You have seen them. Maybe you are them. The perfect manicures, stylish haircuts, beautiful (new) cars, white capris, expensive shades. The moms that have it all together.
And then, there’s me.
The rumble of barely contained chaos follows me everywhere. There really must be a unit of measurement for the massive potential energy of young children. I could probably light up New York City if we could harness the humming, seething masses in my house. Watch out, world; domination is imminent. As soon as I can find my cup of coffee and convince my army that they need to finish their math so that we can conquer together. Oh wait… FRACTIONS. Never mind. World domination will have to happen tomorrow, we’ll be here a while. Teaching fractions with slices of cheese.
The trenches for a mom of young children are deep and filled with laundry and dishes. Some days you feel like you will never dig your way out. Some days I feel like I am on top of my game, kids have their chores done, school is humming along and I realize… It is 5:00. The day has vanished, and I need to start dinner. Some days the sibling bickering is so intense that if I hear “Moooom…” in that time honored, sing song, tattle tale voice One More Time, I swear- the example of the old lady who lived in the shoe comes to mind. Broth and bread and bed for everybody, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.
And on the days that are the most ridiculously draining…the days when an isolated cabin in Alaska looks like paradise… It is on those days that I am so thankful for my friends who are also in the trenches.
My friends who completely understand when I say “Hey, it is the end of the day, the house is mostly intact, and no one is permanently damaged. It was a good day.” The friends who, far from judging me, offer to show up with cold beer and pizza at the end of those long, long days. The friends who have seen my perfect children misbehaving in a shocking manner and still love us anyway… partly because I have seen their flawless offspring acting like the little sinners that they were born to be as well.
Real, honest friends who don’t feel the need to pretend are oxygen to a drowning man. Where did we get the idea that we needed to act like everything is postcard perfect? I will just say it- Christians are the worst. Somehow the Redeemed got the idea that they weren’t supposed to have bad days. Jesus makes everything rainbows and roses.
And He never promised that it would be. Quite the contrary, actually. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I have felt His hand so often- on the beautiful, blue skies and precious giggles days, as well as on the I Want To Crawl Under A Rock days. And very, very often, His hand is manifest in other people who are familiar with the gritty reality of parenting and just offer encouragement at the right time. Most often, it is my hero and partner- he makes it all ok when he gets home, whether it is fixing the broken chair, replacing the microwave when it goes out, or dealing with teenage attitudes that have me at my wits’ end. He helps me see the ridiculous, laugh at it, and maybe create some more.
But often it is my friends who are there with me, my nonpretending, honest friends with imperfect lives and amazing testimonies of an incredible God. Their input and companionship on this crazy parenting journey is simply…priceless.
So to those friends who are beside me in the trenches- here’s to another day of keeping each other sane. We might not talk every day, but I know you’re good for a rescue mission if necessary, and perspective and a good laugh if it isn’t. You know who you are, and I am profoundly thankful for you.