hotdogs, sunscreen and all the other ways I’m messing up.

Sometimes I just want simple.

Easy.

Hotdogs on the grill with mustard and ketchup and chips and beans kind of easy. But the grill probably has carcinogens and the hotdogs are bad and the beans come from a can and the ketchup isn’t organic and I should be making something better from Whole Foods which is on the other side of town and my vehicle isn’t a hybrid and I’m late already for the school line.

For instance, I’ve scoured my email at least a dozen times making sure I have all of the end of the year information written down. Field days and programs and special slushy ice to buy and end of school terms and teacher’s special presents and notes and what to wear and team colors and bags to bring and you know what?

I’m still missing stuff.

And all of those emails and things to do and volunteer stuff – it stresses me out.

Why does it have to be so incredibly complicated?

I just don’t think my mom had to do this crazy amount. Unless I’m totally mistaken I think she sent me on the last day of school with a paper grocery bag for me to shove everything in from my desk and picked me up for lunch at a park near school. And for years that paper bag would break and I’d have to carry the bottom to prevent all those papers from flittering away. And for lunch we had hotdogs and beans and chips. And watermelon which we ate with hands dirty from playing because we didn’t have portable hand sanitizers.

I kind of wish for simple.

Running in the sprinkler and hot dog simple.

evan-kirby-123696

I can’t even buy sunscreen without looking at 43 options, different SPF ratings, and then am met with articles about the dangers of sunscreen mixed with the dangers of not using sunscreen. The spray is toxic or you need the natural kind and that doesn’t do anything on my kids fair skin.  There are articles about how sunscreen saves live and how sunscreen is toxic.

Sometimes it just feels like I have to settle to make a “losing” choice because there aren’t any perfect solutions.

Again. I think my mom had Coppertone25 for me.

And I burned despite her diligence. And the dermatologist loves me. But she tried.

And I ate red dye Freezie pops in the process.

Along with non organic hotdogs.

But I survived.

I really, really, really did.

I had summers of playing outside and bike riding and going in the sprinkler and eating raspberries and sometimes we watched too much television or ate extra popsicles but you know, it was okay. My mom was able to let us be kids without having to be told 58 times every day about ways that she could be “messing up” her kids. It’s really not even about the dangers of the stuff in food – because I get that – it’s more about the dangers now of WAY TOO MUCH INFO with no good answer.

Us moms have enough pressure already out there and we don’t need 483 conflicting studies that all conclude we’re messing up. We just need to remember the power in one thing.

Doing our best.

And I think that all of these not so perfect solutions are causing way to much stress. And if we’re not careful they’re making us miss out on the moments because we’re stuck reading those 43 emails and debating over sunscreen and we feel guilt over the hot dogs and end up going to bed wondering if we’re doing a good job. Well let me tell you this – my mom did a good job.

In fact, she did a great job.

So I’m going to try my best. I’m going to feed them healthy food. But I’m also going to let them get those freeze pops and run in the sprinkler and all of the other stuff. Because I’m not perfect and no matter what I do there will be a study telling me it’s bad.

I’m a mom.

Just like you. Stuck in a sea of mom solutions and miracle products and lists of rules that can make any simple decision terribly complex. But you know what? I love my kids. So I navigate these waters and scour the emails and tries to remember the sunscreen but still sometimes forgets.

It’s okay. My kids know I’m there for them.

That’s NOT MESSING UP.

It’s mothering.

That’s the real power of motherhood in this complex crazy world.

And sometimes?

We have hotdogs and beans for dinner.

~Rachel
#findingjoy

24 Responses to “hotdogs, sunscreen and all the other ways I’m messing up.”

  1. May 18, 2017

    Linda Reply

    My friend keeps reminding me of the 80/20 rule. She says to do the best you can 80% of the time and don’t worry about the other 20%. She says we’ll will go extinct if we don’t adapt our bodies to all the chemicals and stuff we are concerned about. So, it’s okay to have hot dogs and beans some of the time. Enjoy!

  2. May 19, 2017

    Camie Reply

    Thank you so much for writing this. You put into words everything I’ve been thinking and feeling lately!

  3. May 22, 2017

    Kami Mogelvang Reply

    LOVE IT! #TRUTH

  4. May 28, 2017

    kimmie Reply

    My oldest graduated high school yesterday. Times that were “on the info sheet” weren’t right. We were always early. I always wonder if I loosen the grip at the wrong times.

    Luckily both of mine are old enough that when I DO offer sunscreen and they decline I can shrug. 😀

  5. September 8, 2017

    Janet Reply

    Yes!!! Yes!! Yes!!!
    This is how I’ve been living. Making little decisions becomes so overwhelming…. feel guilty if I spend more money for healthier food , feel guilty if I don’t.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH for your encouraging words!

  6. May 31, 2019

    Christy Reply

    Well, my mom fed me junk and I got cancer. My mom was stressed so I had NO activities. I want to and am doing so much better for my kids. Please don’t condemn the moms who do feed their kids organic and thrive on an active life.

    • May 31, 2019

      Rebecca Reply

      Christy, it’s not condemnation. Not by any stretch. What you already do is what the rest of us are trying to achieve.
      This is about grace for those of us who struggle to meet the (what feels like) unattainable societal demands of our culture. Every day there is new information about something that we could be doing wrong and it’s exhausting trying to keep up with it all, especially amidst busy schedules that both my kids and I have.
      The point is, we all do our best. And when we fall a little short, we lift each other up and assure one another that the likelihood of our kids being permanently scarred from our occasional choice to eat chips, grilled meats with fillers, and canned beans at dinner.

