It started as any other day. We had decided to go to the local park a few streets over. Riley was SO excited, per usual. Autumn was still tired from waking up, so she was more enthused to suck her thumb and twirl her hair, of course. As soon as we arrived at the park, we noticed a BIG birthday celebration was about to take place. Being the newbies in town, we of course didn’t know the family that was scurrying about to decorate and get the craft supplies together for super hero masks (which my son thought was really awesome, naturally).
Trying to get my son’s attention AWAY from the ‘awesome’ party planning that he was not invited to, we walked over to the open field next to the park and began to play frisbee. After 30 minutes or so, he was done playing and ready to swing. We made our way to the park area, and we realized only two kids were there for the party thus far. I started pushing my son on the swing, which didn’t last long of course because he’s a crazy boy and wanted to do something new and exciting. As he took off toward the jungle gym, I decided to swing with Autumn as I watched him. It wasn’t very long before a young girl grabbed the swing next to me. “Hello” the little girl said enthusiastically. I said hello, asked her name, and also asked who’s birthday it was. She told me that it was her little sister’s birthday, and they were so excited for their friends to arrive. She was so anxious to talk to me, tell me all about her kindergarten teacher, and ask many questions. We made conversation for a little while before she stated confidently, “You sure are a young adult for a mommy! How old ARE you?” I told her I was 29 and thanked her for the compliment. I had seen her mom party planning frantically, so I knew she was somewhere around my age, or so I assumed. “How old is your mommy,” I asked. “Oh, I don’t know. She has never told me,” the little girl said. Jokingly, I said “You mean, you asked ME, a stranger, how old I am but you’ve never asked your mommy?”
She looked down at the dirt and mumbled, “No, I haven’t. My mommy doesn’t talk to me very much. and hates when I ask her questions.”
Oh, how THIS broke my heart. You see, her mom was NOT a bad mom. She was a GREAT mom by all accounts. She was throwing an amazing party for her youngest daughter, and she had thrown a great party for this girl just a few months prior (I know because she told me all about it). The little girl told me all about how her mommy worked long hours at work and was always tired. Being a mom, I know her mom is doing it all to provide for her family and daughters. She’s pushing herself to be the best she can be and loving the best way she knows how. But somewhere in the crazy chaos of life, she is missing talking to her five year old little girl who isn’t going to be little for very long. The reason this breaks my heart is because this problem does not just lie with this mom. It’s not just with working moms. It’s not just with SAHMs. It’s not just with Southern moms. It’s not just Northern moms. And it’s not “those moms”. If we’re honest, this problem resonates with ALL moms in our busy American culture. That’s right.. I said it.
This problem resonates with me. Honestly, I can think of at least two days in the last week when I was SO tired and worn down that I ignored the exciting little story my son was trying to tell me about fighting bad guys or raising the horses. Feeling like a failure, I quit trying that day and labeled it a “bad day” so it was ok. But, it’s NOT ok. Sure, we all have weak moments, but those don’t define who we are as moms nor should they define our entire day!
” And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
Do you see that, dear sister? We can rest in HIS grace. When we are weak, He is strong. We are made to need and rely on our heavenly Father. And I can honestly say, that I am so much stronger, so much more gracious, and so much more delightful to be around when I am relying on His strength and walking with Him daily. My own strength doesn’t get me very far, and that is ok. Lately, when I have been feeling like throwing in the towel, I bring out my Bible and read it out loud with the kids around. It helps refresh and encourage me to press on. God uses this time to give me the strength and JOY I need to persevere whether that means cooking, cleaning, dishes, laundry, or just listening to an exciting story about dinosaurs tackling the bad guys. All are important. Motherhood is not glamorous, but it is rewarding and it is worth it. 🙂
God used that little girl to show me so much that day. I realized just how quickly decisions to not try and not listen to my child can become the norm if I allow it to. My prayer is that God will use me, and you dear sister, as His vessel to love and encourage our children daily. May we rely on His strength alone to fill us and may we long to be Marys more than we fill our days being Marthas.