Good morning, my name is Amanda Marrazzo, friends and family call me Amy.
I have been asked to come and talk to you this morning about my experiences as a mom, specifically on this theme of a Beautiful Mess.
What a huge topic to speak on.
We all have come from different backgrounds and have different ideals about life and motherhood.
I am honored to have been asked to share my personal story with you and I hope it touches your life in a positive way.
I grew up an only child in Cicero Il., near the city, and lived with a mom who worked as a waitress, sometimes seven days a week. We rented apartments, we never had much “extra” of anything, never owned a home or had a good car.
I really never even thought about having my own family. I just knew that no matter what, I wanted better.
I worked hard to finish high school, then attend and complete college.
I pretty much navigated childhood and young adulthood on my own.
Once I figured out how to “do” life and get a little professional traction under my feet, I met Tony.
Yes, I was young, dumb and in love! We got married and started a family.
He worked while I stayed home with the children. We were a very traditional family in that way.
Life wasn’t hard at all like when I was growing up. I’ll admit, it felt nice to finally have a soft place to fall.
We seemed kind of close to the TV-type family, like those that I’d watched on TV when I was a little kid. You know, like the TV-families where mom was always home when the kids got home from school and the house was clean and it had stairs to a second floor!
I always thought that if a family’s house had stairs to a second floor, they were a good family and really happy.
I would watch these TV shows, and I’d wish I had that type of family for my own.
Anyway….my life was nothing like TV, but with God’s grace I now was able to give my girls a good family life.
I was really happy with what I could give my girls.
I appreciated the peace of predictability and security in my new little life, and I loved having cute little baby clothes, toys and bedding in my home…I loved the smell they had after a bath.. I loved dressing up the girls in cute little outfits and taking them out for walks, around the neighborhood, to the park or the mall…..I loved the way strangers would look at my girls and the way their faces would light up when they would say how good and cute my girls were.
BUT unlike the TV-family, I also had days where I felt overwhelmed by diapers — how about explosive poopy diapers, and vomit, the kind where the smell doesn’t leave the house for days. I had crying babies, that grew into whiney toddlers and demanding, yes I will say it, bratty kids.
There were weeks of living in a messy house, with loads of laundry, doctors’ appointments, dust bunnies, running here and there and everywhere for pre-school and kids’ activities……As the kids got older there were even more activities and rides needed to friends’ houses. I became a taxi, with no pay and definitely no tips!
On those TV shows, the family home was always tidy and the mom was always showered and had her lipstick on.
So …. maybe we weren’t quite the TV family. I never had lipstick on, I’m not sure if I showered all that often!!
There were days when I was SO SO SO tired. There were days when my husband was on “business” in Florida and I was stuck in Milwaukee in an old house with bad windows in the dead of February with sick kids — ages 1 and 3.
I was a little bitter! He would call to check in and I’d hang up on him! I was so angry!
All along I was keeping up my writing career, when they were babies I would juggle interviews with nap time, diaper changes and feedings, sometimes bouncing a baby in the baby bouncy seat with my right foot while holding the phone between my left ear and shoulder, while typing up an interview with a government official at my computer…..I would rush the interview to get it done before my 6 month old woke up screaming — AGAIN!
I could not wait for the days when my kids were out of the house and at school so I could have long stretches of peace and quiet without interruption to focus on my work. Time to focus on me!
There would be mornings I’d wake up and knew I was going to have a busy day of juggling a baby and a toddler. So I was good about preparing my coffee the night before, knowing I’d be too tired to make it for myself in the morning.
Some mornings I’d get so angry with Tony when I’d wake to find that he drank some of my coffee!!! I’d be mad because I knew he was going into a nice QUIET office where SOMEONE ELSE would prepare his coffee and he could drink fresh coffee that someone else made for him all day long if he wanted to!
I just wanted MY coffee!
I would get even more crazy angry when I’d dwell on the fact that he also would have a nice QUIET lunch, being served to him in a restaurant with other grownups!
I’d be eating left over apple sauce, cheese and crackers, maybe a peanut butter sandwich and Mac and Cheese if I was lucky! But I’d have to prepare it all myself and clean it all up myself as well as the girls’ slop!
