We Do Train Wrecks Here

School started Tuesday.

On Wednesday, my middle school daughter had picture day.

PICTURE DAY. The day after school started! Which felt like a special form of cruelty, asking me to be organized two days in a row. Like the universe was saying, “NO, Beth, it’s not enough to have ONE day’s worth of clean clothes; you’re supposed to keep a whole pile of them clean ALL THE TIME.”

Now, the universe and I have had a long and loving relationship, but I’ve felt lately like he’s become increasingly unreasonable. More demanding. Kind of a punk. As though all that Awesome Cosmic Power has gone to his head. I decided, therefore, that the universe would need to make it up to me by doing my laundry this year, like a timeout or “opportunity to rethink his position” but with natural consequences, which would serve the dual purposes of knocking him off his high horse for a while and maybe, if I was very lucky, making a dent in Mount Laundry. Win/win!

On Thursday, one of my 1st graders was home sick. With diarrhea. Which created more laundry. Also, the eggs froze in the back of my fridge and we were late getting ready for school so I put a couple in my bra to warm them up. Free back-to-school breakfast tip, folks: putting eggs in your bra doesn’t end well. Well played, Universe. Well played.

Today is Friday, which means today is the day my 1st graders reminded me that I’ve been promising to ride bikes with them to school. In Oregon. Where a giant (even for us) rain storm hit last night. With cascading water. And flooded streets. And waterfalls. And also lots of water.  I casually mentioned to said 1st graders that it was raining and implied that we could, perhaps, wait ’til next week to ride our bikes since none of ours come with flotation devices. They collapsed on the floor in tears. And I, as always, played the role of Total Sucker. We rode bikes to school.

Cai’s tire got a flat.

We rode through snow, sleet, and hail. Minus the snow, sleet and hail and plus buckets of rain and mud.

We arrived at school.

Without Cai’s backpack.

And that’s why I arrived at the school again an hour after school started to put two muddy bikes in my car and deliver a missing backpack to my kid. Wet. Bedraggled. Disheveled.

In other words, a mess.

Which makes this morning just like every other morning at our house.

And so, in a fit of honesty, I asked the school secretary whether she’d like me to just go ahead and offer a preemptive apology for all the times I will arrive in her office this year as a raging mess. Forgetting backpacks. And lunches. And permission slips. And to tell her how my kids are getting home. Should I go ahead and say I’m sorry for making her run to and from my kids’ classroom? Should I buy her vats of coffee and cases of wine? “I am a total and complete train wreck,” I said. “I’m so sorry.”

And Heather chuckled and said, “That’s OK. We do train wrecks here.”

We do train wrecks here.

WE DO TRAIN WRECKS HERE.

And oh my word, you guys, can I just say, my heart flew? Flew.

ID-10029740Because with that one phrase, I thought, YES. Yes, we can be here. We can be who we are. We can be our raging mess. We can be embraced for that. Like it’s normal. Like it’s OK. Like we’re OK. And worthy of grace.

And also with that one phrase, Heather summed up all of what we do here. In this online space.

Because we do train wrecks here, too

We do magic and mess. And tragedy and triumph. And chaos and compassion. And sacred and scarred.

The last few days here have exhibited that in spades. People are raw. And messy. And passionate. And scared. And angry. And kind. And unkind. And hurt. And helpful. And healing. And, well, all of it. We’re all of the things. All of us.

I just want you to know that it’s OK. It is. Because we do train wrecks here.

Welcome to the mess.

Love,
Beth

……….

Announcing a Limited Time AMA

Some of you have asked me questions. Particularly on the last post. But it’s hard to tell which questions are rhetorical and which are questions for which you’d really like a reply. I want you to know, I’m not ignoring you. I just would like to engage more sincerely and less, well, volatilely. (Let’s pretend that’s a word, shall we? <— Rhetorical. We’re totally going to pretend volatilely is a word.) So, for a limited time, due to the fact that my kids are in school with all their backpacks thankyouverymuch, but get out of school later today, I’m going to hang out here and answer questions. As many as I can. I’ll let you know when I need to stop.

So here we go. AMA: Ask Me Anything. You know, like how I feel about cheese.

