Dazed and Confused Mommies Unite!
There is a television advertisement, which features a well known soap star. She enters the scene perfectly dressed, beautiful, and dancing from room to room of her house. As she flutters here and there, she solves one crisis after the next. She comes home from works and throws plates into the air, providing a delicious and nutritious meal for her kids. They smile at her in admiration. She walks in the next room, where she entertains a large party, providing, drinks, food, and smiles for all. She kisses her husband on the way and checks herself in the mirror. Shocker- she’s still looking good!
The message is clear, ladies we can do it all; have a great job, look amazing, have a fabulous home, be a wonderful mom, a loving wife, an awesome friend and host, and all while dancing!
I think the pressure our culture places on moms is almost inhuman.
I’ve been afraid to blog about it, because most blogs on the subject of motherhood make feel bad. One blogger wrote at length on the evils of processed foods and those little goldfish crackers (I always thought those were pretty good. I mean they say “whole grain”). Another said “crying it out” was unchristian, where another had the exact opposite opinion and the lists of things to and not to do is never-ending. In the pictures everyone looked too put together and why as a culture must we be so obsessed with losing baby weight? Nearly every tabloid I see focuses on how a celebrity mom is now super skinny post pregnancy.
Have you ever wondered how our true lives –not the ones we aspire too, but our actual lives would look posted on one of these blogs? Now that I have a toddler and am pregnant with number two, I can just see myself in sweat pants with food stains from breakfast number two. I would be pictured on the floor with my toddler trying really hard not to pass out from first trimester exhaustion.
Truthfully, motherhood is wonderful, but it is the hardest thing I have ever done and I know I often can’t do it dancing and smiling.
I don’t know how to be a great mom. When I first laid eyes on the miracle of my daughter, my heart swelled with spontaneous love. I wanted so badly to do right by her. I just have never known how exactly to that. Should I let her cry? Should I not? How much television can she watch? When should I start discipline? How to start discipline? When to switch to a toddler bed? Is she learning enough? Are we reading enough? Is she cold?
The past twenty odd months I have spent so much time feeling inadequate, insufficient to the task. While pregnant with her many people told me, “listen to your inner mother voice, it will lead you to all truth.” I kept waiting to hear that voice. To be sure, maternal instincts are real, but that I could know what to do on all things mommy was beyond my grasp.
Here is my one comfort and it took me about eighteen months to grasp it: I have learned that in all facets of life and not just motherhood there is great power in admitting our inadequacies, inefficiencies, and over all, plain neediness. It allows God to enter into our lives in a deeper way.
After realizing this nugget of truth - that I was clueless as a mom and needed him to help me, I was able to gather a few principles on motherhood which help me. That being said, these ARE NOT “how to” guides because I would feel like a fraud dishing those out. If anything, these principles come from a place of not knowing what to do and feeling completely overwhelmed, but I have turned to them things constantly over the last couple months.
That I can pray for my daughter changes everything. When I pray, I no longer feel helpless, I am taking action. Jesus told us that we have been given the keys of the kingdom and whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven… We have amazing powers in our prayers.
There is extraordinary mom in my church. When her son was little he wanted a drum set and music lessons. It was his big dream. His mother was desperate because she couldn’t afford the drum set or the lessons. It tore her up. She prayed one day and heard that still small voice, “Lay hands on your son and pray. I will teach him to play the drums.” That evening, the whole family laid hands on the young man and prayed for him. Two weeks later he was given a drum set from a friend and one of his church band members offered to teach him how to use it. More than this, there have been times, when he was stuck musically. He would reach a wall. They would stop to pray and slowly Jesus showed him they way forward. This story shows that there is power with a mother who prays.
There is the master and the disciple. As a new mom, I am definitely in the disciple category. I found that listening has helped me immensely. Listening to other moms and dads has been incredibly fruitful. It takes a body of people to raise a child and the more I can incorporate collective wisdom into my parenting, the better things are. Developing an inner circle of a few trusted friends or family members to go with your parenting needs helps so much. There are three people I listen to more than any others; Jesus, my husband, and daughter. She lets me know in subtle ways what’s working and what is not. Through all this, we can cultivate a posture of listening; one which allows us to respond to not only the needs of our children, but our own needs as well.
As moms we never have it all together and it is good thing to admit that. It allows us to learn and grow from each other. It gives way to greater authenticity and freedom. Most importantly, it gives God room to come and parent our children. After all, he is best at it.
If this post was not helpful to you as a mom, then by all means completely forget everything you just read!