CircleBumpCheckedFilledMedicalBookmarkBookmarkTickBookmarkAddCheckBoxCheckBoxFilled

Mom of Two Wonders: Will I Ever Feel Like a Put Together Adult?

“Why do I feel like such a hot mess all the time? Where is the mature, ladylike version of me that was supposed to show up by now?”
save article
profile picture of Natalie Thomas
By Natalie Thomas, Contributing Writer
Published October 24, 2018
family cuddling on couch together at home
Image: Sam Edwards / Getty Images

The alarm is going off. It’s 7 a.m., but I feel like I just went to bed. I fell asleep again without washing my face. My mascara-stained pillow cover and sheets haven’t been changed in over a week, there are several cans of seltzer on my nightstand and my tattered, decades-old flannels with a hole in the knee are all bunched up. It’s a familiar scene, one I’ve been playing out for years. But I’m no longer a teen or young twenty-something; I’m nearly 40, married and a mother of two kids—so can someone please tell me why I still live like a college co-ed?

I thought for sure by now, I’d be further along in my evolution. I’m writing this when I should be paying bills, prepping meals, grocery shopping, picking up around the house and maintaining a proper home. Instead, there’s unfolded laundry in two separate baskets and more on the floor, stacks of collected crap (mail, forms, flyers, even excess artwork that, yes, I just called crap) that remain unsorted and, when the cleaning ladies occasionally come over, get shoved into a bag, which proceeds like unpacked suitcases to sit there for far too long. The fridge is sparse, the car likely needs gas and I’m usually outfitted in sweats and fuzzy socks, sporting a top knot and glasses. This is hardly how I envisioned my life looking as a full-grown adult woman.

I’ve checked plenty of things off my life list: I’ve achieved a lot in my career; own a nice home; carried, birthed and have thus far managed to raise two healthy, pediatrician-approved kids and am a (mostly) functioning member of society. By all outward appearances, I’ve done well.

Related Video

So why do I feel like such a hot mess all the time? Where is the mature, ladylike version of me that was supposed to show up by now? The one who washes and blows out her hair, wears structured, sophisticated clothing—or at least something without an elastic waistband. The one who keeps a calendar and remembers to check it, whose thank you notes are sent on schedule and who has proper snacks to serve should guests drop by. (Goldfish don’t count. Unless, of course, it’s my meal accompanied by a glass of white wine, in which case, sign me up!) The one who isn’t constantly wondering what to make for dinner and, all too often, giving up and ordering instead. The one who swears she’ll do better, get it together and give her kids the mother they deserve.

But just when I’m starting to really come down on myself and my wayward ways, I look around, past the piles and beyond the clutter, and I see the smiles on my children’s faces. I witness the joy in their life, the kindness in their hearts and appreciate their ability to be carefree and feel safe and think I’m doing alright.

Maybe none of that other stuff matters. Maybe no one feels like they have it all together. Maybe my kids will remember a home full of laughter, one where you come—and stay—as you are and you’re loved just the same. Here’s hoping, anyway. At the very least, I’m giving my daughter and son something to write about. Here’s to the messy moms and the kids who love them!

Natalie Thomas is a lifestyle blogger at Nat’s Next Adventure and creator of the new moms platform @momecdotes. She’s also an Emmy-nominated TV producer, contributor to Huffington Post, Today Show, Mother Mag, Hey Mama and Well Rounded, and former editor and spokesperson of Us Weekly. She’s addicted to Instagram and seltzer water, lives in New York with her tolerant husband, Zach, her daughter Lilly and her son, Oliver. She’s always in search of her sanity and, more importantly, the next adventure.

Published October 2018

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

save article
ADVERTISEMENT

Next on Your Reading List

mother holding baby clothes
Why Is Getting Rid of Baby’s Old Clothes So Hard?
By Natalie Gontcharova
chrissy teigen at home with her 4 children
Chrissy Teigen Shares the Hardest Part of Being a Mom of Four
By Wyndi Kappes
tired mom holding baby in nursery
Why Black Moms Face Higher Rates of Burnout (and How to Cope)
By A. Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez
ADVERTISEMENT
mother in deep thought while holding baby
How the Concept of ‘Matrescence’ Can Help You Navigate Parenthood
By Natalie Gontcharova
Michael Vaughn tik tok about reducing mental stress for wife
One Dad's Viral Tips for Reducing Your Partner's Solo Parenting Stress
By Wyndi Kappes
Even America’s Comedy King Jack Black Struggles With Parenting Anxiety
Even America’s Comedy King Jack Black Struggles With Parenting Anxiety
By Wyndi Kappes
mom hugging young child
How to Cope With the Emotional Aftermath of Another School Shooting
By The Bump Editors
ADVERTISEMENT
mother pondering while sitting on bed with baby
What to Know About Postpartum Psychosis
By Nehal Aggarwal
mother cuddling newborn baby
8 Things New Parents Can Do for an Easier Postpartum Period
By Elena Donovan Mauer
exhausted mother playing with toddler
Parental Burnout Is Real—Here’s How to Cope
By Marygrace Taylor
ADVERTISEMENT
mother and baby reading a book on the couch at home
What TikTok’s “Scrunchy Moms” Want You to Know
By Wyndi Kappes
James Van Der Beek attends the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 20, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada
James Van Der Beek's Viral Parenting Hack for Roadtripping With Six Kids
By Wyndi Kappes
mother holding sleeping baby on sofa at home
20 Positive Parenting Affirmations to Boost Your Mental Health
By Nehal Aggarwal
ADVERTISEMENT
mother holding and comforting baby at home
What Over 70 Percent of Millennial Moms Aren’t Telling You
By Wyndi Kappes
worried mother holding baby while looking out of the window at home
Why Moms Need to Shift Their Perspective on Asking for Help
By Nehal Aggarwal
annoyed mother sitting at table with toddler
The Truth About Mom Rage and How to Tame Your Inner Anger
By Lauren Barth
mother looking at her baby with the ocean in the background
Adjusting to Motherhood May Take Longer Than You Think (and That’s OK)
By Kylie McConville
ADVERTISEMENT
Allyson Felix Opens Up About Her NICU Journey With Daughter Camryn
Allyson Felix Opens Up About Her NICU Journey With Daughter Camryn
By Nehal Aggarwal
Busy mom entertains her young children at home with a stuffed animal pig.
Mom-Founded Brand Is Setting Up a PTO Fund to Help Moms Take Time Off
By Nehal Aggarwal
dad working from home while his toddler is sitting on his shoulders
How to Ground Yourself for Pandemic Parenting Challenges
By Hunter Clarke-Fields
ADVERTISEMENT
Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List