Tuesday, April 9, 2013

If We All Just Told the Truth

An Open Letter to the Mom Who Acts Like She Has It Altogether,
Not one mom, of course, but a combination of many

Stop it.

Because you're making us look bad. And feel bad. And feeling bad is worse than looking bad. Trust me. If you really, truly had it altogether, I'd have to be jealous of you. In fact, more than once, I've found myself jealous anyway even though I know it's an act.

It's just not possible to work, homeschool, cook entirely organic, exercise two hours a day, do your Bible study, teach your toddler division, work toward a Master's degree and win a Pulitzer prize all at the same time. But that's what we think we need to do now. Or other impossible combinations of feats not necessarily listed in the previous sentence.

Long gone are the days of sipping lemonade on the porch with beehive hair and pearls while the kids play hide and seek with the neighbors. I miss Mayberry. And Mayberry was way before my time. Gone are the days when a husband coming home to a clean house and a pie meant an all around successful day. Although, to be fair, I'd probably fail at baking a mouth watering pie.

I'm tired of feeling bad because I give my kid a hot dog.

I'm tired of feeling bad because I let them watch an hour of TV.

I'm tired of feeling bad because my toddlers didn't know how to read. Or do math. Or locate Latvia on a map. The other day my four-year-old told me that my hair was covering my left eye. I put him to the test asking him to identify his left hand, right foot, left ear, right eye and I was ecstatic when he performed accordingly. It's enough that he knows his right and his left. In fact, it's perfectly enough if he doesn't.

I'm not wonder woman. Actually, I'm pretty close to average. That used to be okay. Life used to be lived smelling roses and discovering worms and learning how to make a good meatloaf. Now we're told that if we're not everything to everyone at all times, we're not good enough.

If our kids aren't valedictorians and star athletes and musical whizzes and prom kings and homecoming queens we've failed them. If our kids aren't as good as their friends or their cousins or their neighbors they aren't enough.

But what I really want to want for my kids is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And really, that's what I want to want for myself. If we never make much money, if we never win an award or write a book or excel at anything beyond mediocrity but we have lived a life demonstrating the fruit of the spirit, that has to be enough.

It is enough.

But if you could just stop pretending that, behind closed doors, you have it altogether all the time, it would really help me out. Because I'm really trying to teach my children what's important and what isn't. And watching you is clouding my judgement.

A Normal Mom of Normal Kids
Representing Normal Moms of Normal Kids Everywhere

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