……….

UPDATE: For example, since I can’t post pictures in comments, here’s my answer to Jessica’s question, “Is your house really as messy as you say it is? For really reals?”

photo (78)-001

……….

UPDATE #2: I wasn’t able to be around to answer questions when I planned because, you know, life. So I’m going to leave the AMA open indefinitely. I’ll let you know if I need to close it. For now, if you have questions, feel free to ask them.

……….

 “Light at the End of the Tunnel” image credit to Sura Nualpradid via freedigitalimages.net

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
125 comments
  1. First, I ‘d like to put my vote in for your telling the story about pregnancy/birth of the twins! Second, do you ever do coffee with virtual strangers who you’ve only chatted with a couple times? Is it wrong/creepy/stalkerish that I think your very honest and real humanity and how you share the grace you’ve been given makes me think that you’re SO much fun to talk to?

    Also, I totally wish my sister had gotten a picture of you guys on the bikes when she saw it, lol. 🙂

    1. I DO do coffee with virtual strangers! But you’re not a virtual stranger. I also do coffee with people I know. 😉

  2. I figured I’d leave you a creepy, stalker-y comment, since I think you’re in a book club with a lot of my ex-professors and ex-fellow-students from Fox.

    If I go out to your town, and I see you in Fred Meyer, would it creep you out if I said hi? Would it make you sad if later someone saw you and recognized you and /didn’t/ say hi? Does it vary depending on whether you’re in the middle of a train wreck or safely on course?

    Disclaimer: I still probably wouldn’t say hi, because I’m still shy-ish enough that I likely wouldn’t say hi to someone I had classes with but wasn’t friends with…

    1. I love stalkers because I only have the fun kind. 😉

      I also love Fred Meyer, although they don’t carry Zonkers, so I don’t LOVE them love them.

      Here’s the rule I wish people would abide by: either say hello or do not tell me you saw me. Because if you don’t say hi but send me a message later, then I wonder if I was picking my nose or giving my kids the stink-eye. At least give me a chance to suck in my tummy, you know? And to smile at my kids while I whisper KNOCK IT OFF at them through my teeth.

      Actually, truth is I love meeting people. SAY HI. And don’t wait for the train to be stable… mine never, ever is.

  3. I just found your blog because of someone sharing Dear Mrs. Hall on facebook. I just wanted to comment because I’m especially touched by the suitcase still partly packed from July. Because that sort of thing happens to me ALL THE TIME. We don’t even go places that require suitcases very often. But when we do, they sure don’t get unpacked. And then my girls (all two of them) have this game they like to play where if they find a suitcase, they feel the need to stuff it full of something and then leave it somewhere random.

    I don’t actually have a question. I do agree with the many others that reading your blog gives me the impression that we could be besties if only you lived anywhere near me. Have you ever considered moving to Kansas? It’s a very nice state. (ooh, that was a question!)

    1. Welcome here, Cheri. We’re glad to have you.

      And no. I’ve never considered moving to Kansas. Although I hear you have SUN there, and I’d love to come see it!

      1. Parts of us are semi-desert and the parts that aren’t are also extremely sunny. We also have Wind.

        But mostly we want people to think Kansas is boring because if word gets out that it’s pretty awesome then too many people will move here and that would ruin everything.

  4. I LOVE THIS BLOG !!! i have a 5 month old baby who hhhhaaasssss to sleep on my lap during the day (duh where else would he sleep!) and 3 more so we dont just do train wrecks we are one quite often ….. and my question is which room of the house/ mess makes you the craziest ? and why !

    1. So many to choose from and so little time! It’s a tie between:
      poop smeared on the toilet seat
      pee around the base
      Greg’s whiskers around the bathroom sink
      and toothpaste explosions

      Looks like I have to go with the bathroom.

      1. The husbands whiskers win at my house. Not as gross but I’m not his mom

  5. I love your blog. It gives me hope…. I only have three kids, but most days it seems like 3000!!

    What do you do to regain your composure after a mommy melt down?

    1. Just kidding on drinking. (Well, not really TOTALLY kidding, but you know.)

      Three kids is a lot of kids, Jo. I’ve had “only” three before, and WHEW! It’s a LOT. Also, one kid is a lot of kids.

