My Cup Runneth Over – Draining the Mom Guilt

Spoiler Alert: You may not like me after reading this, but I’m okay with that.

Hello, it’s me again. You remember me, right? You’ve seen my daily posts on Facebook and Instagram. You know the posts of me showing you all how to live life to the fullest, working mom style.

Today I just managed to make a 7:30 meeting regarding economic development AFTER rousing my five-year-old daughter, Adele, from bed and getting her dressed into somewhat decent attire (that means her clothes passed the sniff test, but I still couldn’t get the black sharpie off her face from the previous evening when she decided to draw Harry Potter’s lightning scar across her forehead).

We arrived at the school drop-off line one minute before the dreaded walk of shame to the office to get a tardy slip. Of course, we only made it because I asked her to jump out before I completely stopped, causing the crossguard to have a minor myocardial infarction.

Her rush to the school door would have been a full-on sprint, had it not been for her calm and calculated balance of the metal pot I put on her head for Johnny Appleseed day. See, I totally forgot she was supposed to dress up for this enigmatic, larger-than-life character. I had only noticed the reminder sheet this morning amidst the burgeoning pages of field trip forms, cookie dough order packets, hearing and vision test results, and PTO meeting notices brimming from her Kindergarten notebook.  

So this morning Adele got a pot on her head. Too small, I might add, and she was running down the path to get to school with a half-eaten apple in her hand. Oh yes, the apple part. It would have been a full apple had I known that bruised fruit was our only savior from the God-awful metal contraption unruly bobbing on her noggin. I wish she didn’t like apples for breakfast, at least this particular morning. Don’t take another bite!” I shrieked with urgency as she nibbled her way to the core before entering the classroom. At least the pot on her head was a good disposal container for the apple core once it finally slipped off her head and clanked across the lime-green linoleum.

So where was I? Oh, yes. #killingitmomstyle.

And did I mention I work, like for a living? Girl, do I work. I get paid, too. I am what they call a “working mom.” Obviously, if I told you I’m just a mom with unmanageable expectations of myself, that wouldn’t carry as much weight, would it?  Obviously, these moms who are just moms need more to do to fill up all that spare time they have lying around. They need to earn their keep. They need to bring home that bacon, unwrap it, fry it til it’s golden brown, ensure the kids and spouse have had their fair share, clean up the mess, and put that bacon away for tomorrow. Anything less and you’re just proving all those working dads out there that we belong in the kitchen, and well, who wants to deal with another mess?

Sidenote, I took a call today from a close friend who was convinced her husband would learn that socks are better left inside the laundry basket rather than beside it. Poor girl. Mine at least lets his two-day cultured, jersey knits touch the rim of the receptacle. #proudwife #tooblessedtobestressed

Three meetings into my day, I made sure to break for a little post-promo on social media from a big event I attended last year. #memories. And you know me. I had to include a photo or two of myself to prove I was in on the fun (but not too many selfies. I can’t come across vain). I’ll just post the one of me splattered among the smiles. I think that one photo captures all you need to see. But girl, I AM ON in this pic. That dress is smokin’ and those elbows have been rubbed down to the nubs from all those exhilarating convos with people you may have read about in Business Alabama magazine or seen on the Today Show (Did I ever tell you I hung out with Jenna Bush Hager? She even let me hold her lipstick bag when she went to the loo).

I saw that you commented on my post about how you wished you were there. “How do you do it all, Chelsea?” “You’re truly a one-woman spokesperson for the Shoals.” “I wish I had your job.” “I wish I could do that.” “I wish I could be more like you.” “You make my life feel so small, sometimes.”

But here’s the thing. You know that photo? It was taken the same day I locked myself in my office and dry heaved on the floor. It was a day very much like my debacle of a morning in the car line at school. That event was held on the same week I went to the doctor with chest pains and trouble breathing. He told me there was nothing physically wrong with me. It must have been bad indigestion from eating all those over-priced hors d’oeuvres at that last soiree.

Nevertheless, that same week, like many to follow, I medicated myself out of fear from drowning. I downed wine like a working mom should, because we deserve it after a long day, right? After all, that’s what they tell us makes it all go away. And it does, girl. I drank until I was numb. Until I was able to see myself how you all see me. You know, over-brimming with put-togetherness.

Here’s what that cup is really filled with. I am a mom who loves her daughter with every fiber of her soul, and I still feel it isn’t enough. I am a wife who remembers special occasions, holds her husband’s hand, tells him her dreams and asks to share his own, and it’s still not enough. I work in a position where I am seen as the community’s advocate and best friend to all I encounter, and yet I’m pained by the one friend I failed to acknowledge in a crowded room. My cup is filled with one long laundry list of things unfinished, including the laundry. I am constantly striving to be the Johnny Appleseed who spread the fruits of his labor across these United States, but I am oftentimes just the one balancing an ever shifting, heavy object on my head, bound to hit the floor at any moment.  

I know this must come as a shocker to you, and I admit, it took a long time for me to call that wild-eyed adventure girl a sham. But let’s be real. I’m not doing you any favors. I am starting the journey now to drain the bullshit. The mom guilt. The one last thing. The should have dones. The wish I didn’ts. The now whats. I’m emptying my cup of dregs of someone else’s life, and filling it with just enough. Enough. Isn’t that refreshing?

Moms out there, won’t you join me in feeling enough? I know with a lot of self-love, we can get there. One day, we can sweep what’s still left to do and those unattainable goals under that dusty, unkempt rug of ours. And we won’t touch it tomorrow, or even the next day. I know what you’re thinking. Someone’s gotta clean that shit up. But it’s not us. Not today. Today, we are enough, and that’s a wonderful place to be.

12 thoughts on “My Cup Runneth Over – Draining the Mom Guilt

  1. I am so proud of you Chelsea! Your one in a million GIRL! You make everything look so easy! Do what it important to you and leave the rest for later. Love you, Barb 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I cannot love this enough!!! You ARE an amazing, hard- working, friend to so many, advocate for your community, loving mother and wife, and oh so talented. I mean, you pulled together a Johnny Appleseed costume in 10 seconds flat!? That’s super cool Mom skills! You have many, many gifts my friend. Thank you for sharing them with others!!! I can’t wait to hear more of your stories. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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