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Me and My Mess by Fern Weis, Parent + Family Recovery Coach

Me and My Mess by Fern Weis, Parent + Family Recovery Coach, Bergen County Moms

My desk, and many surfaces in my home, are a mess. This is one of those “what I don’t want you to know about me” posts. So why am I sharing it? There are likely many of you who can identify, and, like me, you think less of yourself because of your mess.

For some reason (a perfectionist father, perhaps) I have been a messy person most of my life. Not a hoarder, or a ‘you can’t find the floor’ messy. I have struggled with putting things in their right place, right away. Some of that is because I’m not always sure what the right place is, and like most procrastinators, there are much more enjoyable things to do whispering for my attention.

Some would call it lazy. The truth is that lazy is another word for avoidance. Getting to the root of the avoidance is hard, and changing is much harder than that.

I’m the person who used to, with all good intentions, put something on the stairs so I’d remember to take it upstairs… and then walk right by it. Totally aware it was there, I’d keep going. What’s that all about?

Damned if I know.

It took years for me to make the conscious effort to reach down, pick up the item, and take it with me.


Yes, I know all about the very real benefits of putting things away or throwing them out. The physical clutter becomes mental clutter, draining my energy, making me cranky, and of course, keeping me from finding things when I need them. But change has been microscopically slow. Somehow I’ve learned to function in my own messiness, although not as effectively as I’d like.

However, there are glimmers of hope. Just today I picked up a prescription. Once home, I put the meds with my vitamins. That works. The script and the receipt I was about to put in a small catch-all container on the table. So easy to do. There was also mail to bring upstairs. In a moment of sanity (ha!) I brought the mail and the Rx papers up together, and filed the papers right away.

Those of you who are BO (Born Organized) may be shaking your heads reading this. But make no mistake: for those of us who struggle with our ‘stuff’, and more specifically with paper, this was a big deal. I’m feeling quite content with myself right now.

Avoidance had evolved into taking care of a pile of papers all at once instead of piece by piece. The one-paper-at-a-time thing is annoying to me. But as annoying as it is, there’s something to it. A little peace and serenity, for starters… not to mention a touch of pride in changing a habit, at least this one time.

And when I get into that self-critical state of mind, shaking my head at me, I remind myself that there is more to me than this. I am kind, smart, generous, compassionate and wise, and I have a great sense of humor.

Me, myself, and my mess. It’s a package deal. All things considered, the package is actually pretty darn good.

Fern Weis is a certified life coach who learned that caring and good intentions are not enough in parenting. In fact, they are often the problem! Fern supports parents of teens and young adults who are going through difficult situations, including addiction recovery. She helps parents release guilt, end enabling and confidently prepare their children to thrive through life's challenges. Her articles are featured in Thrive Global, Medium, Motherly, The Teen Mentor, and Bergen County Moms.

Learn more about coaching and classes at And then download your free guide, "Five Powerful Steps to Get Your Teen to Talk." For information on Family Recovery programs, visit

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