      Hm. What do I do after I melt down?

      1. I apologize if I need to. My kids are used to hearing “I was wrong and I’m sorry.” I heard that from my parents, and it’s an amazing gift for a kid.
      2. I read entertaining (sometimes smutty) books that aren’t good for the mind but are great for escape.
      3. I eat. This is one I need to watch because I don’t always have a good relationship with food.
      4. I leave home. Sometimes, when Greg comes home, I tag out. I couldn’t do that as much when they were littler, so I tried to plan time ahead.
      5. I write. This is one of the best stress relievers I know.

  6. Heather is the best…I might just cry…by being herself she gave words to help others be themselves. Good words for today…(PS I may have seen you all on your bikes and thought that it was pretty awesome…I bet the kiddos will tell that story in later years with all the laughter and tears mixed together).

  7. Hey Beth! I wanted to second the request of someone who earlier requested that you tell the story of finding out you were pregnant with twins, etc. As a mom of 6 year old twins, I would love to read your story! Plus, I know you’ll tell it in an open and honest way, just as you do your other stories. I love your blog. ‘Cause it makes me feel like I’m not alone in my non-perfection as a mom. Thanks.

    1. 🙂 Thanks, Jaclyn! I answered the “when” about the pregnancy story below… not with a definite time, but still.

  8. So I’m a little offended that the Universe is male.
    And were you wearing the bra when you put the eggs in it?

    1. Absolutely. A bra doesn’t warm eggs alone.

    2. If the Universe were female, would she be having all these problems with it? I think not. 🙂

  9. No questions….but I love you for that picture!!

  10. As everyone else says: I love you. We adopted a sibling group of three and it took me a while to find online resources because for three months all I did was kids needs for 20 hours a day. I was so tired and felt so alone and like I had bitten off way more than I could ever hope to chew in a lifetime. Then I found you. I stopped with the daily floor mopping and started spending more time on the sofa in a pile of children watching inane TV and eating stuff we shouldn’t. I am still looking for that balance that makes me feel like a good mom AND a good housekeeper and wife but I am sure it will come along in 20 years or so of practice. Until ten we do train wrecks here too.

    My question: On your vacation you kept saying “camping” but the photos showed buildings and stories of things knocked off kitchen counters. Did you actually sleep outside and cook over a fire and keep them all alive for ten days because that sounds impossible. Maybe it was “camping” cabin style? If so how many tents? Where did you find to have happy kids for ten days straight? I live in Oregon so we are always on the lookout for fun places to camp with kids.

    1. Hi Jenniffer and HOORAY FOR TAKING IT EASIER ON YOURSELF. That warms my heart.

      To answer your question, YES, we really camp. In real tents. With real stinky kids. And real dirt on my pillow. It’s horrible and awesome.

      But I understand the confusion!

      We took a trip to Sunriver, Oregon (highly recommend!) where my folks rented a house for us at the end of July. NOT camping – that’s where my phone was knocked off the kitchen counter. Then in August, we went on an 8-day trip with my extended family. YES camping. Except one of the nights when we stayed at a cousin’s house. And, when we were camping, we stayed at the state park where another cousin is a park ranger (Fort Flagler in northern Washington on Marrowstone Island in the Puget Sound – also highly recommend!). Since Kinnan’s a park ranger, we had access to his house if we needed anything, although mostly we just raided his beer fridge. 🙂

  11. You are my favourite of all my mom friends ever. EVER.

  12. I am de-lurking too! I am pretty new to your blog but absolutely love it. I think we have a lot in common..I have 3 children via adoption, and just gave birth to twins. I too live in Oregon and I am a hot mess most of the time. (sometimes others can see my train wreck..other times I look like I got my crap together on the outside, but my heart and mind is a train wreck) I have found myself secretly wishing that maybe you live just down the street as I read your blog posts. 😉 I have found finding and keeping friends a hard thing to navigate with 5 children. ( with the dynamics adoption and infant twins brings to the table..I think I freak people out.) 🙂 My question is this.. How have you met and kept friends with your big family, busy schedule, and being someone who is able to admit you don’t have it all together. (I readily admit that to others and that too freaks people out..moms wrapped up in pretty bows with no problems seems to be an epidemic in my area) Thanks in advance and keep being you! You’re awesome!

