I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Confessions of an Organized Mess

Confessions of an Organized Mess. "I can't play your note and you can't play mine. Because if we were all playing the same thing, the music would sound rather flat.   So, thanks for joining me for my "highlight reel," but please remember it is just THAT. The rest of my life is just an organized mess."

This social media thing is a bit of an allusion. Isn't it? Facebook, Instagram, and (Dare I say it?) mommy blogs are all curators of "awesome." They parade the highlight reels of a person's life for all to see...whether the rest of us like it or not. 

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

When I look at the collective "awesome" of everyone online, it's easy to believe that EVERYONE is awesome at ALL of those things. And that because I'm not, I somehow fall short. But the truth is, most of us are just awesome at one or two things and pretty mediocre at all the rest.

Have I lost you?
Let me spin it for you this way.

Last year, I read a book by famed mommy-finance blogger, Crystal Paine. I've followed her blog, Money Saving Mom, for years and have, sadly, fallen prey to the comparison trap while reading it (more times than I'd care to admit.)

On the 14-inch fishbowl...I mean, computer {ahem}, she always came across as a Mary Poppins 2.0. You know the type...practically perfect in every way. That is until I read her book.

It was such a game changer. But, not because it offered great tips on organization. Which it did. In fact, it was chock full of all that and more. Ironically, however, that's not what made the book so life-giving to me.

I glossed over the pages and pages that detailed what she DOES with her time and energy and focused my lens on the two or three paragraphs that told what she DOESN'T do. In the very first chapter, she confessed that she does not do a lot of cooking but chooses to eat out a few times a week instead. She hires a maid service on occasion. And, she has a team of people to help with the behind the scenes happenings of her blog. (Please don't think I'm judging her in this. On the contrary, kudos to her for being smart enough to whisper a NO to some things in her life in order to have space and time to shout YES to the rest.)

After reading that small list of disclosures, I wasn't sure if I should cry out of relief...like full-on UGLY tears...mascara running and everything...OR, begin the slow clap building to a crescendo. Her words were so transforming to me. You see, I had created this illusion of her in my head...it was a spotted-unicorn kind of fantasy that was part her and part me and part every-great-woman-I-had-ever-met. 

I assumed that in addition to finding the time to be uber organized and financially savvy, she ALSO managed to do all the other areas of life with an equal amount of awesome. My misplaced neurosis was not in any way her doing. No, that crazy train was all completely conducted by yours truly. I had taken her highlight reels and measured them against my "every day." 

My living room on most school days.

The truth is, I'm pretty underwhelming at most things and a hot mess of chaos at everything else. I'm almost always late...to everything. I can never find my cell phone even though I'd take a blood oath that I put it back in the-exact-same-spot-every-time. I have a kitchen drawer that is the Bermuda Triangle of spice jars. And I'm pretty sure that if I forget to show up to one more chiropractor appointment, my doctor is going to file a missing person's report.

The Bermuda Triangle of spices.


While I can make mediocrity look like an Olympic sport in some areas of my life, I'm pretty awesome in others. Because the truth is, everyone's awesome at SOMETHING. That's true for me. And it's true for you.

I can decorate birthday cakes like a boss. I'm a stellar paper organizer. And I've got this whole homeschooling thing under control (in theory, anyway). And I don't mind saying so.

Bubblegum birthday party cake for my Sweets.

My point is this...
Perhaps if a few of us could be brave enough to admit that although we don't have it all together, we are awesome at our "awesome"s, it would give other women the courage to do the same.

I can't play your note and you can't play mine. Because if we were all playing the same thing, the music would sound rather flat. 

So, thanks for joining me for my "highlight reel," but please remember it is just THAT. The rest of my life is just an organized mess.

You are awesome, Sweet Momma. Embrace it.
Your awesome might look different from mine.
And that's OK. The end.


  1. Thank you! I always feel like I am spinning plates in the air, but one or two always get dropped! My husband says I can do ANYTHING--but I cannot do EVERYTHING!

    1. "Anything but not everything." Can I get that on a t-shirt?

  2. Love, love, love, love, love! Thank you for showing me a picture of your spice drawer. I needed to see that. My spice cabinet looked similar until one night my 10 yr old son decided he needed to organize it for me...otherwise it would still look just like that. And I have a junk drawer. And piles of books. But, you know what, I'm pretty awesome at the piano and singing and coming up with lesson plans out of a hat from my ever-creative idea-processing mind! :) I am always late, I lose my keys and cell phone regularly, and can't seem to make it to church early, ever--even though I'm the pianist! So, thank you for this post that was so affirming and reassuring that I'm not the only one who missed the Mary Poppins measurements! :) ;)

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only cell phone and key loosing momma. I think my real problem with the drawer is that I just need a bigger one. I have too many spices and they don't all fit. Oh well, I'll take a messy spice drawer over bland food I guess.

  3. I have a 2 year old and a 8 month old. My boys are 18 months apart, and we live in 1000 square feet. My living room IS the play room. If my house was as beautifully clean as I would like it to be, it would mean we weren't having enough fun! To me it is a badge of honor. I put my children and my time with them first because cleaning can happen another time, but my boys are only young once.

    Too often we are so busy trying to live by other people's standards that we forget about our own, and we forget about living meaningfully and intentionally, which is way more important to me than seeming perfect to someone else.

    1. Well said! I agree...my home has the "lived in" look, but that's fine by me because we are LIVING in it...and living to the fullest. Years from now, I won't say to myself, "I wish I had cleaned my living room more often." But, I know I'll be thankful for all the memories we made there.

  4. What a valuable lesson to learn! I know this lesson with my brain, but I'm still working on internalizing it so that I really KNOW it. This post will help me think about this today. :)

  5. I can't play your note and you can't play mine. Because if we were all playing the same thing, the music would sound rather flat.... or, as one of our favorite cartoon characters likes to say, "It takes the whole band to play the song". And yes, that's an admission that we use select cartoons for teaching along with our living literature lessons. But that's the note we play. Great post.