My mom raised four kids with very little help. I've known this for a while, but only recently has it seemed like the miracle it is.
She rarely had date nights. She took all four young children to every single doctor appointment they (or she) ever had. When she was throwing up sick, she made dinner anyway. No one stopped to pick up groceries. And on and on.
I was chatting with her recently...something to the effect of, "Wow. HOW did you do it?"
"You know, honey," she responded, "I feel badly for you girls today. Back then, there wasn't this pressure to do it all, to be it all. Everybody expects so much of you today. I was a mom, and yes, it was hard, but that's all I did."
My mom is right. And you know how I know? Currently, my hands are very full with motherhood. I have a five-year-old, a three-year-old, and a four-month-old baby. I have three small, demanding children to care for, and I work very hard to be their mom.
Yet, here are all of the things I feel guilty or bothered about right now, at 8:55 pm on Saturday night.
- what a horrible blogger I've become since having a newborn
- what a mess my closet is
- that my hair looks so unstylish
- that my Christmas cards aren't sent
- all the people I should be writing letters to
- the baby shower I forgot
- the Christmas party I am missing
- that I haven't brought my sister a meal yet since she's had a baby
- that we forgot to read our Advent Christmas book today
- that I haven't started my devotional
- just what a mess, mess, mess the house is
And you get the drift, don't you? I'm a failure, basically.
There's nothing wrong with having interests, and being busy. The problem for me, though, is that my real duties get confused with my pretend ones.
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
Do you take a deep, easy breath after reading that verse, like I do? His burden really is easy and His yoke is light. Yet it's hard to know sometimes what His burden is, isn't it?
Today, for instance, I made many choices. I choose to read a story, when I was hungry for lunch. I chose to play a board game, instead of herding them all upstairs for naps. But also - I write it with a sigh - I spent three hours pseudo-parenting, distracted, while I tried to make our Christmas card on my iPhone.
(Because everyone has a cute Christmas card, you know?)
God, grant us the wisdom to throw off the world's ridiculous expectations of what motherhood should be. Grant us vision for what is important. Grant us the freedom to do what you want us to do - and no more. Grant us peace when our nails are chipped, our furniture dusty, our abs flabby, and our clothes outdated...because we know we've been busy doing what matters.
“Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one..."