    1. Having 5 kids has certainly changed my social life!

      For a long time – at least 3 years after my twins were born – we were almost never invited to other people’s houses. The sheer quantity of people coupled with a kid with special needs and babies who could get into anything made us too overwhelming for people to want us in their homes, I think. I was always grateful for invitations to my parents’ house, my in-laws, and my cousins because they were literally the only people who would have us. I understood, and it still really hurt my feelings. I felt like we were pariahs. So I hosted things at my house – and I did it even when the house was a mess – and, yes, people alternated between judging us and making jokes, some of which were even funny – but that’s what it took for a while so we could see people.

      This is one of the reasons I love my church. We are regularly late and usually rowdy and often someone’s ill-behaved or inappropriate (although the “who” rotates), but people there keeping welcoming us and inviting us and seem genuinely happy when we show up.

      These days, we’re invited to a lot more things. But I’ve noticed that, in the meantime, I’ve changed. I don’t have as much time or energy to give things outside of my family. There are just SO MANY OF THEM. Add to that the fact that I get energy from being alone, and my friends and family will tell you I’m pretty happy to limit my social time, which means I see people less than I used to. I host fewer parties. I’m less likely to get together at the last minute. And I have a fairly small group of tried and true friends who are my go-to people. I was just chatting online with a friend last night and I said, “Someday, I’d like to TALK to you. Like, in person. Instead of in passing. But I suppose I have to accept that this whole season of life feels like it’s “in passing.”” Which is what I hope… that I can dedicate myself to this season so I can look back and know I gave it my all… and when my littles are big and not here as ALL THE TIME as they are right now that I’ll enjoy the freedom of the new seasons to invest in those important, but more distant friendships again.

      1. thank you for your response!! Nice to know someone can relate and thanks for the perspective you offered!

  13. My question: Why is it that when other mamas post their “look how messy my house is” pictures, it always looks like they just vacuumed? Why is there not any dirt, dust, mud, bits of string, fingernails, cat hair, hairball, dog vomit, nor even one single lego on that lovely clean “walking space”? Why is there even a “walking space”? For real. I’m lucky if I only have to wade through dirty clothes to get to my desk.

    My comment: I love you. Even though your floor is cleaner than mine. Just found you today (posted about your response to the fyi for teen girls post on my site). Now I want to read ALL THE THINGS you wrote. Thank you.

    1. My floor is clean today because the housecleaner came today. She comes for three hours once a week since we got foster babies. All my piles are on top of the couches and tables today, but tomorrow the floor will be a mess again.

      Beth, your picture made me cry. I have to pass an adoption homestudy for our foster babies in the next couple of months and my house looks a lot like yours and I’m scared of it. I think you’re a good mom, and that must mean I can be a good mom too – even with my piles from last June and my sticky floor. Now if I can only convince my heart.

      1. I remember feeling this way when our social worker came for our adoption homestudies. If I had them to over again, I would’ve just said so to her. Told her I was afraid. I bet she would’ve held my hand.

        1. It’s funny because I’ve already survived a licensing inspection and think we will manage when she comes back next month. I guess just because the homestudy is supposed to be more in depth than just foster care, or because it’s unknown, I’m more fearful about it.

    2. Isn’t it interesting HOW MUCH PRESSURE we feel about housekeeping?? We really have done a number on ourselves, and, while I love looking at beautiful homes and magazines and ideas for decorating, WOO-EE, it makes it hard to be honest.

  14. I just want to say that I love you and you are helping many a momma out there feel ok about themselves. And I have (since reading your blog) really relaxed about life and cleanliness. I mean, I never had a clean house, I just started relaxing about not having a clean house and what that meant about me as a person. I’ve been trying to think of a good question….one I really want to know but I’m having a hard time. I think I love you even more to know that you love Firefly and Serenity. 🙂

  15. thankyou for the picture. i for realy reals feel better knowing my house is not the only house feeling abused. i have been trying to find it a support group were she could meet friends and share its horror stories with other houses that could comfort and understand were she is coming from. but every house i go into seems to be so not abused and then i feel really bad for my house. like maybe it is alone its missery. lol. i really enjoy your blog and the community that you have created it is very nice to know that i am not alone in my perfectly imperfect wrecks.

