At times I’d love life to be neat.
Wake up at 6:30. Have breakfast. Clean the kitchen. Read some books. Garden. Lunch at noon, of course. Naptime for the littles and reading time for the rest. Snack. Dinner prep. Devotion. Evening clean-up.Family game. Fold some clothes. Bed.
But, as I age the more I realize that life isn’t always neat. Oh, I’ll have those days where everything lines up, where we follow some semblance of a routine — and then I’ll go to bed feeling like I did it. I’ll have these false ideas of being this super-mom. Then the next day I will be humbled. Nothing will get done, the clean house destroyed, and I’ll go to bed feeling like I failed.
Those labels hold me back.
Life, and being a mother, isn’t about assessing each day at the end of the day and giving it a pass or fail grade. It’s way to easy to fall into this slump, this pattern, of judging one’s day too harshly. There are going to be days that don’t line up neatly — and yet there still can be this joy woven into the messiness.
In getting corn husks scattered on the deck. In laughing little boys as they race to peel their ear first. In being whimsical. In letting go of what happened in the morning and replacing it with what’s happening now.
Motherhood doesn’t need to be graded.
Motherhood needs to be constantly placed at the feet of Jesus. It’s a time of surrender — of realizing that even though I got frustrated at 8:38 a.m. that I can still be joyful at 8:58 a.m. It’s in moving forward, not being weighed down by this and that and what I should be doing or what they’re doing that I think I should be doing or my child’s needs to do this stuff or my home doesn’t look like the Anthropologie catalog or my hair is terrible or my child can’t read level 3 chapter books or my grass looks terrible or I just can’t do this — those thoughts that need to be led to the truth. Truth? Those things, those ideas, those wants — they don’t define success. They don’t determine happiness.
All they do is distort the beauty in what is right in front of us everyday.
Motherhood is a gift.
And each mother, each one is unique. What works for her might not work for me. And that is okay. My grade? Only comes from the Father above.
I can shuck those ears of corn with gratitude. Grateful for an evening to spend laughing with my kids and asking for forgiveness for being too cranky over the line of cars strewn about the living room.
There’s the rest of the evening. And tomorrow. And the next day. And the next minute. And…
Seize the moment. Find the joy. It’s there.