Calling all imperfect, bra-less, messy-haired, tired mamas!
I hear you. I see you. I am you.
This grand and noble calling of motherhood is no small feat. I love every single minute of it, but I have to admit that there are times when I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of laundry, crusty dishes, and messy floors. I see some of you on social media, and you seem to have it all together…your selfies and your endless Facebook posts about your perfect little family leave me wondering how I can ever live up to your fairy tale. But that’s it, isn’t it? It’s just a fairy tale and not real life. Because no red-blooded woman with a slew of kids, a husband, and a home has it all together. Nope.
Yesterday I cleaned every inch of the kitchen and today every inch of the kitchen is a culinary war zone. And as I step into the laundry room, I am reminded that the lack of space and the endless piles of dirty, stained, and muddy clothes from the four loves of my life, leave little room for organization, so I take a deep breath and dive into that pile and a thought crosses my mind for just one split second…”Maybe I’ll just light a match to those piles and burn ‘em up.” Lol. No, because that means buying all new clothes. Is there a Plan B?
I am a woman who thrives on a finished project. To start something, knowing that it will not be completely finished, is well, mind-bending for me. It messes with my head. The ongoingness of the endless projects I have as a wife and mother have somehow tricked me into believing that my success is dependent on their completion. But what if it is simply okay if it doesn’t all get finished? Maybe the blessings emerge in the journey, not the destination.
I am an all or nothing kind of gal. All I have to do is read approximately three verses of Proverbs 31 and I just want to assume the fetal positon, insert the thumb, and call it a day. But here’s the thing: that woman was human too, you know? Maybe on the day she was out considering that field to buy, the laundry piled up a bit? Yeah, she set the bar pretty high, not gonna lie. But the truth of the matter is, she, like you and me, was a sinner – a human with weaknesses and limits to what she could do. And although she accomplished much, we are not told what her struggles were. Maybe some of the things she struggled with are actually things that I excel in, who knows?
God knows. Yes, He does.
And He has been talking to me about my insane desire to be, like, oh I don’t know…homemaker of the year? Craziness. And He’s been basically telling me to let go of this perfection complex and lay it down at the Cross. And so I am doing so…daily.
And now, I am embracing simplicity. And I am learning to live in the now of every moment and cherish those moments, because they are blessings from God. Yes! And this way of living is so much more liberating! Can I tell you something? Last night we ate dinner and it was time to clean up afterwards, and it was so tempting to just get up from that dinner table and begin the work, but what about the other stuff? Like the sitting on the old wooden swing on the back porch with the most handsome man on earth? Yes, that! We held hands and we watched our brave little dog attempt to hump the leg of our other 200 pound dog and just about get his head bitten off for doing so…and we laughed together. And we just sat there talking until the fireflies told us it was time to go inside. It. Was. Bliss.
When my husband and I were married I remember thinking that I needed to do it all; that as the “keeper of the home”, it was my domain,and mine only; that to accept any help from my husband would mean I had failed. And to make matters worse, the church we were attending at the time put a LOT of pressure on the women to be subservient to their husbands, offering little room for the type of marriage that fostered an environment of unity and partnership. Yes, men and women – husbands and wives – have their different roles, but sometimes those roles overlap and there are areas where the husband and wife can work together. And this is a good thing, and not something that we, as wives, need to feel guilty about. Do you agree?
Simplicity. I love this word. It has become MY word this year. I’m living it; I’m walking it out in my own messy life. And I’m learning that less is more and the simple is sacred. I am incorporating simplicity into every area of my life that I can and it is changing my world for the better. Simpler meals (I used to make huge dinners every night. That’s a lovely thing, those huge dinners, but not every single night. Last night we had scrambled eggs…need I say more?). Simpler schedule (with at least one day a week at the beach to do nothing but play in the sand and build sandcastles with my kids). And simpler goals for myself, allowing for interruptions, kisses for dirty faced boys, watermelon instead of baked alaska, hand holding with my forever crush, and relishing every single God-given moment with the precious family I am blessed to be a part of. And if today the laundry doesn’t get done, it will still be there tomorrow. But tomorrow…or many tomorrows after that…my kids will be grown and they will no longer want to sit outside and explain to me the importance of their being able to obtain a rocket ship so that they can fly to the moon. No, these moments are precious and fleeting, and although life is messy and imperfect and everything doesn’t always fit neatly together in a perfect little box, this life I have been given is beautiful.
So, if you, sister, are sporting the mommy pony-tail, are on your fourth cuppa joe and still feeling tired, and are rebelling against having to put on a bra so you can go run errands…I salute you. It’s okay. You don’t need to be perfect. God is able to give you the grace you need to do what needs to be done, and the rest – it will have to wait. Because, hey, you have cheeks to kiss, memories to make, and sandcastles to build…so go build ‘em with the ones you love.
I’ll leave you with this:
IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER – by Erma Bombeck
(written after she found out she was dying from cancer).
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, ‘Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.’ There would have been more ‘I love you’s’ More ‘I’m sorry’s.’
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it .. live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!!!
Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.