Super Mom (or maybe not)
I often get asked how I do everything that I do. How do I manage all the ministries, take care of my children, take care of my home, work as a substitute teacher, and still find time to write? I must be some kind of super mom to juggle it all and keep the balance.
Or maybe – just maybe – things aren’t always as perfect as they appear.
I’ll tell you right now that my house is never tidy unless I’m expecting company. If you come over unexpected, you’ll probably see my eyes dart with embarrassment over the mess that is surely all over the house. Toys covering the living room floor, folded laundry on the back of the couch, papers and empty soda cans on the coffee table, dishes in the sink, piles everywhere, stuff everywhere, junk EVERYWHERE. Do I like to live this way? No. I hate it. I hate that I can never seem to catch up. I hate that I don’t make it a priority, but I also know that I can’t do it all. So there are a few things that are done regularly. The trash and recycling are taken out whenever needed. Dishes are done often enough that we always have clean dishes to eat off of. Clothes are washed once a week (although they may not get folded and put away all the time). Bathrooms are also cleaned weekly. Everything else – well, it can wait.
I probably take on too many ministries in all honesty. I grew up in a small church where my grandpa was the pastor. As part of the pastor’s family, if no one else would do a certain task it fell to us. Old habits die hard, and I still find it hard to say ‘no’. Often when I think about my ministries I don’t have a sense of pride in how long the list is or how much I do. Instead I feel almost embarrassed. I wonder if I’m taking what ought to be someone else’s ministry because I haven’t learned to say ‘no’. I wonder if I’m taking part of myself away from my family because I can’t say ‘no’. There are some ministries that I know God wanted me to do, but there are a few that I wonder if God maybe had someone else in mind.
As far as my children go, even with everything else, they tend to be my primary focus. They’re still young enough that they need their mom to guide and direct – and yes, even discipline at times – but they’re now getting old enough that they get a certain amount of freedom, too. My schedule, my plans, all revolve around my kids. When is baseball, ballet, gymnastics, volleyball, drama, choir, etc? Everything else gets scheduled around that. The most important thing for me with my children though isn’t how smart they are, how talented, how athletic, if they make a lot of money when they grow up or if they reach heights of fame. The most important thing is that they grow up loving God and longing to serve Him. That is what I most want for them, and what I pray for daily. And my hope is that in all the chaos they see God in everything we do.
And writing? Well, it gets squeezed in. If I’m home while my kids are at school, I write. At baseball and gymnastic practices, I write. While the kids do homework, I write (hopefully). I love my writing, and I feel like God has called me to do it, but not at the expense of my ministry or my family. So far, He’s allowed my ‘squeezing in’ philosophy to work. I can get about two books out a year even though I’m just writing whenever I have a few moments to spare, and that’s by God’s grace.
Yes, I have a busy life. Yes, I do a lot of things (and I’d like to think that many of them I do well), but life is messy and imperfect. I fail so many times, and I’ll never be the mom or woman that I want to be. But God is gracious and merciful. He keeps me going even when life’s a mess.
In our world today it’s so easy to look at social media and think that someone else has it all together. It’s easy to see a person at church and envy them for seeming to have everything. But the truth is that none of us are super mom no matter how hard we try. All of us fall, all of us struggle, all of us have strengths and weaknesses. Don’t get discouraged if you think that you’re not ‘keeping up’ with the other moms around you. Focus on your own family and what God has you to do. It’s going to look different from everyone else, because no one else has your children, no one else has your skills, no one else has your calling – and that’s a beautiful thing. When we allow God to work through us, we might just find that maybe there’s a little bit of super mom in us after all.