  16. Are you planning to write on the blog abut the twins’ birth/pregnancy story? I’ve loved reading what you’ve shared about your adoption stories (and always love hearing more), but I am curious about your experience finding out you were pregnant with your fourth AND FIFTH children! 🙂 If not, it’s cool too. I’m pretty nosy.

    1. I’m good with nosy. Nosy’s fine!

      Actually, I’ve written some of that story as a sample chapter for a book. I’m working with a really wonderful agent on next steps for that. So here’s hoping!

  17. Train wreck: Today, at the store, my children (3 and 19 months) waged an epic battle over who got to hold the orange juice, because OMG, is there anything more awesome than OJ? We were the loudest people in Walmart, which is quite an accomplishment considering how loud it can get in Walmart. So, you have five! When does the ridiculous fighting stop? When do they start to recognize each other as people instead of competition? I’m an only child, so I have no clue! Your kids seem to like each other. 🙂

    Love the blog. I think you’re RAD.

    1. I am not Beth but i have 5 siblings so I thought I would share my experiences. I have two sister who to this day we still antagonize and pick on each other. It is just what we do we love eachother and support eachother but forever we will pick ob eachother and have our sibling fights its normal. now my brothers are younger and with them i find i am a bit more mother like then sibling like. but they compete with eachother like constant bickering. so really it never completely gos away in my experience

    2. Speaking as someone with a sibling, it doesn’t ever go away–but one thing to hold on to is that my brother and I got old enough to recognize when the bickering and antagonism wasn’t FUN bickering and antagonism (like when we now talk politics). And also to realize when it wasn’t appropriate to throw shouting matches in Walmart.

      I’d say it gets a little better each year.

      1. There are times when it’s inappropriate to have shouting matches in Walmart? Because I’ve never seen that practiced there… It is always ok to play marco/polo when you get separated from your shopping partners, though, right???

    3. Oh Oh OH!!! I can answer this one. Because my 5 are 33, 31, 29, 25, and 15! The correct answer is… NEVER!!! They NEVER stop fighting. EVER! At least not while you’re alive… And after you’re dead (if the family’s I’ve seen go through this are typical), they will fight over what you leave behind. Do them a favor – leave NOTHING! LOL

    4. Oh, that is AWESOME. One of my kids once shoved another into the edge of the minivan door – a move that required stitches for the pushee – because minivans are RAD and who can wait to get into one of those?! So, yes, I’m well-acquainted with the fights over truly essential things like orange juice.

      First, here’s a post I wrote about my relationship with my little brother, titled My Brother and I Never Didn’t Bicker: http://putdowntheurinalcake.com/2012/06/my-brother-and-i-never-didnt-bicker/ It will explain the importance of brainwashing your kids so that, even if they don’t get along now, they will as adults.

      Second, if your kids fight, that doesn’t mean you’re doing a bad job as a parent. It really, truly doesn’t. I mean, sure, if you’re ignoring your kids and teaching them no conflict-resolution skills, that can have an impact. I’m not saying it doesn’t. But I am saying that kids come with a personality ingrained, and, while we can help channel that personality, we cannot change it per se. So, the way that works out in our house is some of my kids get along better than others, and some just totally rub each other the wrong way. That’s when we learn how to “get along from opposite ends of the house.”

  18. 5 is a lot, but 9 is more! We had 4 bio then adopted our son when he was 9. Last December we adopted a sibling group of 4. In our house we have 6 under the age of 14. Our oldest 3 are on their own, in fact 2 got married this summer. So if you add my son-in-law and daughter-in-law, we are parents to 11 ages 6 to 27! Tired yet? Yeah me to, which is why I take a nap every afternoon now that they all went back to school! Lol!

    Ok, so the question I have for you is this: I obviously have lots of stories! And a friend keeps encouraging me to start a blog. But I am scared spitless (it is to a word spell check!). How did you begin your blog, what fears did you overcome, and does it scare you to put your life out in front of the world? Any wisdom would be appreciated.

