Hope for the Weary Mom

It's February 9th.  Less than a week until Valentine's Day.  This means that moms across the country are getting themselves into a tizzy over handcrafting all sorts of cutesy things they saw on Pinterest so that their children won't be the only ones who show up with perforated Valentines from the Dollar Tree. (Hey, I'm not knocking it...I love that place.)

Why though?  Why do we do this to ourselves?

Ladies, I don't know why we torture ourselves by worrying over what everyone else is doing better than we are.  Perhaps it's because we're inundated with the notion that we have to do it better than all of them.  Maybe we've been so convinced that our worth is relative that we completely forget that our worth comes from the One who passes out all worth to begin with.  And you know what?  He thinks you are lovely.

I just finished a book called Hope for the Weary Mom:  Where God Meets You in Your Mess.  I wasn't paid to read it.  I wasn't paid to review it.  And I don't get paid if you follow the link right there and buy it.  I just want to share it with you because it touched me.  Profoundly.  Maybe it's because they said a lot of the things I wish to say on this blog, boldly but with a tenderness that I tend to lack at times. 

At the end of the book there is a Q&A with the authors and the question was posed to them - "As weary moms (and women in general), how do we encourage each other to quit pretending everything is OK, and just get real with each other?"

The answer resonated with me.
I think we all need to quit pretending that the last 50 years of women's lib haven't affected how we think about ourselves.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to vote, and share my opinions as much as the next woman, but in spite of everything freedom for women got right, I think we also got some things wrong.  After years of being told that we can have it all, we feel guilty, or like there's something wrong with us, if we're not doing a good job of it.  So we don't talk about it.
What do you think?  Can we really have it all?  Without guilt?  Without constantly feeling like we aren't measuring up?

The author continues on with an idea of what might help -
I've found that by laying my mess out for all the world to see, other women have been freed up to do the same.  And the effects are far-reaching!  When we admit our weaknesses, we give God permission to be strong for us.  The best way you can encourage other moms to get real about their messes is by getting real about yours.  Gently and humbly come alongside one or two moms to start with, and watch what God does as you let it all out.
Friends, if there's one thing I intend to communicate to you through this blog, it's that I am a mess.  Truth is, I know you are a mess too...even if you don't talk about it.  I don't get any joy out of knowing that.  I don't relish in other people's messes.  I've got enough of my own.  The point is, we're in this together, even if our selective, happy-go-lucky Facebook posts don't tell the full story.

Being a mom is blue-collar work.  It's in the trenches.  It's dirty.  The hours stink.  There is someone who is sticky every moment of the day.  Often times that's you.  The good hair days are few and far between.  Judging by the crumbs on your floor, it's obvious that the kids clearly miss their mouth with more food than they manage to get in.  You simply cannot catch up on housework because in the ten minutes it took you to wash a few windows, two hours worth of work was undone in another room.  And really, your kids are good kids.  They're just that, though.  Kids.  And it's not exactly easy raising them up. 

There is nothing wrong with working hard to be a good parent.  In fact, that's kind of a job requirement. 

If you are tired and weary, moms, you are not alone.  It's just one of the side-effects, if you will, of being a mom.  You've been entrusted with a lot of responsibility, therefore, a lot of responsibility rests on your shoulders.  In fact, I'm quite certain I've read that somewhere before.

Beneath the mess, there is always hope.  The book includes this prayer -
Lord, today, I want to honestly admit where I am.  I am tired beyond the normal.  I am a weary mom who needs a fresh encounter with You.

Please work in my messy heart.  Make it a place where you love to reside.  Fill it with Your presence and begin working on the inside who you want me to be on the outside.  I believe You want to do more than I can possibly imagine.  I invite you to start right now.

I know it will not happen overnight.  I might take two steps forward and two steps back.  Thank you for walking with me Jesus and being patient with me.

Thank you for making me a mom in the first place.  My prayer is that my family will be the first to see hope at work in me.
Amen, right?  Ladies, we don't have to pretend.  I don't expect you to be perfect, and I sure hope you don't expect the same of me.  There is power in vulnerability.  God himself promises to be our strength when we are weak.  I sincerely implore you, as soon as possible, to find a friend and share your deep, "dark" secrets with them.  Tell them that you only own two pairs of jeans that fit because 90% of your life you spend in pajama pants.  Tell them that you are so pressed for time that you paid your six year old a crisp $1 bill to sit next to the highchair and keep the Goldfish coming to your 11-month-old so you could take a five minute shower in peace.  Tell them that sometimes you don't like being a mom...but then you snap out of it and count it as the blessing from God that it truly is.  It's okay, friends.  It's okay.  You can stop pretending.  Let's do it together. 

This week's challenge is to make a coffee date with another mom and just be real.  Even if it's messy. Especially even.

Speaking of mess, I'll close with this...

That would be evidence of my youngest ingesting the contents of a teabag.  
Don't worry - it was decaf.

P.S. - I'll save my rant about Pinterest for another day.  Believe me, it's inside just dying to get out. 


Cheri ONeill said...

God Bless you for you honesty and your encouragement....the one thing in my life I have always tried to be is REAL ...Although I long for the postcard-picture-perfect, it's just way to much pressure.....THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!!!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post Jennie! Coffee dates aren't generally a possibility for me when Wes is on nights. But here are a few of mine:

--I yell/snap at my kids. A lot. And it disappoints me more than any of my other "mom" behaviors, as I'm generally pretty patient and gentle and always thought I'd be the mom that *never* did that...not did it on a daily basis.

--My kids sometimes have the television on six hours in a single day. I hate this too. It's my main go-to when I really need to get something done or feel I'm about to lose my sanity, and those things happen way more than six hours of every day.

--My boys don't wear anything but their underoos unless we have to leave the house. It doesn't seem a battle worth picking.

--My kids are just as likely to be given a miscellaneous plate of finger foods as they are a cooked meal at dinnertime.

Sometimes I wish I knew more moms with multiple young kids so that I could just go spend a day with them and see what their version of behind the scenes looks like. Our pastors are the only other family with stair-steppers in our church, and theirs are older. So thanks for the refreshing read!


Jade Steckly said...

I have rants about pinterest too, among other things about the internet!!! I don't post them because I'm so afraid of offending people though lol.

This is a great post...although it did remind me that I haven't even thought about making valentines for my girls' classmates!!! Maybe I just won't bother this year...
Thank you for the great post!!

Sharon said...

I have always found extreme freedom in being honest and vulnerable. Sometimes sharing the *dirty laundry* is encouraging to others in ways you can never anticipate. I have always been attracted to your authenticity - and I know that others are too.

Being a mom is messy work! And might I just say that the job doesn't get any easier when those kids grow up. It just changes. I still question my worth, my effectiveness. Sometimes the guilt of *looking back* is brutal. I can become consumed with my "failures."

But that is where God frees me up. My worth comes from HIM alone - as you so wisely pointed out.


(You might enjoy the fact that I am typing this comment in my PJ's at 1:00 PM - that's afternoon, folks...)

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