Have you seen Moms Night Out? It’s hilarious. I made my husband take me to see it in the theater. He was amazed at how good it was. He prefers action/adventure movies, but I have scored quite a few victories lately with the movies I’ve picked, and he is looking at me with new admiration for my movie-choosing abilities.
But, anyway, back to Moms Night Out…
The story is about a Mommy who is discontent and dissatisfied with her life. She loves her life of being a stay-at-home mom raising her children, but she feels like she is not doing it very well. She feels like something is missing. She is also a Mommy blogger. That doesn’t seem to be going very well, either. She doesn’t have very many followers. She struggles to write a single post.
Her life doesn’t feel very significant. She doesn’t feel like she really has anything to say. Her house is a mess. Her children are running wild, making more messes. She is tired. But she feels like she has no right to be tired, because she isn’t doing enough to keep her house and children tidy, so why is she so tired? It’s all out of control. Her life is out of control and not the way she wants it to be.
She thinks she just needs a break. Her husband thinks she does, too, so he helps her arrange a night out with two friends, who are also moms.
While the moms are away, pandemonium breaks out in their homes. Pandemonium also breaks out in their planned night of fun and relaxation away from kids and the pressures of home.
The whole movie is full of PANDEMONIUM! Which makes it hilarious.
But there is a serious side that I can relate to only too well.
I have felt very ill-equipped for this housewife thing. Early on in my journey as a stay-at-home mom, I realized that I quit teaching and most of my outside activities, like singing in church and teaching Sunday School, which made me feel pretty successful and accomplished, and I felt like I was good at, to become a homemaker/mother/full-time teacher to my own kids, none of which I was very good at.
Especially the homemaker part. I don’t like to clean. I don’t like to cook. I don’t even like to eat that much, so it’s hard for me to think of what to make for dinner. All I really want to do is read and learn and talk about what I’m learning. Or just be by myself and think about what I’m learning.
None of this is conducive to being a good housewife, homemaker, mother, or even a full-time teacher!
So, basically, I quit what I was good at – to do what I’m not good at. And nobody even pays me or grades me or rewards me for all of the time and effort I’m putting in. I don’t even get a pat on the back or a “good job” or “thank you, Mommy” or “thank you, Honey”. Boy, do I feel unappreciated. I feel so insignificant. I feel like I’m not accomplishing anything important. And I feel like I’m doing a terrible job at the only thing I’m supposed to be doing right now.
Sally Clarkson talks about this problem in her book Own Your Life. She felt the same way when she started out as a mother. She had never been around children much and saw herself as a professional woman. She found herself pregnant at 42, raising 3 children already, feeling clueless about motherhood and overwhelmed by the needs of her children and family.
I know God has called me to stay home with my children and raise them. I know He has called me to homeschool them.
So why am I not doing a better job at it? Why is it so hard? Why do I try to find anything else to do besides spend one-on-one time with my children?
I used to earn good grades, and that made studying worth it. Then I made a paycheck, and that made teaching worth it. And I had kids in a structured environment who adored me and obeyed me, and then they went home.
Now I have to cook, clean, organize, schedule, plan, clean, cook, tidy up, organize, try to think up ideas for dinner, go grocery shopping, do things for other people all the time, be interrupted from what I really want to do to do something for somebody else, wash dishes, cook, do laundry, go grocery shopping, clean up other people’s messes – and not get paid for any of it!
Boy, do I feel insignificant, unappreciated, and many times downright invisible.
At the same time, I feel very fulfilled, blessed and full of purpose. I feel like I have learned something, like I am doing something right, and I want to share it with others.
Do I have multiple personalities? Am I schizophrenic?
I don’t think so.
Along the way, I have learned some things. The Lord showed me that He is very pleased by all the little things I do for my children, and that they are very important and significant. Even mundane things like changing diapers, giving baths, dressing them, feeding them, cleaning up their messes – all of the things we have to do as moms.
He spoke this to me personally, so that I would know it in my heart, not just my head.
He also told me that He delights in me. Again, He spoke this to me personally, so that I would know it was for me, not just a general statement for all mankind.
He has never reprimanded me for my messy house. He has never seemed disappointed in me when I finally return to Him in prayer after an absence of days or weeks or months. He has always just been happy to hear from me again, happy to have me back and lets me know that there is no condemnation from Him, just patient waiting for my return.
He doesn’t expect me to do more than I am capable of. He knows that I am just dust. He knows that I am selfish. He knows that I feel like I’m not as good as other moms at just about everything that is expected of moms.
But He doesn’t care about any of that. He delights in me. He spoke that to my heart one night in the year 2003. And since then, He has spoken it to me again many times through other people and in many different ways.
So I am convinced now that if the Creator of the Universe delights in me, I must be okay.
I don’t have to be good at anything. I just have to be his daughter and love Him. That’s all He wants from me. Because He loves me, I want to know Him and love Him. And I trust Him, and I obey Him. It’s that simple. It’s about being, not doing. I’m being His daughter. He made me so He could love me. I find this to be very profound. I don’t have to earn His love – in fact, I can’t. Nobody can. He set it up so that He gives us everything. All He wants from us is our love and faith.
The life that we live each day flows from this. Knowing His love for us and growing in our love and faith in Him.
In the words of the Hokey Pokey, that’s what it’s all about. 🙂
In her book, Own Your Life, Sally Clarkson calls this “owning your life”. Each of us has our own cup. God has given each of us our own life, and we need to accept it as it is and make the best of it. Which means that we really make it the best it can be. We do whatever it takes to live the best life we can and become the best version of “me” that we can be.
Circumstances change. Trials come and go. Things stay messy and chaotic, since circumstances change and trials come and go.
I am still not perfect. But I can see some improvement. I have learned a few things.
The things I have learned have helped me to stop comparing myself to others, to stop expecting too much from myself and others, and to focus on the things that matter most – the eternal things. The things that make life worth living.
Loving my family well.
Fulfilling my calling of motherhood, being a loving wife, and discipling the ones He has given me.
Pouring out my life for them in my imperfect way with my imperfect love that I can’t even feel at times.
This will not make me famous or popular or rich.
But I know a secret.
I’m making my Daddy proud. He dances over me. He sings over me. He delights in me.
And that’s all that matters.