Four ways I shamelessly use my kids as an excuse


Do you know, or are you one of, those moms who just has it all together? Super organized, on time to everything, kids look fantastic, and you/she does to? Well, I’m unfortunately not one of them. But, instead of examining myself and seeking to truly aspire to be like them, I make excuses and those excuses usually revolve around my children.

See I have a friend, actually several, who really do have it together. My excuse is, “well, they don’t have four children”….then they go and have three or four children and still stay on top of things! So, I guess the kids aren’t actually a good excuse after all because—“news flash”—it’s not the kids fault…at least not entirely.

After thinking about this a bit, I realized there are actually so many things for which I shamelessly use my kids as the excuse, but it’s not really their fault. So, like any good procrastinator, instead of making a list and starting right away on my self-improvement journey, I decided it would be a good idea to sit down and blog about it. So, below are four common ways in which I shamelessly use my kids as an excuse. Can you relate to any of these?

  • My messy house

    Literally, anytime anyone comes to my house—I mean, it could be a friend, a babysitter, a repairman. I even once said this to a UPS guy —I utter five words that are a flat out lie (six, if I decide to throw in a “sorry” at the beginning): “It’s not usually like this.” Then, I roll my eyes in the “you-understand-right? I-have-four-kids” kind of way. But, if I’m perfectly honest, the only time that statement should ever come out of my mouth is if my house is spotless and someone happens to come over.And, if I’m going to do the whole full disclosure, honesty bit, then the truth is that my house was always a mess, even before I had kids (my poor husband). I like to tell people, “I’m clean, I’m just not organized”. I’m a mess but having kids makes it more understandable/acceptable, right? At least, that’s what I tell myself.

  • My tardiness.

    Again, this would be a quality (ok, maybe “quality” is the wrong term here) of mine that preceded the birth of my children; however, they are a convenient excuse these days for why I am usually late wherever I go. The phrase I like to use here is, “there’s always something”, meaning someone pooped their diaper right before getting in the car, someone lost something, or my toddler has decided she doesn’t want to wear shoes today.Now, all of that is true; however, I’m seven years into this gig and I should probably be better prepared by now. My husband always says, “5 minutes per kid”, and that’s how far ahead we should plan JUST to get them from the door into the car to leave. So, if church starts at 9:00 and it takes 20 minutes to get there and 20 minutes to get all four kids in the car, and then a random 5 minutes because I’m always late, we literally have to start walking out of the house at 8:15. Yeah, I know this, buuuuut it doesn’t really happen. I mean, “there’s always something”, right?

  • My messy car.

    This. Well, this actually is the kids fault; however, I should probably not just look at the dehydrating apple slice under the back seat every day as I pull my toddler out of the car. I should probably just pick it up and throw it out. How hard is that? But, you know, my hands are full with bags, other trash, cups, babies. I’ll get it next time. Or the time after next.Eventually, I do get it out and then I do a massive overhaul of the car searching for the real culprit of that putrid smell, cuz it ain’t the apple. Then, the car is gloriously clean for a minute until the next time human beings enter the car.

  • My lazy appearance.

    “I’m a mom of four little kids” is the excuse I tell myself when I’m too lazy to put on a little mascara and some “real” clothes. I tell myself I just don’t have time to “get all done up” (that’s how I refer to slapping on mascara these days. Before kids, that would have been my au natural look) because I’m too busy chasing the kids around and getting them what they need. Really, the reality is that I do actually have 5-10 minutes to “get done up”, I just waste it surfing Facebook while hiding in the bathroom instead.

Here’s the other big truth in all of this: I constantly beat myself up over these “excuses”. My house is never clean enough, the car is always a mess, I’m a mere shadow of the put together woman I once was and, well, I’m still late to almost everything. I really do get down about these things. I try to joke it off but they really do bother me that I’m somehow just not better.

But, if I stop, take a step back, and look at my kids, they are all really happy, healthy, and joyful (well, my 3-year-old not so much but she’s 3, so there’s that). We laugh and play together, and make a big, fat mess. And, you know what, someday I can have that immaculate house and car, I can be on time and early to everything (well, I shouldn’t get too ahead of myself here), but that will also mean I don’t have my kids with me. They’ll have grown up and moved on. So, for now (and probably, likely, forever), I’ll put up with the mess and the less-than-perfect appearance if it means my life is filled with the joy and laughter of my children.

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