I’m disheveled … and proud of it

for The Brooklyn Paper
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I have been feeling slightly askew of late, and more than a little disheveled. The firm grip I had on my life when I was working full time with a full-time nanny in tow has slipped with the flexibility of freelance.

I no longer have to do things, and without a boss telling me what needs to be done, I am far less organized. The need I once had to prove I was the perfect mom has disappeared along with my regular paycheck. With options comes the opportunity to opt out, and then convince myself that “at least I’m around.”

I’m around, yes, but what kind of a role model is this disheveled, disorganized person who hasn’t put a date on the household calendar since 2010?

Since leaving work, I have stopped arranging get-togethers with friends weeks or months in advance, relying more on who I see around to motivate me. I’d rather play piano than get the broken closet door fixed or paint the dirty walls. I dress to suit my moods, often opting against classic-lined clothes in New York black for a varying array of earth tones and lots of costume jewelry that together make up a style my friends likened to “Punky Brewster.” It is certainly more eclectic than what I wore to the office. Stains and rips are no longer reasons not to wear something. After all, who’s going to judge?

Well, the kids, of course.

Asked to describe his parents with single words at the end of the school year, Oscar said I was a “feather.” Big G was a “rock.” Hmmm. Years back, scheduled to the hour, meals on the table at 7, vacations planned months in advance, I might have commanded a more solid, less wispy descriptor. But mine is, in fact, a more disheveled life, the lines a little fuzzy and blurred. I cannot say for sure if it’s better that way.

I remember meeting Big G’s parents in their home and feeling so comfortable. Things were lovely but not perfect. Books were strewn everywhere. There was a raised bump on a blanket I used that G explained was “stained, not dirty.” It was comforting that he did not think everything had to be exactly perfect. I think subconsciously I decided in that moment that he might be a good guy to marry. After all, hard as it was to keep it all together when I was just a single person, it has grown exponentially harder to do so as I take care of a family with two crazy growing boys, a sweet but often mud-tracking dog and two households.

Cobwebs fill corners of our little rental house as I sit reading and writing instead of cleaning.

Time seems to go faster and faster every day, and it seems I cannot bother not to be disheveled. There is too much else to do than worry about appearing perfect. I can only hope my children understand. I can only hope they don’t fault me for being mostly in disarray, that maybe they’ll see it as a choice.

A choice their proudly disheveled mom made.

Read Fearless Parenting every other Thursday on

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