Messy Motherhood

Motherhood is hard! Everywhere I look it seems there are images of mothers with a seemingly “perfect” family – well dressed, well groomed, all smiling and laughing without a care in the world. We’ve all seen them. At the mall, at school events, at church… but it’s what we don’t get to see that makes all the difference! It’s everything we don’t see that makes this seemingly “super mommy” and polished family into a normal, everyday mama with normal everyday messy children.

tired-momWhat we don’t get to see is the pure madness she experienced the night before when she wrangled them all up for bath time and the chaos that ensued just to get them cleaned… soap in the eyes, one pouring a bucket of water over the others head which caused him to scream and stand up in protest nearly knocking his head on the side of the tub as he slipped and fell – all of this in the seconds it took for mama to reach her arms out to catch him, saving him from “what could have been”. (Yes, this scenario was inspired by recent events in my own home!!)

We don’t get to see how long it took that mother to get her kids “well dressed” and how many outfits she went through before leaving the house because each thing she put them seemed to get wrecked within minutes! (Yet another scenario inspired by my life!)

No, what we don’t see is that the reason they are all smiling is because they made it! They actually all made it out of the house, alive without killing each other in the process!! (OK, you caught me… these “hypothetical” scenarios are my life!)

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

We just had our son, 14mo, dedicated. Such a special day as family, friends and our loving church body gathered around as we all agreed together in prayer while dedicating our precious son to the Lord.

Everyone was complementing us on what a lovely family we have which I always enjoy hearing! But what they didn’t see was the craziness involved in getting us to church that day and presenting as such a “lovely family”…

We went to the mall the night before to get my son an outfit for his dedication… I of course wanted all of us to be color coordinated… Well that didn’t happen! Between the busy mall traffic and my kids who were getting restless – we ended up “b-lining” it for the exit after just a few stores while both children screamed and hollered about!

So what did we have to show for this whirlwind of a shopping trip: a white button up shirt, a pair of corduroy pants that were too big, and a mommy and two children that were at their whit’s end!!

The next morning, I still couldn’t let go of the image I had for his “perfect” outfit… so I went searching through the attic in boxes of clothes we had stored away for “later”. With no luck I began digging through piles of laundry on the floor where I found a pair of pants that fit him, ironed them so they wouldn’t look like they hadn’t been in a pile of laundry on the floor, and finally had to let go of the fact that he wasn’t going to wear the “perfect” outfit for his dedication! None of us were…

But that’s OK!

The important thing is we all made it to church, on time (for the most part) and we had a wonderful morning dedicating our son to the Lord – that’s all that really matters anyway! It’s just as a mama, we sometimes tend to fixate on the details…

Sure, our clothes weren’t color coordinated and we had a whirlwind of a time getting everyone and everything gathered together to get there…

But that’s OK!

I say this a lot now – “That’s OK!” because it just has to be. Motherhood has many dimensions. It is an honor and blessing to hold the title. It is a joyous experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. But it is also extremely messy and busy and chaotic and rarely goes “as planned”… and that’s OK.

“…People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)


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