I was so proud of myself today for getting all my kids out the door and off to school on time, all with shoes on and food. Ta Dum! Super Mom!!!!
Yep, I walked into that school proud, wearing a blouse and mascara – SCORE! I even sat through the school assembly, visited each and every class, laughed and cried with parents, all the while pretending that I was very sad that all my children were going back to school. (My love for them is not defined by my tolerance of close proximity living, in large doses of time, for several months on end, with no air conditioning)
Day one, 1st impression of my perfected mothering skills down! No one will ever know that yesterday I was a broken mess.
Mother’s can do many, many things. Mothers can council a teen while driving a kid to soccer – with a trunk full of groceries. Mother’s can help Grandma to the doctor’s office, teach piano, bake the teacher’s cookies and get a costume ready for the school play. Mother’s can somehow magically make dinner, diffuse a tantrum, and get 4 kids out the door in time for the school play. Mother’s are amazing, aren’t they?
But sometimes, more than us perfect mothers will ever admit, more than we would ever let the other moms know of, more than we would care to share on Facebook, or in our tweets and Pinterest pages, more than often, during at least one, or maybe two seasons in a mother’s life, a mom gets broken.
Brokenness as a mother can come in many forms, it’s a deep churning pain or dying in your spirit that just won’t go away. A pain of dissatisfaction, or past hurts, or exhaustion, or burnout. It’s the dying inside of trying too hard for too long, or battling fears, or chronic physical pains, or emotional illnesses, or worry. Maybe it’s depression, or anger, or a hurtful marriage. Maybe it’s the weariness of fighting for your teen, or your adult children, or your handicapped child. Maybe it’s finances, and the gut wrenching decision to walk away from something, or turn away opportunity to do the right thing. Whatever the ache, whatever the severity, a mother cannot maintain the role of perfection for long, because soon her brokenness begins to surface screaming to be heard and dealt with.
I cannot be convinced that becoming a mother – with all our past selfishness, mistakes, misfortunes, bad relationships, abuse, neglect, whatever it may be, automatically gives us a badge of ‘perfection’ and ‘of having it all together’. But society tells you that the minute you become reproductive you must fit the part and take on the role of motherhood, pushing all of you aside. Society says that your goal is to become accepted by other moms, or they will eat you alive with their rejection.
Being a mother for over 14 1/2 years now has taught me some really crappy lessons, along with some amazing ones. One lesson being that – no matter how expensive my jeans are, my nails are, my car, and my matching diaper bag, it does not transform me into a perfected mother. I will gain no perfection from having all of my children in designer clothes, well behaved, and gushing elaborate gifts onto their teachers at school’s end, that does not make me perfect. It only bides me time before I need to face myself.
So that lesson aside, I have come to discover a new phase of motherhood : ‘Post faking perfection’ Phase.
I am learning, in a really tough way, that I am human. I am vincible. I am fallen. Therefore, I am broken. There is no potential for me to ever become perfect in my life time, not as a person, not as a mother.
I am learning, and maturing, and refining, and growing, but it’s not to reach perfectionism – but contentment in whatever season I am in. Life is unpredictable, and people get broken. Even mothering people, and I must learn how to live and mother through my brokenness.
I am not trying to throw on some religious self deprecating “I am only perfect in Christ” deflection.
All I am saying is that if mother’s were truly honest with themselves, their friends, and their world around them, that they are broken, we would be so much more whole for doing so.
How many of you ever feel alone, thinking you are a freak of a mother because you struggle with
or a poor self image
and soooooo much more
Can I tell you that you are not alone? You are never alone. There are so many other women out there who are trying to perfect their brokenness, just like you? They just cannot break the mold to tell you.
I have been battling panic attacks over the past several months. I will tell you that I have never felt so broken. So far from motherhood.
How much I long for another mother to share with me her struggles so I don’t feel like such a freak.
I am so desperate for a mother of 5 or more children to tell me that this amount of stress is normal, or not normal, or that I’ll be okay, or that I am not a failure. I am voicing for other women to begin to live in their brokenness, connecting, mentoring and restoring one another through their journey and through their truths.
I realize that these deep vulnerable moments should be set aside for close friends, or else dinner parties, and barn dances would get very serious and awkward. But why?
Why not approach the angry mom and put your arm around her and tell her you understand, instead of judging her?
Why not tone down the jewelry and home renovation boasting when you visit your single mother friend?
Why not share with the newly frazzled mother that the only reason you didn’t shake your baby to death was because your husband was holding your arms behind your back while you cried?
Why not share with a close friend your resentments, fantasies and ugly truths for accountability?
Why not be real and live, and mother, and befriend, through your brokenness?
If we could just let go a little, we would be so much more whole. Don’t you think?