Sunday, November 1, 2015

To the Mom Who Thinks She Does it All Herself

To the Mom who thinks she does it all herself,

The mom who feels like the dishes will only get done if she does them herself,

The mom who knows the bedrooms won't get cleaned unless she hovers and constantly points out one more Barbie shoe, one more lone sock stuffed under the bed, one more pile of dress-ups,

The mom who is certain her children will starve if she doesn't plan the shopping list, plan the menu, cut the coupons, improvise and substitute 1% milk for delicious heavy cream,

The mom who shares a bathroom with 4 little humans who insist on using half a bottle of handsoap for each hand washing, who leave black rings in the bathtub from summer trampoline jumping, who are tall enough to reach the sink to brush their teeth, but not tall enough to spit the toothpaste down the drain, leaving a sticky, minty mess all over an already cramped pedestal sink,

The mom who is sure negotiating with her nap-rejecting two-year-old qualifies her for a degree in international peace relations,

The mom who dreads the next big elementary school project because who has time to research Michael Jackson's Thriller when there is food to plan, bathrooms to clean, and negotiations to handle?

The mom who unloads all the kids to walk the kindergartner 20 feet to the playground because she wants you to watch her go into the school, every morning,

The mom who wonders if the clothes at Walmart really are that much cuter, or if she just hasn't been shopping in a really long time,

The mom who can't seem to get all the clean laundry put away in a timely manner, so clean clothes look wrinkled and less than perfect,

The mom who constantly checks Facebook for no reason, and then has guilt,

The mom who worries about getting the house cleaned up, but then spends the day outside because it would be a tragedy to not get into that sun, and then remembers those chores that still need doing,

The mom who drives everyone to everything and coordinates every activity with military precision,

The mom who seems to always mop the floor right before spaghetti night,

The mom who is sure the projects will never be finished, the boxes unpacked, life back to "normal,"

The mom who feels like everyday she's flying by the seat of her pants and that all this stuff is hers alone to handle,

The mom who says in a moment of fatigue, hunger, or desperation, "I can't do it all!"

You're right.
You can't. You can't do it alone.
All things were never meant for you to do, alone.

But, you're wrong. Here's why:

The Little Red Hen was sure that she planted, pulled the weeds, reaped, threshed, ground, carried, and turned that wheat into bread all by herself. It sure looked like she did in the version of the story we typically hear. Over and over. All by herself. 

But where did she get the seed? Where did the desire to plant and bake come from? How did she continue in a choice which at times may have seemed tedious, confusing, and overwhelming? 

I think there was a Farmer who knew that Hen. He knew her desires. He knew she wanted to make that bread and still do everything else she was required to do. He knew that her barnyard companions were not always the most reliable. So, I think when she wasn't paying attention the Farmer put the tools she would need a little closer at hand, set the hoe and bucket a little nearer the coop. I think He knew all that Hen could learn in the experience- understanding what would come in due time, learning to forgive, learning to forbear, learning to learn, learning to follow through, and in the future, learning gratitude. He knew some quiet day as that Hen sat perched in a quiet moment, she would recognize maybe she hadn't been quite as alone in all those things as she had originally thought. 

Just as that amazing Little Red Hen wasn't entirely alone in baking her bread, we aren't alone in our work because there is divinity in mothering. And where there is divinity, you can find the Divine. There is an ennobling power sustaining our efforts. There comes perfection in the process of realizing we are doing more good than we think we are capable. 

I know not everyone believes in God. But I know mothering uncovers a higher spiritual capacity in us which allows us to feel and do things of which we never fully thought ourselves capable. Whether you believe it comes from yourself, or God, or the universe, this increased capacity is real.

Of course there are moments of guilt, surges of frustration, paths that will remain unexplored, and jobs left undone. That's called making choices; that's called living. But, there are moments of assurance, surges of joy and gratitude, paths well-worn and familiar with memories, and jobs that will be pronounced, "Well done." What a privilege!

True, reading this may not change the fact that dishes, dinner, and nurturing need doing. All things is about right, most days! Mothering takes time, talents, and energy. It demands tasks that need you. But, what a gift it is to be needed! What a blessing it is to be given a task that requires so much!

So really, this rambling is about remembering that there is peace and joy in the assurance that you were never meant to do all things, alone. 

And, you aren't. 

I can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me. -Philippians 4:13

Bake the bread. Share the slices.

1 comment:

  1. You're also not alone because "it takes a village to raise a child."
    And certainly you have family watching your back & ready to help!
    THANKS for being YOU!!!