This one’s for the moms out there, particularly the ones with young’ins currently fluttering around their nest. The ones in the trenches. The ones with spit-up in their hair and snot on their shirt. The ones like me.
Nobody understands our job except us. We feel each others pain. We know what it’s like to actually schedule our next hot shower and wonder why we waste our time mopping the floors. (I really think a clean floor actually attracts spills. It’s kinda like washing your car; as soon as you do, it rains or a bird poops on it.) I totally agree with whoever said, “Cleaning your house while your children are young is like shoveling the walk while it’s still snowing.”
Motherhood is by far THE HARDEST JOB I’VE EVER HAD. And I’ve had tough jobs to tackle. I’ve worked long hours. But nothing–I repeat NOTHING–could have prepared me for this. It’s 24-on…24-on. There is no off. Even when you’re sick. No personal days, no vacation time. I’m watching this realization unfold in real-time, through a friend who just had her first baby. She reminds me of me, the first few weeks after having my first baby. I remember crying one day and asking Momma if I’d ever go another day in life without having someone spit-up on me. To be honest, the sheer enormity of caring for a new little human took me by surprise. I think it takes most of us by surprise.
Sometimes, in the most beautiful ways.
Caring for my family is both the hardest and most wonderful thing I’ve ever done. It is a burden and an honor. It is also the most Christ-like thing I will ever do. It requires me to die to myself. To sacrifice. Everything. Time. Sleep. Money. My will and my wants.
It also requires me to bear the fruits of The Spirit. I MUST be Loving. Joyful. Peaceful. Patient. Kind. Good. Faithful. Gentle. Self-controlled (Galatians 5:22-23). Because when I’m not these things, life stinks for everyone.
Case in point. Momma had three bunny figurines on a shelf when I was a kid. One little bunny read, “When baby ain’t happy, nobody sleeps.” The next read, “When Daddy ain’t happy, nobody cares.” And the final bunny read, “When Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Amen sister-bunny! Preach it!
I’m beginning to own the fact that when I’m not happy, ain’t nobody happy.
See, we have different kinds of “pants” in our house. We have Smarty Pants, for when you’re being brilliant and thinking things through. We have Happy Pants, for when you’re super-sweet and–well, happy! Then we have Cranky Pants…you get the picture. If I get up and put my Cranky Pants on, it seems the rest of the fam slips theirs on, too. When I moan and complain about my endless piles of laundry or bottomless sink full of dishes, the stacks don’t get any smaller, I just feel miserable. Then my misery must need company because Daddy and the Little Bunnies usually follow my lead. Before you know it, ain’t nobody happy! Cranky Pants for all!
Philipians 2:14 tells me, “Do everything without murmuring or complaining.” Ouch. That lil’ doozy of a verse smacks me in the face almost every day, probably because I have it hanging over the sink where I can see it…as I wash dishes.
Because I’m on the clock 24-7, I need that reminder–and others–so I literally post The Word in strategic spots around the house. 4×6 index cards are my friend. Momma taught me this trick and it’s stuck with me all these years. I honestly have no idea how anyone does this job without the power of the Holy Spirit. He is my Source of Strength. He is my Joy. He is my Only Hope!
More than anything in all this world, I want my children to love God. Even more than I love Him. I want them to know Him intimately. Even better than I know Him. And I realize if that is to happen, it will be because of my consistent example of His love in their life. Daddy is definitely important too, don’t get me wrong. But God created mothers and fathers differently, to play different roles. Mommas were created to nurture. This is not something society has imposed on us; it is our God-given instinct and function. We’re usually there for everything–therefore, we are the ones modeling God’s consistent, sacrificial love. We are the ones singing fun little songs with them, teaching them Scripture set to music. We are the ones who hold them and kiss them after they’ve fallen. We are the face of A Loving Savior, day in and day out.
Let’s be honest; our Cranky Pants tend to be comfy. And whether we like it or not, we moms set the tone for our entire household. It’s usually up to me to pick out what Pants we’re gonna wear for the day. Yes, each person chooses their own behavior and attitude, but when I choose wrong, it’s catching. When I choose wisely, that’s catching, too.
So let’s choose a different outfit this weekend. If you’ve been in those Cranky Pants for a few days, take ’em off! They probably need a washin’. Put the whole family’s Cranky Pants in a big pile and leave ’em there. Pull out the Happy Pants and do something fun. Enjoy each other. 🙂
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12, 14