    Like many others, I consider you a friend because you make me laugh, nod my head and say EXACTLY! out loud to no one in particular since I’m the only one here!

    1. Nine kids is a lot of kids, Diane! 🙂

      Your friend is right – start a blog! I began my blog for a friend. More of that story is in the About the Lot of Us link up top. Truth is, I feel scared every time I hit “publish” on a blog post. Truly scared. And I ignore that fear every time because I’ve decided that voice – the one that tells me I’m too much of something (too loud, too messy, too irreverent, too reverent, too Me) or not enough of something (not skinny enough, not organized enough, not pretty enough, not a good enough mom or wife or friend) is a voice that’s lying to me. And the voice (I would say the Voice) that whispers I’m lovable, valuable, and worthy of excessive, extravagant grace deserves a bigger role in the show. That’s what writing is about for me — giving that grace-filled Voice a bigger say, and trying to normalize this parenting and LIFE experience for others. It’s obvious to me that your friend thinks you have important things to say, stories to share, ways you can help free people to be who they really are and learn to love themselves. My question for you is, if you listen to Grace, is your friend right? I bet so.

      1. Ok, so now I’m crying just a little bit. I am truly praying for courage to do this. My life is one big story of Grace and new mercies EVERY morning. But its also full of the train wrecks and sticky floors and me just only wanting to sit and play ridiculous time wasting games on the computer all.day.long. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, not just to this question, but every day. You are being used to bring hope to many moms all around the world!

        P.S. I don’t think anyone actually LIVES in those Pinterest homes. So even if I tried to make that bedroom/kitchen/bathroom/playroom cutesy and/or pretty it still wouldn’t look like the picture because we live in that house! 🙂

        P.P.S. Thank you for telling about the frozen eggs and making me laugh so hard the tears ran down my legs!

  19. Favorite color?

    Ever see the TV show Firefly? Or the movie Serenity?

    Was it mean to call my good college buddy “Elisabeth” “Lizard-breath”? Even though her breath totally wasn’t anything resembling a lizards as far as I know? And she was amazing? And I wonder what she’s doing now. Another–pre-established–nickname she wore was “Legs”. Not sure why.

    Favorite nickname?

    1. Favorite color: blue. I really like green, too. And red.

      YES I LOVE FIREFLY AND SERENITY AND THEY ENDED TOO SOON AND I LOVE JOSS WHEDON TIMES INFINITY. And you KNOW I’m not kidding because any real Firefly fan would’ve used all caps, too.

      Every Elizabeth in the whole entire world has been called Lizard Breath. It is the cross we all must bear.

      Favorite nickname: B.O.B. It stands for Beth, oh Beth.

      1. I have a Browncoat bracelet! And I was one of the lucky ones that got to see a pre-screening of the movie for free. And I threw a ‘Shindig’ with “some kind of hot cheese over there” and we had to “question” the buffet table and if I had known you then, you would have been invited, too, ‘cuz it was in Oregon and you might have been able to come since that’s not as far as New Orleans.

    2. My 15 y.o.’s name is Megan Lizard-breath-Pearl. OK, not really, but I call her that more often than Megan Elizabeth-Pearl. I always tell her I should have stuck to my original plan to name her Elizabeth Pearl, and I should have called her Lizzy, because she’s a much better Lizzy than a Megan.

  20. I love you…like LOVE you!!! I have never left a comment on a blog before. But I was reading this and laughing…and then very nearly busted out crying at the end! You are so gifted…for real. Thanks for always sharing:))). No question…just wanted to gush about your awesomeness!

    1. Yay! THANK YOU for delurking, Kacy and welcome to the comments section. I wish people could experience for one minute how much I treasure encouragement like this. Love to you and yours.

  21. Thank you! Your posts have been really hitting home for me lately. I think it’s about just letting go and keeping on because it all works out eventually.

    1. My friend Heidi has a theme for her 40th year. It’s LET IT GO. So wise. <3 And glad you're here, Jesse.

  22. Thanks for being a hero. And inspiring me to continue to stand up.
    How do you do it? (<– rhetorical. You make me wish we could sit down and have coffee in real life and thankful for the women in my life whom I CAN sit down and talk about these things with.)

