Just a few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of leading worship for a wonderful group at a ladies’ tea. There I mentioned that I suffer from mom guilt. You know – the guilt for not always having the house clean, the laundry done, for not always getting off work on time, for not always having energy left for my kids and their stories, about how they won a battle on Xbox or Minecraft or to hear about the funny YouTube video they saw.
Growing up, I had my mind set that when I became a wife and mom, I was going to be just like June Cleaver – the house was always clean, she was always attentive to her husband and children, they wanted for nothing because she did everything for them (and they adored her for it) and dinner was on when everyone got home (and it looked amazing – like a professional chef had prepared it)!
Can I just be honest and tell you that I am not built that way. I was a tom boy growing up. When I got married in September of 2000, I was HAPPY to wear the wedding dress with heels and makeup, but I gave my mom these rules when decorating: no frills, no tulle, no poofs (like the sleeves of the 80’s), and not TOO many flowers. I wanted simple elegance: white roses and baby’s breath with ribbon, my bride’s maids carried candles in a glass that had been adorned with a few flowers and ribbon, there were plants and flowers for SOME greenery, and that was just the way I liked it.
Some of my cooking experiments might horrify you, too! At a young age (before marriage) I made cookies and the recipe called for 1 cup of brown sugar – I used a full cup of cinnamon… they were brick cookies! Later on… As a newlywed trying to hurry and do everything quickly (after working a full day), I forgot to put the tuna in the tuna casserole, so it was just noodle casserole 😊. At work, I am detail oriented but at home – not so much. Really, I just never took interest in learning to cook – I just thought it would come naturally when I got married or once the hospital released us to take our newborn home LOL. Thankfully my Father God watches out for me and He blessed me with a husband that can pull anything out of the fridge and pantry and make it taste fantastic!
At this point, you might be saying that I should have just realized and accepted that I was not going to be June Cleaver. But how do you change the perception of what you wanted yourself to become after spending your entire childhood picturing yourself that way? Even in 2018, there is still pressure on women to be SUPER MOM: laundry always kept up, clean house that’s always ready for company, comfortable mini-van so you can be the taxi-mom taking turns in the carpool, showing up to get the kids with a healthy snack for the drive to the next location(s) - taking one child from school to soccer on Monday, Karate on Thursday and the other to piano on Monday, softball on Tuesday so they are well rounded, helping with homework and projects after school and practices, the snack mom for Saturday games because you also never miss one, and all this while still managing to get a healthy well-balanced dinner on the table as soon as you get home each and every day.
Ladies, Married Mom’s, Single Mom’s, Single Dad’s, Married Women who still have this problem even if you never had kids or you are an empty nester trying to adjust: Hear this! You are not superwoman/superman and can not be all things to all people. We have to prioritize or we will burn out. Some days (well, most weekdays in my house) the laundry and the clean house will wait. My kids are learning how to do their own laundry because sometimes mom needs help, and a little bit of responsibility and chores is GOOD for kids. Plus, I want them to know how to do things when they move out. My kitchen floor gets ‘mopped’ by a Clorox wipe underneath my foot as I put dishes away or by Ella ‘ice skating’ around more times than it has seen a ‘traditional’ mop. My kids have had the privilege of eating out more often than I care to admit because Dad is working late or too tired to cook and they can only eat mom’s spaghetti so often lol. Are kids happy because they have a clean house with mopped floors or are they happy because we take the time to sit with them at the table and ask about their day, their grades, their latest favorite subject, what vacation they want to take next, etc.?
May I challenge each of us to look at our day, our week, our month and ask ourselves, ‘What is the most important thing that we need to do’? What do we need to drop to make sure the most important things are getting done?
May I challenge us to remember that our kids and spouse will be happier knowing we are available to them vs cramming our day so full that we only have nuggets of minutes between events for them.
May I challenge us to find balance in our life because a burned-out mom/dad/wife/husband is 1) not the example of how we want our kids to live their life when they have kids and we have to lead by example and 2) not able to be present for the people who need us most. I once heard it said that today is your PRESENT from God. If we look at each day with those glasses on, that today is your gift from God, what would we do different to make sure that you do not just zoom through it but that you appreciate/value the gift from God?
May we go forward being present in each day, prioritizing, and becoming an even better version of ourselves by being less stressed.