invisible labels

I don’t embarrass very easily.

Or I should say, I bounce back from embarrassment quickly and without much bruise to my ego.

I mean, really. I do not have TIME to be embarrassed!

I am routinely too loud for a situation.  Just ask Cort. It has been said I don’t have an indoor voice.

I am famous for talking about things that make my mom and dad groan and mumble, “C’mon, Kate.  Sheesh.”

I ask questions that are probably dumb, but I am hoping other people have.  Sometimes this elicits nods of agreement and relief.  Other times I am answered with blank stares and crickets to which I say, “No?  Ok then.  Just me, I guess.”

Yeah, I might turn a little red, but I brush it all off.

It’s fleeting.

It can be laughed off.

But I do feel like there is a label on me that can’t be laughed off.

One that announces to the world that I am a mess of a mother.

It all started with me announcing that this time around, I was going to ask and accept help with my baby, my family, my healing after my c-section.  I was going to do what was best for the family to keep the stress to a minimum.

Everyone seemed to think this was great.  I was finally admitting I couldn’t take everything on all by myself.

But now, 5 weeks after Charlie’s birth, suddenly I am finding shame in those choices.

How is it going being at home with TWO kids instead of just one?

I feel like people ask this question with a smirk.  Because they see my label.

And I start needlessly explaining:

Well, Eddie is still in daycare.  I mean, they do like a curriculum and stuff.  So he will be there until school is out.  He likes it better that way. Not that he doesn’t like to be with me, but you know, it’s boring to be home with mom and a baby who can’t play when he could be with his friends playing and learning and stuff.  I mean, they do crafts and lessons about letters, numbers, colors, shapes…lots of stuff.  Oh and they sing!  Eddie loves to sing!  And they play outdoors more than I would be able to because of Charlie.  And they do Bible stories.  That is important.  Not that I couldn’t do those, I suppose, but you know…it’s a whole curriculum.

Why do I do that?

Because I am ashamed that I send my boy away every day.

I carry shame in my heart that I can’t handle two kids at once.

But I do handle them both by myself.  Frequently.  So why do I feel like this choice puts a label on me saying I can’t?

The other thing I feel shame in admitting is that we have someone clean our house every other week.

The hardest thing is finding time to clean, isn’t it?

Yes. It is. Our house gets picked up and messes get cleaned, but this is not the same as “cleaning the house.”

And when my house feels yuck, so do I.  And it consumes me.

So we hire someone to do the “all at once, all over” cleaning.

Twice a month I have my bathroom and kitchen and floors cleaned GOOD.  My house gets a much needed dusting and the vacuum gets run in EVERY room at the same time.

I am very organized and I love neatness, but I let my choice to hire a cleaning lady stick a label to me saying I am incapable of keeping house.

These labels laugh in my face.

“She can’t handle motherhood.  She is a mess.  Her poor husband and kids.”

And since I am labeled a mess, my husband and boys must be labeled as needing pity.

This weighs so heavily on me, in fact, that it was the subject of a long, difficult therapy session last week.

This idea that I let my paranoia about what people think of my choices label me and my family.

But I have learned that these are invisible labels that I have stuck on us.

They are not reality.

I am not a mess.

Yup, I'm THAT friend.

I am a great mom who does what is best for myself and in turn for my husband and children.

I am a teacher who loves this time home with my new son, but can’t wait to get back to the classroom in the fall for a new adventure with new students.

I am a writer who shares the good, the bad, and the super bad because it is who I am…and maybe it will help someone else accept who he/she is.

I am a friend who might be an awkward hugger, but who will always do anything to see you smile.

I am a daughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt who would go out of my way for my family (not always without grumbles, but still).

I am a wife who still gets butterflies when I see her husband’s truck pull in because it means I get to see him soon.

I am enough.

Today I am linking up at Just. Be. Enough. about what we are beyond labels.
This post has been on my mind a lot and I got the push from Julie when she posted about shame.
I realized that I was keeping my shame inside and I needed to let it go.
Thank you, Julie.


Another way I am enough is in how I delivered my sons into this world.
My stories of emergency C-section and then a planned repeat C-section are featured on The Mom Pledge Today.
I’d love if you would hop on over there.