I had a long phone conversation with another one of those high-up-on-a-pedestal women. Just the kind of women I adore surrounding myself with. These women seem flawless, they have it all together and they know exactly what to say. During our conversation I confessed to this higher form of womanhood my fears, my doubts. She has 8 children, she is a minister and dearly loves people. I told her that my faith was shoddy, that I often felt guilty for watching tv instead of spending time with God. I neglected to mention that I was still surprised that God gave me a child because I’m such a mess it will be a miracle if he turns out right. As if he were an experimental casserole.
Maybe it seems obvious to everyone else, but I was shocked when she told me something that brought her down to my level. I should really say that her words in fact brought me UP to her level. She told me, “You and I are very similar.”
There was a crack in the universe, and through it I could see a light. Hope. For me!
I didn’t say anything, I just let her continue, and this served to amaze me a little more. She told me that she knew of these higher forms of womanhood herself, older, wiser, had it all figured out. Then she (a pastor’s wife!) humbly asked these ladies, these pillars of faith, whether they sometimes didn’t feel like reading their Bibles. A refreshing and honest answer trickled through the group. “Of course! We’re human, you know.”
She told me about another woman. A mother of 10 kids. TEN! By all accounts I understood her to be relatively satisfied with her life, even joyful. Did I mention the 10 children? People would ask her how she did it. By that I assume they meant to ask her how she didn’t throw herself off a cliff.
Her answer was so simple. The answer to “How to be a joyful mom,” is possibly the best kept secret. But regaining a bit of sanity? It’s actually obvious and logical and makes you want to slap your forehead in wonderment. This wonder woman in question said that she took one whole half hour each evening to take a bubble bath. During said bubble bath, no one could knock, ask a question, bug or otherwise disturb mom. Not even dad.
I am not saying you have to take a bubble bath. For many moms that sounds like an impossible dream. The moral of the story here is to “fill up, so you can dish out.” An empty tank equals a grouchy mom. Guard your you time and plant a mine field around it. Get attack dogs. Then enjoy. Enjoy a nap. A bath. A book. Enjoy yourself. Fill up.
Mom, stop feeling obligated to have your quiet time with God. I can’t wait to have my half hour: candles, music (no bath – drat that Mexico and no tubs!), and if I feel like it, my Bible. Chances are the more I spend time reading during my “me” time, the more reading my Bible will feel like “me” time.
Who knows, you might stumble on a verse that tells you what you should have known all along: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” You are the best mom your children will ever have. Enjoy them, and then take a break. They will be there when you reemerge. They may not know it, but they will be glad you did.