One Step Further Than Accepting the Chaos


One Step Further than Accepting the Chaos

I’m one week postpartum with my third baby. Yesterday, I ventured out of the cocoon of my bedroom and downstairs for the first time since he was born. I was a bit hesitant, but also looking forward to finding a sense of normalcy as I sat down at the table with my husband and older sons.

Instead of the gentle transition I had hoped for, I was immediately overwhelmed. It felt like my senses were being bombarded. Their voices were loud, there were toys all over the floor, and they were in constant motion! I had to check myself and realize that nothing happening was outside of the norm. It was me who was different. After my quiet week up in my postpartum nest, I needed to readjust to life with young, rambunctious boys and a house full of activity.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been overwhelmed in my home. I grew up in a relatively calm and orderly home with one younger sister. We played quietly and the house usually seemed pretty tidy. (Perhaps my mom’s recollection is different though – you’d have to ask her!)

10988931_10100121170220859_5431591289521561316_nMy home now is neither quiet nor orderly. My husband and I homeschool our kids and we both work from home. Our house is where most of life is lived. Our older boys are five-and-a-half and three-and-a-half and FULL of life and energy. There is almost always noise, messes, or a chaotic blend of both. And I’m realizing that I’m still not used to it. My coping strategies when I feel out of control could use some work. My instinct is to start cleaning like mad! Sometimes this makes me feel better in the moment, but often times it just makes me more frantic. But worst of all, it does nothing for building connection with my kids. When I’m re-actively cleaning, I’m often feeling and acting anxious, and I’m using up precious time that could be spent engaging with them.

So this morning when I was downstairs, I made a new plan for when I feel triggered by the general chaos:

Step 1: Be gentle with myself. It’s okay that this is a trigger for me and it’s okay that I don’t roll with it as easily as my husband does, especially right now while I’m in that sensitive postpartum adjustment period. I need to tread gently into the chaos.  

Step 2: Think differently about the mess or noise. Instead of wincing at the level of my five-year-old’s voice when he’s telling me about his new video game achievement, I will choose to notice his excitement and passion for what he’s doing, and be grateful for his desire to share it with me. Instead of seeing another 20 minutes of tidying up ahead of me, I will choose to see my three-year-old’s superheroes spread around the room as evidence of  being engaged and happy with his toys.

Until now, I’ve been telling myself to accept the chaos. But I’m determined to take it one step further and embrace the chaos. Do I want to waste so much of my time and energy during their younger years worrying and fretting, or do I want to join in the fun? Do I want them to think back on their mom as someone who nagged them about the mess and constantly asked them to lower their voices, or do I want them to remember their mom as someone who celebrated and played with them? My answers to those questions come quickly and without much thought.

My kids are happy and they are thriving. Most often, the chaos is pure evidence of that fact. And when my new strategy isn’t enough to calm me down and help me stay present, I’ll step outside, take a few deep breaths, and come back inside and try again.

Do mess and chaos stress you out in your home? What are your strategies for staying calm in the face of chaotic daily life?

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Hello, I’m Taylor! I am Mama to three beautiful kids, ages five and three, and a brand new little guy who is snuggling me as I write this. Parenting with my amazing partner James has sent us on a quest to craft the very best life we can imagine for our family. To us, that means that each of us (kids included) can pursue our passions while spending as much time as possible together as a family unit. Since 2011, we have moved three times and both changed careers multiple times. We’re now happily settled in the Seacoast, a truly special place that we think will be our forever home. We both work from home, trading time spent working and time spent with our kids. We are passionate about our homeschooled children taking the lead in their own learning and our days are spent supporting them and their interests. I am a birth and postpartum doula and co-founder of New Mama Project, a site filled with resources and support to help new mothers navigate the postpartum transition and the profound identity shift of becoming a mom. I love exploring the Seacoast, dreaming about traveling, learning to knit, and reading and talking about homeschooling and unschooling.


  1. Such a powerful message Taylor.

    Your life sounds like so many other parents who I talk to when we discuss how we manage our time as we attempt to juggle a million roles and being present for our children is our main priority.

    My biggest ah ha moment this week has been to stop having regrets. I know i’m not perfect and that I will make mistakes but i’m going to try my hardest to avoid them.

    Thank you for sharing this amazing piece.

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