Last week I found myself feeling sad. It was a combination of things. The death of a boy in a nearby county due to a school shooting, Hurricane Matthew on a war path heading toward our state, our current political quagmire, an article in the news about a special needs boy that broke my heart….I started thinking about all the terrible things I was seeing in the news and it made me sad for my kids. The more I thought about my kids the more emotional I felt. You know what I mean?
While I was pondering all this and thinking about my kids I started looking around at all the things at home that needed to be done, but weren’t actually getting done. The giant pile of laundry that I hadn’t folded. A stack of mail that needed to be answered and paperwork that needed to be filled out. Dishes that were about to overflow the sink and a garage that was screaming to be cleaned.
The to-do list went on and on and it was interesting what happened as I looked around and began to feel overwhelmed. Because I was already feeling emotional, Satan pounced on me and I heard him whisper in my ear…”You are failing at this. Good Moms do better than this.” So I listened to him and believed him for a minute…until I recognized that he had somehow taken my feelings about the hard things happening in the world and had turned them inward towards me. And then I said out loud, “No I’m not!”
Mommas, why do we measure our success as moms based on whether or not our house is clean or all our ducks are in a row? I don’t even know where my ducks have gone and the row is covered with toys and laundry. Seriously, can someone please tell me why this is our standard of being a good Mom? Who made that rule? Yes, clean clothes, floors and dishes are important, but there are worse things than having to wash a cereal bowl in the sink before you can eat, moving a pile of towels off the couch so you can sit down or throwing a pair of already-worn jeans into the dryer to freshen them up.So you have a pile of laundry on your couch, or dining room table or your bedroom floor. So what?
I reminded myself (and Satan) that my kids are glad to see me when I pick them up from school. I am covered in hugs and kisses and “I love yous” every day. My kids eat when they are hungry and they feel safe when they are with me. When I give them something or do something for them, they say thank you. They don’t wonder if their Dad and I are going to leave each other or if we’re come home. My kids may not have the most expensive clothes or toys but they have all they need. They are getting a good education and have friends. They love God and are learning to pray and hear His voice. Mommas, that’s not failing. I bet if you took a good inventory of what you’ve really given your kids in terms of time, comfort, safety and affection, you would find that you’re not even close to failing. Even if a spotless house isn’t on the list.
The school shooting, Hurricane Matthew and all the other awful things happening in the world should teach us a valuable lesson about what’s important. Time spent with our family and building into our kids lives are some of the most important things. The laundry and dishes will always be here. Our loved ones will not.
Last night I went outside and sat on the swing with my youngest, snuggled up in a blanket in the cool air. She laid her head in my lap and said, “I’m glad to be with you, just us.” Later, my next youngest came out and snuggled up on the other side of me. She said, “I’m glad you’re not one of those busy moms who never have time for us. You’re the best.” Meanwhile, my house is still a disaster, and I haven’t found any of the ducks or uncovered the row they should be sitting in, but they my kids didn’t seem to notice. They just wanted to be with me. They wanted their Momma…And that my fellow Mommas is not failing. That is winning really, really, big. I know you are a winner too. Put down the laundry basket and take a victory lap with your kiddos.
Photo credit: Alan Cleaver via Visual Hunt / CC BY