    1. I wish we could have coffee in real life, too.

      And thank you for such kind words, Amanda.

  23. Who do you like paddling up Chehalem Creek with the most. Me or Nathan?

    1. YOU! Duh. Nathan’s a jackass. Also, he doesn’t ever read stuff here. 🙂 Also-also, if he did he’d be all, “Yup. I’m a jackass.” I love that guy. Also, we need to do that again, STAT.

      1. I love the jackass too. The question just made me laugh. Plus he called you a liar. And I think I kept going and found the mouth of the creek didn’t I? Yes. Good for my soul.

  24. *LOVE* this. I only have two (3 years and 7 months), but I totally get the train wreck. Like yesterday, when I interrupted a phone call because the 7 month old was scream-crying and the 3 year old was taking off his own poopie diaper and getting it on the rug. Or a few days ago when I accidentally spent $300 on a web-hosting service for my husband’s business, when I meant to spend $3.95/month, and the kids started crying and begging for attention as soon as the person on the other end of the customer service line answered…..its so comforting to read that other people have train wrecks. Thank you:)

    1. Oh, if you need to read about train wrecks, I am SO YOUR GIRL, Alison. Sending love.

  25. Between “Bring it” and “We do train wrecks here” I feel like maybe, just maybe I can get through this school year with a little less feeling guilty about not being supermom and a lot more free to be me, messy and all. This post actually made me cry, which is rare and wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Solidarity and mamaraderie, Jessica. xo

      1. I wanted to add a comment and a question. I was too busy crying the first time around.

        Comment: Well short story. Back when someone posted the 20 Things Every Parent should Hear link on my fb page I read it was very moved, and started sharing it with everyone I know, mom’s or not. In the spirit of sharing I brought it with me to my therapist appointment later that week because I thought maybe she would have some other moms she talks to who could appreciate it and get something good from it. When I went back to see her a few weeks later I noticed it was up on the wall. I was really thrilled for you and for all the people who get to read it that is was being shared in a professional setting. When I commented on it she told me that her co-worker (who is a mom and shares an office with her) saw it she thought that my therapist had printed it out just for her. And she was moved by it. Which was validating for me, cause she’s a professional too! And maybe that’s too long of a story that goes in too many circles, but if it were my writing I would love to know it was getting passed on in such a way. And yes, your name is on there along with your website 🙂

        Question: Is your house really as messy as you say it is? For really reals?

        1. Ha! Do you want one of your friends to answer this question Beth? Jessica, I can tell you that Beth’s house really is as messy is she says it is often. I’ve also seen it really clean for parties. And I’ve seen it not as clean for parties. But the thing I love most about Greg and Beth and their home is that every time I enter there I am made to feel welcome and at home. My children also love being there. So we don’t notice any mess, we just notice the love and the friendship.

          Also, I love your story about Beth’s writing Jessica. So encouraging!

          1. Wow, when I stop lurking, I really stop lurking. I had to say Thank you for the picture Beth. Now I know we really are on the same page 🙂 For some reason I will never understand my teenagers friends like it at my house, maybe it’s because of the mess? I tell myself that when they walk in the door and there is a mountain of clean laundry all over the couch that has been there for a week growing and on the top of the pile…my underwear.

            And on that note I will stop posting today, I swear 🙂

        2. Thank you for that story. That is AWESOME and humbling and so, so cool because 20 Things Every Parent Should Hear was a collaboration between the readers here and me, and I’m a big believer that our collective wisdom is so much greater than any piece any one of us knows.

          As for your question, I wish I had time to photo document my whole house for you, but in lieu of that, I took a picture of my “office” (aka, bedroom) as it looks right now. I’ve uploaded it into the original post (above) because I haven’t enabled comments to be able to put pictures here. Enjoy!

      2. Mamaraderie- Awesome word…. will have to add to my daily use!
        Just found your blog- only have 2 kids, and live on the east coast, but we are all train wrecks sometimes! Have a great day/weekend!
        also a Beth

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