A dear friend of mine, who I admire greatly in her abilities as a mom, a wife, a homemaker, and a gifted artist, recently sent me an email that left me scratching my head. “I have to tell you,” she wrote, “I really admire you… you’re my one friend who’s advice I’d take above all else on the subject of being a mom. Not only do you ‘do it all’ it seems, but it appears you do it all so well!”
Goodness, me! Had she sent it to the wrong inbox? As much as I would love to gobble up that amazing compliment and pat myself on the back for being Super Mom of the Year, it just isn’t so! I do not “do it all” or even, “all so well”! I am a terrible housekeeper; dinner doesn’t make it to the table on time 5 out of 7 days of the week; I ignore my kids more than I should; I let my husband “fend for himself” more often than not; I spend too much time on Facebook and other online message boards; I can’t use a sewing machine to save my life; I don’t clip coupons like I should; and forget about stocking my house with all-organic food. I am flawed in nearly every aspect of homemaking!
I see other moms who have time to quilt, or make homemade bread, or make breakfast from scratch more than just on Saturdays, (and have MORE KIDS than I do!), and I think, “Ugh! I’m a lazy, lousy, good-for-nothin’ housewife!” Right now, for instance, I chose to put my kids to bed without their bath, because I selfishly felt like writing this column instead. Sure, their teeth are brushed, they got tucked in and read a book, given kisses and such… but they are covered in marker doodles, play-doh, and specks of spaghetti sauce from the Stouffer’s Easy Express Cheese Manicotti that I “micro-baked” in 16 minutes along with some steam-fresh microwave broccoli when I looked up at the clock at quarter to 5 and realized my husband would be pulling in the driveway any second—tired and hungry—and dinner hadn’t even crossed my mind.
In spite of all these flaws (and more!) we’ve decided we are going to homeschool the kids. (Yep, as if I’m not crazy enough to think I can handle this wacky road of parenthood, I’ve decided to add “teacher” to my stay-at-home mom resume and tackle their education along with the heaping piles of laundry! Better open Belleview back up!) Even though my kids are still 3 and 1, I’ve been busier than ever trying to research, plan and prepare for the journey ahead. If that wasn’t enough, I’m also now an assistant organizer for a local homeschool support group which is just getting off the ground and running (and growing faster than we can keep up with) so I’ve got my brain full of things like co-op classes, field trips, clubs and newsletters. God didn’t waste a second putting me to work in the world of homeschooling the very moment we decided to take the leap.
So, when I have a friend tell me I appear able to “do it all,” I must smile, say thank you, while simultaneously shouting out, “IT’S NOT TRUE!” If it appears I do it all, then that is an illusion. I don’t! No one can! We all have flaws, we all have areas we take pride in above others. We all have strengths and weaknesses. We all do the best we can, even when we feel like we’re at our worst. Why? Because we all love our kids. That’s one thing moms have in common whether they sew or not, whether they cook or not, whether their house is a showcase or a clutter nest, whether they make their own laundry soap or just buy what’s on sale, whether they are crafty or couldn’t make a homemade card stand up straight, and whether they take their kids on weekly outings to the museum and theatre or just to the nearest park. We all must feel at times like other moms are doing it better than us, but that can’t be true, because God didn’t give our kids to those other moms, He gave them to us, and He never gives us more than we can handle.
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13.