Yes, I Am a Hot Mess (Please Don’t Judge). ~ Dana Gornall

Via Dana Gornall
on Jul 23, 2013
get elephant's newsletter


I used to have this nightmare when I was a kid.

I am in my room and a Sesame Street record is playing. (Yes we had records back then.) It’s an ordinary fun day and I’m happily playing when suddenly Bert and Ernie start singing faster and faster until I begin to panic. I cover my ears and scream. Usually about that time I awake in my bed screaming and my mother is standing over me trying to figure out why I am crying about Sesame Street at 3:00 in the morning.

Lately that nightmare has taken hold of my current life, except now Bert and Ernie aren’t singing. Balancing work, home and family has become a standard cultural icon in our modern society. So many of us are trying to keep up with the image of a perfect parent and maintain a professional career, that countless articles and self help books have been dedicated to the topic. I find myself in this same trap and while I can see how insane it is at times from an outside perspective, it’s a continuous merry-go-round and I just don’t know how to get off. On a good day, I get everyone where they need to be (including me) and I feel like I accomplished something. However, many days things do not go as planned and I feel like I’m getting by at best. Trying to measure up to my standard is tough. I want to have a clean house and be organized. I want to have my laundry done and folded and exercise my dog often enough that he is pleasantly tired at the end of the day. I want to be the volunteer mom at school field trips and the employee you can count on when you need her most.

More importantly, I want to be a good person—the friend you can turn to when you need one and the mom you can talk to when something is bothering you.

At days end, sometimes I replay all those moments, good and bad. I cringe at the memory of me yelling because we were running late to school and wince at the thought that I didn’t get the dog walked. The dishes that need to be put away mock my ineptness and the unopened bills laying on the dining room table threaten my sleep. It’s nights like those that I hang my head and wonder if I can turn myself from the inside out and display the person that I am aiming to be. But then maybe it’s okay that even in moments when I don’t quite make it, the effort will mean something. I’m not perfect but my intent is love. Tomorrow is another day and I will do my best to not yell. I will put away the dishes and pay those bills—at least some of them, for now. I will find time for yoga and I won’t be late for work. I will be available to all and I will balance everything without losing sight of the important things. Maybe.

Yes, I am a hot mess. Please don’t judge.

Love & Longevity: 5 Things to Keep the Passion Alive.
A Guide to Buddhist Parenting.

Like The Mindful Life on Facebook

Ed: Bryonie Wise

Photo Credit: Pinterest


About Dana Gornall

Dana Gornall is a mom of three crazy kids and a dog. She works as a licensed massage therapist in Amherst, Ohio and is a certified sign language interpreter. She is always looking forward to even more personal growth. While not interpreting, doing massage, or being with her family she loves going to yoga. You can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


8 Responses to “Yes, I Am a Hot Mess (Please Don’t Judge). ~ Dana Gornall”

  1. Darla says:

    Great article, I feel like it speaks for most women at one time in their lives. Especially for single moms in todays world.

  2. jas faulkner says:

    Make some room on that bench, Dana!

  3. I'll never forget a moment in my life b.c. (before children) when my husband and I had dear friends over for dinner and I was cleaning up and washing up afterwards. Honestly, they were good enough friends that I felt comfortable dealing with those little things that make the next day a horrendous over-burden of chores before I had to go teach my yoga class.
    Anyways, my buddy turns to me and says, "Jenn, quit being such a Martha." (A reference to the biblical story about Martha and Mary.)
    Initially I was hurt, but that single comment by someone who was, ironically, a good enough friend to say it made me stop and think—and change.

    To this day, when I find myself torn between starting a load of laundry or reading to my daughter, book extended out to me in her tiny hand, and I walk towards the laundry basket, I stop and hear his words repeated in my head and, nearly always, I turn back around to her.

    It's such a dance—this combination of work, play, motherhood, responsibility and enjoyment. The fact that you wrote this piece and recognize these intricacies tells me that you're already doing a fine job.

  4. Dana says:

    Thanks, Jennifer. It is a dance—and some days it's hard to keep from falling. 🙂

  5. Kandee says:

    You are not a hot mess! You are a human, trying to do a superhuman amount of things well. It is so easy to see it from the outside when you describe all that you are trying to juggle and do, yet so hard to see when you are in the midst of it how much we expect of ourselves and how unrealistic it is and which part is the most important to focus on. Compassion, not judgment!

  6. Lynn says:

    Oh, Dana. I feel like this all the time. I'm writing something similar too. You are not alone, and neither am I. <3

  7. DanaGornall says:

    Thank you Lynn! <3

  8. Ginny says:

    Thank you so much for this!! I work on this daily!! I am HUMAN!!