I get it. Kids are messy. Homes get really, really messy. Life is messy.
Our day-to-day can feel so hectic that before we know it, we lose all hope of ever getting it together. We feel badly about this, so we take to social media…and we begin to share. We post pictures of our out-of-control playrooms, our misbehaving toddlers, and our disgustingly dirty minivans. We lament the fact that we can’t ever get anywhere on time…that we’re feeding our kids Chick-fil-a for the 4th time this week…and that Oops! We overspent at Target yet again. We find some kind of odd comfort in being real…and authentic…and confessing to everyone that we are just like them…a total mess.
Our homes are a wreck. Our relationships are a mess. We’re physically exhausted, emotionally drained, and mentally spent…and we cry out for grace. We hold tightly to grace. We claim all of our mess is covered in grace. And while I am so thankful for God’s grace…and the promise that His mercies are new every morning…and the way that He willingly extends grace to us in our time of need, sometimes I wonder if there are times when what we moms really need is a swift kick in the pants – one that will encourage us toward less business and more rest…less chaos and more organization…less laziness and more energy…less stuff and more simplicity…less of a slightly warped and somewhat nauseating focus on grace and more of a desire to please God by giving our very best to Him and to our families.
It has seemingly become popular to celebrate being a bad mom. Our culture is overflowing with books and movies and articles that encourage us to laugh about – and even celebrate our bad mom moments – but if you’re like me, this bothers you and fills you with some level of sadness regarding the way the world views motherhood.
Friends, I can so closely relate to the daily struggles of being a parent. There are times when I literally want to cry when I look in my laundry room. There are days when I want to scream because my kids won’t stop fighting with each other. There are moments when I am totally overwhelmed by the thought of making it to the next thing. I am in the trenches right there with you. This motherhood thing is definitely not for the faint of heart. There are days when I feel like I simply may not survive until bedtime….but…
…I want to be better. I don’t want to allow my to-dos to overwhelm me. I don’t want to overact when my kids are being kids – or be impatient in any of my relationships, for that matter. I don’t want to dread opportunities to serve well. And do you know what I really need? I need people in my life who will inspire me to grow in the areas where I am struggling. I need to surround myself with individuals who will encourage me to find creative ways to do life with joy.
I don’t want to interact with those who will simply make me feel better about my flaws…and my hangups…and my weaknesses. My soul craves community with people who will sharpen me and challenge me to be a more Christ-like wife and mother and daughter and sister and friend.
I don’t want to embrace my mess – I want to embrace the Savior who brings beauty out of my mess.
I get it. Sometimes we feel like we absolutely can not give anymore than we’re already giving. When I find myself getting to that point, I have to take a real close look at my calendar…and nine times out of ten, there is something that needs to go – something that is draining the energy that I have been specifically called to invest in my family.
Have we ever stopped to consider that…
…maybe it’s not really all that funny that we’re always running late, and maybe when it really gets down to it, we are simply overextended?
…maybe it’s not really all that cute that our laundry is never put away and our dishes are always piled up in the sink, and maybe when it really gets down to it, we are truly struggling with how to manage our time?
…maybe it’s not really all that normal that our homes are overflowing with clutter, and maybe when it really gets down to it, we need to let go of our attachment to things?
…maybe it’s not really all that impressive that our schedules are so jammed pack that we never have time to spend at home together as a family, and maybe when it really gets down it, we need to release some of our supposed must-dos in order to be able to really embrace all that God has for our families?
Do these things resonate with you? Oh how they to speak to me! Ladies, Satan wants to steal our time…our energy…our creativity. He wants to remove any trace of organization from our homes and the peace that comes with strong relationships and replace all of it with chaos…and He wants to do these things without us even realizing it.
Why don’t we want to see the snapshots from the life of that seemingly put-together mom?
Who just popped in to your head?
You see, I think we really need to dig deeper in to our whys…in to why we feel the way we do about other people. Are we jealous? Are we discontent? Are we frustrated? Are they the problem…or is it us?
Let’s be honest. Even if it stings.
Why don’t we want to see pictures of the yummy meals she makes? Is she someone who simply post too.many.food.pictures. or do we feel irritated because we can’t get it together to cook – not ever?
Why don’t we want to see photos of the craft projects that our friend is doing at home with her kids? Does this mama like to brag on herself a little too much or do we just feel frustrated because we never have any spare time at home with our little ones?
Why don’t we want to see the coupon deals that so-and-so scored? Is she one of those wacky extreme couponers who wants everyone to know that she was able to get forty-seven bottles of hot sauce for eleven cents or are we frankly feeling a little irritated by her because we haven’t taken the time to manage our family’s money wisely?
Why don’t we want to see photos of our happily married friends? Do they need to get a room (You know the kind of couples I’m talkin’ about here. ha!) or is this a couple whose happiness serves as a painful reminder that we’ve been so busy with our children that we’ve failed to invest anything in to our own marriage?
If we were honest with ourselves, I think maybe we would say that it can be a good thing that our feathers are a little ruffled by some individuals and the things that they like to share. Could there be a level at which we are feeling convicted by their good? While I want to know that there are other moms in the trenches with me…and while I want to know that there are others who understand what I’m going through on a day-to-day basis…and while I am so, so incredibly thankful for God’s grace that meets all of us where we are, I don’t want to stay stuck in my messes.
What Moms Really Need
In the power of the One who created me and knows me inside and out, I want to rise above the crazy and walk in the very best that He has for me.
Will this mean a perfectly clean home with perfectly organized closets? Perfectly behaved children living in a home where perfectly cooked meals are made daily? Marriages that never struggle? Friendships that never unravel? Most definitely not, but friends, we don’t have to remain floundering in our messes. God has more for us than that!
So while it may be popular to share the ugly, messy, difficult, challenging, frustrating moments of your day-to-day life – in an effort to be real and authentic (and I get it, we all need to be honest about the hard and comfortable with laughing at ourselves sometimes), please don’t feel badly about sharing your success stories: the meals that turned out to be delicious…the project that you’re incredibly proud of…the activity your family enjoyed together. If you have something beautiful to share, I want to see it!
I don’t know about you, but I love to be inspired by the success of others. I long to be challenged to grow by those who have walked ahead of me. I am eager to be encouraged by the mom who found God’s grace in a pile of laundry and then embraced His strength as she got those undies folded and put away by the end of the week.
Here’s to rising above our Bad Mom Moments and embracing the One Who is able to fill our days with joy!
Want to read more? I think I’ve figured out the reason your kids are getting on your nerves…