By guest blogger Gwen Smith
It’ a bird, it’s a plane…it’s Super…..wait, no, it’s just Regular Mom. Heck, she can’t even fly, and her shirt is stained. That’s me – I aspire to be Super, but in the end, I am thankful for ordinary, for attempting to be a faithful servant, unshaved legs and all.
Today was one of those days when I could easily get depressed about not having it all together. My house was a wreck. Laundry was piled high – both Mount Washmore and Mount Clean-but-Wrinkled-in-a-Basket were taunting me. The kitchen looked like an oatmeal-and-cinnamon dish bomb went off (which was essentially true). And the occupational therapist was due at 9:45 for my son’s feeding therapy. So I attempted to clean the breakfast nook, given that’s where the OT and son would work, and ignored the rest of the kitchen, which was decorated in dirty dishes, as well as the family room, where my girls had left remnants of forts made the day before, and where my toddler had done his usual effective job of emptying out the toy bin all over the floor.
During my mad vacuum session of the breakfast nook, the doorbell rang. It was the physical therapist. Not the occupational therapist. Oops. Guess I’d mixed up therapists for the day, and I hadn’t cleaned the family room for her to work with Henry. So we head to our living room, which isn’t childproofed and still has a few random Christmas decorations in it. We begin to work with Henry, who has Down syndrome and is blessed with a great Early Intervention team. Then the doorbell rang again. It was the OT. Yep, I’d double-booked therapists.
I felt ridiculous (and many other unprintable things). Wish the floor (dried banana stains and all) could have swallowed me right then. Thankfully, both ladies are supportive and professional, and we ended up combining a bit of PT and OT in 45 minutes. I learned to write more than “Henry therapy 9:30” in the calendar. Not my finest Supermom moment.
Then it was time to corral the girls, ages 7 and 5, for a few lessons which I should have laid out prior to the therapists’ arrival. We homeschool, and usually I have some simple worksheets and book reading for them to do while Henry gets his therapy. But given my crazy morning, that hadn’t happened (and neither had laying out materials the night before, which only happens in homeschool dreamworld for me). The girls, of course, were happily ensconced in the playroom, and the thought of proper nouns and math did not sit well.
And I could go on. Like about the part where I dozed off giving Bella a spelling test (really!), or Henry decided playing with a holly bush in the mulch would be fun while mama attempted to glance at the newspaper for a moment’s peace.
But I think you get it. Life is messy, busy, crazy, confusing. For those who have said to me before, “I don’t know how you do it.” Well, here it is – I don’t. Yes, I homeschool, but there are days when I threaten the kids with the big yellow bus. Yes, I am raising my kids to love God, but I deal with confusion and frustration and wonder if I’m doing the right thing. Yes, I feel blessed to have a child with special needs, but I will also tell you that my back hurts from lifting him and the constant therapy sessions get overwhelming.
I’m not Supermom. There is no bread rising lovingly in my bread machine. My nails are all different lengths, I have a muffin top, and I rarely make it to church on time (or with hair that is completely dry). I don’t volunteer for eight committees or dress my kids in unwrinkled clothes or faithfully pray at 5:00 a.m. and then run eight miles in the rain while dictating letters to missionaries.
And yet, instead of grousing about what I *think* I should be doing, I need to be humble and thankful for what I have and what I’ve been called to do. Because we’re not called to be Supermom – or SuperDad or SuperWorker or SuperChild. We’re called to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and minds and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Only Jesus is perfect. Who said I have to be?
So today, I ask you to join me in letting go. Let go of the expectation that life needs to be perfect, that messes clean themselves, and that SuperWoman is real. Instead, celebrate the important things. Your kids were bathed – at some point recently, right? You are awake and clothed, right? Food is somewhere in your house, right (or down the street)? Jesus is alive – Yes!!
Then take on Paul’s challenge – run toward the prize that is Jesus. Sure, there are times that doing the dishes does not seem like a prize. Dirty diapers are not in the Bible, are they? But we can do everything without complaining or arguing. We can be joyful in the Lord. We can read of examples of women and men in the Bible who had rude children, frustrated spouses, and horrible challenges much worse than having the Blackberry tossed in the holly bush or figuring out who forgot to flush. Again.
Let the snot stain on your shoulder serve as your Super cape. You are super, just the way you are. Be blessed in the Lord, for He is good, and His love endures forever.
Gwen Smith has been married to Kevin, a software engineer, for nearly 15 years. They have three children ages 7 and under, one by adoption and two by birth. A former high school English teacher, Gwen now homeschools her daughters and teaches a weekly writing class for homeschooled children. She advocates for children with special needs and their families at her blog www.gatherfromnations.blogspot.com.