Cleaning Up Messes


Finding the beets upside-down in the vegetable drawer first thing in the morning, their bright red juice settled into the cracks, almost did me in.


"I'm always cleaning up messes," I grumped to my husband. "I've been doing it forever."


After pulling out the whole drawer, taking out the veggies, some salvageable and some crimson-stained and headed for the garbage, and using lots of those precious Lysol wipes and paper towels (I still have PTSD when I use them), I looped back to what I had just said.


"I'm always cleaning up messes. I've been doing it forever."


Nothing is truer for a mom.

Physical messes.

Poopy diapers that have somehow gone all the way up the back.

Legos strewn all over the family room floor.

Throw-up because of a teen's poor choice.

Dishes in sink from 20-something's midnight cooking spree.


Emotional messes.


Toddler tantrums because of God-knows-what.

Tears over mean middle school girls at lunch tables.

Hearts broken by first crushes.

Dreams shattered over college rejections.


As I plopped down on my office couch, something hit me like a ton of bricks.


What about my own messes?


The ones that I try to hide as best I can?

The kind that leak out and get all over?

The messes I don't have time for because I'm cleaning up everyone else's?


What about those?


If I cover them up, they'll still be there.

If I don't turn them right-side-up, they'll keep leaking and getting all over.

If I don't make space to clean them up (and for me in the process), they will just keep adding to the other ones I didn't clean up yet and so on and so on and so on.


So yup.


What about my own messes?

What can I do about them?


Unhide. Uncover. Do it any which way.


Tell a friend.

Pray to the One who loves me.

Write it down.


Turn them right-side up.


Get much-needed help.

Talk to a counselor.

Go on some meds.


Make space to clean them up. Whatever it takes.


I am a priority.

I have permission to take care of me and clean up my messes.

I am allowed to love myself.


So yup.


Moms are the mess cleaner-uppers.


Always have been.

Always will be.


And the most important messes we will ever clean up are our own.

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