He’d call to check in during the day and I would be so mean to him, and the poor guy, honestly didn’t know why he was always in trouble!
Sounds crazy, right!? But that is what the exhaustion motherhood can do to you! Right?
There were so many times I would say “I can’t wait until these kids are older ….”
Well it happened and it happened quick, now those little baby girls are 14 and almost 18– THEY HAVE BOOBS! Emily is graduating high school this year and will be off on to her own life!
The diapers, baby toys, the Play-Dough stuck in the carpet, the bathtub toys and paints, onsies, little socks, and cute, tiny outfits with matching hair bows are all gone and replaced with skinny jeans and T-shirts. (and bras!)
The little red tricycle has been replaced by a car.
The late nights of crying with stuffy noses and ear aches and worrying if the earache will turn into yet another ear infection, signaling she’d have to have that ear surgery…. are now technically peaceful nights, but with new worries of more serious medical concerns, safe driving, college applications and costs.
The toys that once covered the family room that I tried to clean up repeatedly several times a day … why? I don’y know, why did it matter if I had toys in my family room … it was after all a “family room” and we were a family!? Well those toys are all gone now and have been replaced by lap-tops, iPads and cell phones.
Old worries have been replaced by new worries.
Talk about having new worries: the internet! I remember the worries I had that the kids might choke on their cheap plastic toys.
Well that worry is now replaced by the worries of dating, my girls “playing” on the internet, cyber bullying and predators. Think about this, when they were little all my worries were mainly of things inside my home that I could somewhat control, now my worries are of the outside world, of which I have no control.
My point is, I know it can be tough being a mom. It can be lonely. I know we make sacrifices, we feel overwhelmed and unappreciated. We get tired.
I remember just wanting to sleep an entire night without a kid crying or climbing into my bed in the middle of the night, waking me up.
I remember wishing I could just pee alone.
I remember just wanting to be able to go out to the store or to a movie alone.
One night, my husband was home from work and I just wanted to go out for a walk with a friend, and my 3 year old was screaming bloody murder at the door for me not to leave her. I remember just not caring, and just wanting to go for that walk.
That was all I wanted. I just wanted to be alone.
Well ladies, I now workout or walk outside almost daily, either alone or with a friend. When I’m alone, I’m thinking about my girls, wishing they were with me. And when I ‘m with a friend, guess what I often times talk about? I talk about my yearning for those days back when my girls were 1 and 3 and we were in that cold, old house in Milwaukee.
Life really was more simple, worries were simpler. If you are in the thick of it (babies/toddler/pre-school stage) right now, I know that is hard to wrap your mind around. I empathize deeply for where you are today.
Do not wish these moments away.
I often think about how me and my babies would snuggle for hours together in my bed on cold mornings. We would lay in bed watching Dora, Little Bear or Elmo. We’d only get out to change a diaper and get “sippy-cup” or a snack.
On those days I didn’t care about doing the laundry, washing the dishes or getting after those dust bunnies. I didn’t care about being perfect or if my kids “looked” perfect. How can a child possibly look imperfect?
It has been years since one of my daughters has climbed into bed with me in the middle of the night. What I’d give for that to happen again.
I miss those days and I curse the moments when I was wishing those days to go by quicker.
So when folding mountains of clean laundry, remember the babies who will wear those outfits and be dried off by those soft towels, when scraping dried jelly and Mac and Cheese off of your dishes remember the bellies of those babies are now full because you love them.
When picking up their toys for the umpteenth time in your family room, remember those toys are important tools to their creatvity and imagination. Those toys are forming the way their minds look at the world. And it is your “family room!”
When you are woken up in the middle of the night by a crying baby, remember they are calling out for you in the darkness because they are secure in the knowing that you are there to protect and love them.
I miss my babies.
Having them taught me that a home with stairs doesn’t equal a good and happy family. It is a home filled with warm, snuggly love that defines a good happy family.
I don’t need an immaculate home to be a good mom, my home was and is a Beautiful Mess made from love.
I don’t need a shower or lipstick to be beautiful….My girls make me beautiful, they made me their Beautiful Mess. And to me, they are just my beautiful. They are the most beautiful thing I have ever done.