (and it will be mine, all mine, again!)

This past week, my neighbor and friend’s son left for college. The night before he was to leave his home of 18 years, his siblings, and his parents, we all shared a few tears as we said good-bye.  I couldn’t believe that the adolescent boy that I met 5 years ago was now a man who was getting ready to leave his home. We were all sad.

But then, it got me thinking. One day, that will be me with my son. Granted, it will be 11 years from now (which feels not so soon enough right now), but I can imagine looking at my son, who will be a man, and see his big baby blue eyes… but not as they are in that moment, but as they are right now. As the 7 year old boy who argues that he NEEDS his IPOD for our car rides or else he will have NOTHING TO DO. As the little baby I gave belly kisses and he smiled, the little boy who went off to pre-school and I cried, the little boy who ran to meet his friend and teacher on the first day of Kindergarten and forgot to say good-bye. (I cried silent tears; he said “I have to go to school now, Mommy!”)

As I’m getting teary eyed about what will happen 11 years from now, I have to remind myself that one day, all 3 of my children will leave, and well, I guess having a neat house will be so very easy, but will it matter?

I must remember that I love these little creatures who wreak havoc..

I do love them so very much. One little ‘I love you’ or ‘Thank you’ or a hug and I’m mush-mush in their arms. I don’t need much and it means a lot to me.

Let me say this to you and to me… a few crumbs, a couple of toys that are not in their labeled bin, and so much laundry to be folded are okay. They are okay. It is okay. You are okay. Say it with me, “It is temporary, one day they will leave (me), and I love them.”

Now sip on your glass of wine and good night!

About the Author:
Dr. Liz Matheis is a clinical psychologist and school psychologist in Parsippany, NJ who provides assessment, psychotherapy, consulting, and advocacy for children and families managing autism spectrum disorders, ADHD and learning disabilities ( She is also a contributor to several popular press magazines.

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