      • May 31, 2019

        Rebecca Reply

        Christy, it’s not condemnation. Not by any stretch. What you already do is what the rest of us are trying to achieve.
        This is about grace for those of us who struggle to meet the (what feels like) unattainable societal demands of our culture. Every day there is new information about something that we could be doing wrong and it’s exhausting trying to keep up with it all, especially amidst busy schedules that both my kids and I have.
        The point is, we all do our best. And when we fall a little short, we lift each other up and assure one another that the likelihood of our kids being permanently scarred from our occasional choice to eat chips, grilled meats with fillers, and canned beans at dinner is low.

    • May 31, 2019

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Dear Christy,

      First, I am sorry about the cancer. I truly am. And it’s really not a condemnation, more an observation about the millions of choices out there. My son has Celiac Disease and we eat mostly organic and I found myself feeling guilty for the times when I “messed up”…but then I realize that it’s really not messing up, as long as I try my best. If you read my writing you will know that I am about grace and imperfection and trying our best. Sending much love. ~Rachel

    • June 2, 2019

      Lori Reply

      Christy, I am Soo sorry that you had to go through that! What specifically gave you the cancer so that we all know what to avoid?? We go to fast food places a few times a month. Was it fast food? I also, truthfully hope that you have not told your mom that she “gave” you cancer. As a mom who is doing the best I can, I feel like I would be CRUSHED if one of my most precious treasures got cancer, but even worse got it specifically from something I did, despite my best efforts to protect them…

      • June 6, 2019

        Freya Reply

        Any fast food that you give to your kids can cause cancer or other diseases. There is not one particular thing that can do the damage. She just wanted to share her experience with all of us. Try to put yourself in her shoes, I am sure you will understand what she wants to say.

    • June 20, 2019

      Anonymous Reply

      I don’t think Rachel is condemning anyone. If fact, it’s quite the opposite. She’s just trying to say we’re all doing the best we can and shouldn’t feel guilty when we can’t live up to someone else’s thoughts of how everything should be done. That all this research that shows conflicting information on what is bad for our children, without providing solutions, just makes moms more stressed out.
      Instead of spending hours and hours trying to do what others tell us is best (and often money that is needed elsewhere), we should do what we feel is best for our own family and enjoy our kids while they’re young instead of stressing out that we aren’t getting the perfect sunscreen, hot dogs, sports lessons, etc.
      In short, do what works for your family and be kind to each other. Momming is hard enough without others condemning.

      • July 15, 2019

        Rachel Marie Martin Reply

        Thank you, thank you….you are exactly right. It’s the opposite of condemning, it’s about grace to be you. Thank you. <3

    • June 21, 2019

      Cristin Reply

      Um,I think you misunderstood. She’s not condemning the mother’s who do all of that, she’s telling the mothers who DON’T do all of that, all of the time, that IT’S OK!! If you choose to do the “all organic, all natural, label reading, non GMO, free range, grass fed, antibiotic free way”– that’s your choice as a mother, and it’s awesome and it’s great for you. But if you choose the “bike riding til the street lights come on, water hose drinking, hot dog/deli meat, canned beans, ‘juice’pouch drinking, high-fructose-corn-syrup-popsicle licking, store brand ketchup dipping, dishes in the sink, toys on the floor and thei pool as a bath way” that’s ok too and it’s also awesome! And frankly IMO, I think it allows for a little more time to play WITH your kids and absorb the little time we do have with our kids, while they still want to play with us too. To make memories instead of lists, because in the end, like she said, most of us who lived through that era(some even without seatbelts in the car, GASP), turned out ok.

  7. May 31, 2019

    Jane Reply

    Love this article so much. My kids are grown now. They are in that stage between adult and teenager. The stage that makes me doubt my mothering. This article was such a comfort and a reminder that moms are doing the best they can in a complex forever changing world. And the pressure to be the best is at times too much. And that letting goes a little is okay too.

  8. June 1, 2019

    Sandy Reply

    Amen. Love is key. Enjoy and hold on tight when it gets wild and crazy. It goes faster than you think and they will love that you loved them. After all, isn’t that what you remember about your mom? <> to all.

  9. June 2, 2019

    Eileen Lass Reply

    Great reminders of important truths. May I suggest a few books? One is called “Motherhood Stress” by Deborah Shaw Lewis and the second is called “Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives” by Richard Swenson.

  10. June 2, 2019

    Lori Reply

    Christy, I am Soo sorry that you had to go through that! What specifically gave you the cancer so that we all know what to avoid?? We go to fast food places a few times a month. Was it fast food? I also, truthfully hope that you have not told your mom that she “gave” you cancer. As a mom who is doing the best I can, I feel like I would be CRUSHED if one of my most precious treasures got cancer, but even worse got it specifically from something I did, despite my best efforts to protect them…

  11. […] This article was previously published here. […]

  12. June 5, 2019

    Joanne m DuBois Reply

    You Mothers have such a different attitude towards things than we did 30-40 years ago. Yes, the world has changed and things are scarier, but love your kids, do your best. No rule books here, we never had them. We let our kids roam the neighborhood, had neighborhood sleepovers, water balloon fights (including Parents), communal camping trips. Our kids had US, they didn’t have Big Brother watching watching every move their parents made. Then Gen back, when we were growing up in the 50’s and 60’s it was even better!

  13. June 7, 2019

    Dee Reply

    YES! This is everything! Thank you for writing this on behalf of all the moms everywhere!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.