honesty · motherhood

Motherhood Messes

I’m participating in another week of The Mother Blog’s #MotherhoodMonday series and this weeks topic is all about Motherhood Messes.

This immediately made me think of all the things people don’t tell you about motherhood, especially the messy parts. From the moment of conception it’s all rainbows and butterflies. No one says good luck with the constipation or third degree tearing. Which I get, that might be a little traumatic, especially for a first time mom, but the moment a tiny human came out of my body I really wished someone would have told me just a tiny bit more about the mess to follow his arrival. I mean fundal massages? WHAT. THE. EFF.

While birth and postpartum are all terribly messy (both physically and emotionally I might add), one mess of motherhood I’m currently living is POTTY TRAINING. Holy cow has that been full of some shit. Ha! I just made myself giggle.

I was terrified of this stage. I heard a few horror stories here and there. Most of them were related to parents desperately wanting to potty train, but their kid NOT wanting to cooperate so I was cool being patient. Just waiting till he was ready. Well he got ready real quick and before I knew it I was learning all about the mess of teaching your kid how to not crap his pants anymore.

Turns out potty training is a lot like house training a dog. This is one of those things I wish someone would have told me. I mean I heard about pee on walls (cause boys) and I remember vague references about accidents happening, but no one freaking told me my kid might start taking a dump on. the. floor. No lie, dude would stand right next to his potty and shit on the tile (thank God we don’t have carpet). Ya know, kinda like how your dog would walk right past that pee pad and lift their leg to your couch? Which speaking of, they should make pee pads for tiny humans that smell like Paw Patrol or something. Did I just invent something amazing?

Another thing I wish someone would have told me is that potty training is a crock of shit. Ha! I just giggled again. SO MANY people say “he/she is potty trained now” like they are done. Well you know what I’ve discovered? It’s a damn lie. Sure, my kid is peeing on the potty like a boss. He even decided to poo IN THE TOILET (one time). But can he wipe his own ass? Um negative. Can he get up in the middle of the night to pee? Double negative. And I’m sure as hell not ready to start waking him up to do that either. I mean we just got done with this no sleeping shit (another lie, you literally NEVER sleep again). But seriously, I won’t consider my job done until dude can walk into a bathroom completely unprompted and come out with a clean ass, hands and toilet seat.

All this got me thinking about a common thread though. When I think about all the things people don’t tell you, the messy stuff they are too scared or worried or in denial about to say out loud, I realize the biggest thing we withhold about mothering is the fact that it’s a PROCESS. Take postpartum for example. Our culture of course puts a time stamp on it. 6 weeks. That’s when you usually get the clear from your doc to resume “normal” activities, but who the eff decided on a norm??? Postpartum is anything but normal and it comes in every variation and form.

The same goes for birth actually. We have this idea of how things will go exactly, a birth plan we set out to achieve from the beginning, but birth is like the ultimate journey of letting go and trusting the process. Seriously though, the more I type the more I realize this relates to every single aspect of mothering. Newborn haze? Trust the process. Breastfeeding? Trust the process. Maternity leave ending? Trust the process. Threenager? Trust the process. Potty training? Trust. the. process.

Trusting the process. It’s actually a therapeutic term drilled in my brain during grad school. Unexpressed feelings are a major reason why people experience difficulties and distress and sharing your thoughts and feelings in a safe and supportive environment is like the founding work of therapy. If that initial trust is never built then you can’t be helped. Period.

That’s the thing about motherhood messes. They are unexpressed. Birth trauma or disappointment, postpartum depression or anxiety, sleep deprivation, breastfeeding struggles, mom guilt about working or not working or both, wanting to call your threenager an asshole (maybe that’s just me but hey someone had to say it) These are just some of the difficulties we might face during the process of motherhood and unfortunately a safe and supportive environment to vent about the mess of it all isn’t always the norm in our culture.

I wrote about this last week when talking about my motherhood motivations. I spoke to my enormous need to find my tribe. The group of mamas that make me feel safe and supported. The ones who embrace the mess of motherhood and the unique journey we each have.The women who don’t tell me to suppress my feelings, but instead trust through the process right alongside me. Even the shitty (pun intended) potty training process 😉

So I say screw the norm. Motherhood is beautiful. It fills us with immense and overwhelming amounts of joy. But it’s also ugly and messy and downright HARD. So let’s stop putting this expectation to do all the things “right” or within a certain time frame. Let’s stop focusing so much on finishing first or faster or better. Cause there is no end. There is no right. It’s a process all it’s own. A beautiful mess that goes way too fast so just slow down and enjoy the ride.

trust the process

Don’t forget to check out all the other mamas participating this week:


Amber Joy



13 thoughts on “Motherhood Messes

  1. I am a bio mother and an adoptive mother too…some might find it interesting to know that there are so many things that happen to an adoptive mama afterwards too! It is very similar in a different way but very much messy!!!


  2. You are like one huge truth bomb all the time, and I love it. I despise the newborn phase, and my baby wasn’t even difficult. I’m seriously dreading weeks 36 of pregnancy-6 months old baby for our next one. I wish I didn’t have to be present for any of it. But everyone is always like”enjoy it because they grow up so fast.” And I’m like “thank god that time doesn’t stand still.”


    1. Omg yes. While I totally get the whole the days are long but life is short (and believe me I have moment’s where I crumble with sadness at my babies growing), I mostly understand that the present reality in front of me is also really effing hard. All of pregnancy and all of those squishy newborn days are exactly what keeps me holding off to have more. I mean I hope we will do it again one day, but for now I just need a lil more sleep 🙂


  3. Whenever I get to read your words, I feel like I am wearing a comfortable sweater that I have kept since high school, or like I am looking into a mirror and my subconcious is communicating a deeply important message via osmosis. You are able to say the things that we are all carrying, but rarely say aloud; and it is SO comforting. “Trust the process,” is going to be my newest affirmation. (Wishing you happy mama vibes with the whole potty “training” thing….oldest is almost seven years old here, and I am still stepping into pee on the floor.)


    1. Seeeeeeee all those people that say they are done potty training are damn liars!!! I envision stepping on pee for awhile now haha! Thank you so much for your beautiful, kind, and validating words! I could say similar things about your writing!!!


  4. So much truth! As moms we tell each other so many lies about what we’re going through. “Oh, she was potty trained at 18 months”, “He’s only 6 weeks old and sleeps through the night”, and “I feel great” ( not specific to any phase of motherhood, its a lie cuz once you have a kid, you never feel great). We need to be honest with each other, because only other mothers can understand the whole motherhood thing.


  5. So very true. It fills us with joy but yes is so very hard. I have a 3.5 month old so have left the newborn haze but still find the ups and downs amazing. And about potty training, I so don’t look forward to that. There have been a lot of posts I’ve read recently about it, and it just does not sound fun.


  6. I was pissed at people post-birth, like why didn’t anyone mention half this stuff? Jerks
    Oh potty training, right there with ya… I hate wiping someone else’s butt!


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