Here’s To The Boat Mamas

Living the messy life

“I know that THIS is what it is all about.
This messy [boat].
This day.
This moment.”
-Kristen Welch


Confession Time: My boat is an absolute mess.  Right now, in this very moment, I have dog hair and a few random pieces of dog food on the salon floor; dry dishes piled up on the counter in desperate need of being put away; Vivienne’s markers, crayons, and books heaped into her “learning basket” on the salon shelf; don’t even get me started on the mountain of toys, blankets, and even more books filling the better part of her full-size bed.   My boat is a mess and I am writing a blog post instead of cleaning.

Let me back up a few days.  My husband is away doing a yacht delivery for our company,  Cruiser Movers, LLC, and I am home with Vivienne and our dogs.  While we have an excellent routine to get everyone out the door in time to drive across town to school on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, by the time we get home I don’t feel like cleaning.  On the days when Vivienne gets out of school we often have other things to do, such as running errands and spending precious time together.  Now that the days are longer and the weather is consistently in the 80s, we go to the pool, play outside, and Vivienne loves to ride her bike up and down the docks.  When TJ is away that also means I have dogs to walk, dishes to clean, laundry to wash, mouths to feed, and a boat to clean–all on my own.  Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely not complaining because I certainly wouldn’t have it any other way, as owning our own business has been the best thing to happen to our family, but that means some things get put on the back burner; most often cleaning the boat (and laundry).

If there is one thing I’ve learned through my eating disorder recovery journey, it is that time is short and time with Vivienne is precious.  She is growing before my very eyes and I don’t want to waste a minute more of that time worried about what other will think of me, my home, or how I parent.  When a fellow marina boat mama stopped by the other night, after nursing her toddler for days on end through the stress of teething, she was lamenting about how messy her boat was.  I gestured around the salon and galley with its single-well sink piled with the evening’s dishes and laughed.  That’s just life with a toddler!  She mentioned boating blogs where the boat looks like it never has anything out of place and I knew exactly how she felt.  I’ve fallen into the “compare and despair” trap before, too.  I was reminded of the often-posted phrase about social media causing us to compare our behind the scenes life to the highlight reel we, and others, post; which is precisely why I chose to post this.

I am posting my behind-the-scenes because too often life isn’t transparent and I, too, am guilty of posting the highlight reel of our life onboard.  

This is for all the boat mamas out there who play the “compare and despair” game when looking at social media posts of always clean, always photo-op ready boats.  My boat is not, and probably will never be, one of them.  My boat is messy because we are busy making memories instead of keeping our boat constantly cleaned up.  There are mamas out there who can keep a spotless, well-organized boat and make awesome memories with their children–more power to them!–but I am not one of them.  For me it is an either-or, give and take type of thing.  Yes, there are times the amount of clutter that piles up in random places makes me want to pull my hair out, but then I take a few deep breaths and remind myself of the things I chose to do instead of cleaning.  Sometimes I also randomly start straightening up for a few hours until that feeling of complete clutter disappears.

Without further ado, I give you my behind-the-scenes, messy, real-life photography of our boat.   


I’ll admit, before it occurred to me to take these photos, I had already cleared off the table and done the dishes piled in the sink.  We still have Easter decorations on the windows….


This is the only spot that remains clean most of the time, as it is where we “house” our business.  Look closely under the chart table, though, and you’ll see shoes that aren’t put away and other random things piled up.


Maybe Vivienne has too many toys, books, and other things but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  She gets the best of both worlds right now–toys and living on a boat.


This concludes the public display of our clutter and mess but, for all you boat mamas thinking your boat isn’t clean enough, isn’t organized enough, just remember this: time with our little ones is short so go out and enjoy it.  Isn’t that why we all became liveaboards in the first place?

Oh, and we are having toast for dinner because instead of cooking we played at the pool all day.

Te Whakapono,
Lane McKelvey

~~All things are possible for those who believe.  -Mark 9:23~~

One thought on “Here’s To The Boat Mamas

  1. Love it, Lane. You got it all figured out. Enjoy spending time with Vivienne while you are the center of her universe. All too soon she will be up and grown and spread her wings. Remember I told you the moment she takes her first breath at birth she will start growing away from you. Treasure and walk with her every step as long as she needs you. Everything else will fall in place, one chore at a time.


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