I think we should create some universal mommy-solidarity hand signal. Like something we can flash when we walk past that mom dragging her screaming child out of the zoo parking lot because he decided to have an F5 melt-down before even reaching the gate. You know she’s thinking, “I packed all this crap, made peanut butter, and managed to get dressed enough to go in public…WE ARE GOING TO HAVE FUN D*** IT!” All while wishing she could be anywhere else as long as it involves a locked door and a glass of wine. She gives you that miserable forced smile of a mother trying not to end up and the news…if only there were a way to let her know she’s in good company. A simple fist raise would suffice, but probably not as mommy-life appropriate as a finger up the nose, or a quick smell of the pits. Regardless, we need a signal.
Today, as I walked my own two children out of the pre-school parking lot, I heard a tiny voice whine…”But I want youuuuuuuu to carry me!” I look back to see a frazzled Sherpa of a mama carrying bags, nap mats, and an infant car seat (which if you haven’t carried one, suddenly turns your tiny, sweet babe into the dead weight of a grown man). As she begins to climb the staircase she turns to look at me (as I am franticly trying to determine which hand signal would be most encouraging) and says, “I should be a super model by now.” And I new exactly what she meant… you would think being a human pack mule for tiny children and their unbelievable amount of baggage would be the ultimate workout routine. But alas, the majority of us are still sporting our mom bods around in our Lulu Lemons. [Just an aside: you know we wear those because we feel the amount of lifting, squatting, and awkward bending we do counts as our daily workout]. But here’s the real reason we aren’t super models: because food and feelings are besties.
Come on, you know you’ve done it. In the middle of a tantrum, what place is better than the pantry to hide from a screaming toddler? And what better to keep you from voicing all of your thoughts—which are obviously laced with patience and Godly wisdom— than shoveling Oreos into your face while crying? I swear, my daughter, who can’t hear me tell her 10 times to find her shoes, can hear a candy wrapper through several closed doors. The girl literally smells my breath to see what I’ve eaten! So yes, I eat my feelings in private. Sometimes just grasping at a moment of sanity so I too, do not end up on the news.
Talking to moms I feel I can safely say we all have our “super model” areas. Especially, I think, in our time spent with Jesus. I have heard nearly every woman I know say that she longs to spend more time reading her Bible, praying, and just spending time with God. We say it with shame, with longing, and with all of our failings (that we feel would be fixed if we could be self-motivated enough to get up earlier or spend naptimes being more spiritually productive). I find myself grasping for every small glimpse of His presence throughout my day. Any moment I can gobble up that keeps me moving forward through the muck of chores, diapers, and occasional loneliness.
A wise, experienced mother once gave me such grace in this area. She reminded me that rejoicing over my children, watching them grow in Jesus and teaching and studying with them is an acceptable way to be obedient to that need. And to be ok with stealing those small moments in lieu of the long drink I am longing for. She reminded me that one day I will have plenty of time for that list of books and studies I want to read, plenty of time to lead classes and speak. My Jesus time for this season is spent in the Storybook Bible and sweet gasps as Goliath steps on the scene. It is in the wide eyes of a child learning the bigness of God as they watch a sunset, and the clasps of little hands and voices saying, “Jesus keep the monsters away.” My whispered prayers over tiny feverish heads and scraped knees are still sweet in my Savior’s ears. The small moments I steal with my Father now will build on each other and pave the way to usher my children into his presence. I am a Sherpa mom in both backpacks and spiritual adventure- and so are you. And Jesus has I heart for us:
“He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.” Isaiah 40:11
So here is my un-manicured raised fist of solidarity. You’ve got this mama! And when you don’t He is gentle and full of grace- leading you and carrying your babies!