For those of us who find motherhood less ‘natural’ than we expected, life can feel more like a circus than a life choice. We love being a mom, and cherish our kids, but we’re a bit less Proverbs 31 woman and more Lucille Ball when it comes to the daily tasks of mothering. But rather than feeling defeated or “less than,” when compared to our more organized, ‘together’ kind of friends, God’s showed me how to let go of my need for perfection and appreciate the free-spirited, joy-centered mom I am, despite endlessly burnt dinners and Pinterest fails. Here are ways that you can identify, and celebrate, if you too, are an un-mom:
Child-centered activities send shivers down your spine
All it took was one “mommy & me craft time” at the town library to realize I must be missing a maternal chromosome causing other moms to seemingly feel complete joy while gluing pipe cleaners to rocks and begging their kids to stop eating crayons. I felt similar dismay after loneliness and boredom led me to the unthinkable act of joining a local “mom’s club,” in hopes of scoring some adult company and snacking with both hands if my toddlers detached long enough. But instead of adult conversation about hobbies, current events, or perhaps pre-child stories of days past, there was only chatter about proper breast milk storage and organic baby food recipes. “How ‘bout that Trump?!” Silence. Same goes for activities like volunteering for the church nursery, and basically any other activity related to other people’s kids. Bless each lamb of God, but the last thing we want to do is swaddle someone else’s newborn or ration Cheerios when this is the first time we’ve left the house without yoga pants all week.
Your domestic life isn’t for the faint of heart
We’re not talkin’ a little clutter and dishevelment that a quick run ‘o the Dust Buster can’t remedy. We’re talking the kind of disorder and mess that causes a dead panic when an uninvited visitor arrives, or when a friend texts she’s stopping by in ten. Because for un-moms, “keeping house” brings more than the average amount of difficulty for those of us who’d rather do just about anything other than vacuum or chart the kids’ chores on a white board. It takes focus, self-discipline and constant reminders that if we don’t put the laptop down (okay, yoga mat) and do laundry, our kids will be left wearing their birthday suits, or a Halloween costume to school tomorrow. Dinner looks more like a health risk then a meal time, and I’m fairly certain my only food-related Instagram post was that of a meatball so over-cooked, it permanently melded to the oven tray. Who wants pizza guys?
True un-moms immediately recognize there is no need to expound beyond this heading. Because for us, school-related activities like finishing a science project the night before… “you have to bring in how many pics of tree frogs?!”… searching for ever-elusive school library books, and trying to “help” with eighth grade algebra can be altogether overwhelming. I don’t know when the descent took place, but somewhere between Generation X and millennial movement, school has become so much more involved for parents. We’re talkin’ endless amounts of signatures, checks needed for book fairs, candy-o-gram forms and a hundred different little projects that require our participation. In the course of one month last year I had to construct a “green” boat, decorate a turkey symbolizing our family culture (who makes this stuff up?!), and write handwritten notes as my children’s “pen pal,” thanks to another stellar program initiated by an overmedicated PTO president. I think we celebrate more than the kids on that last day of school, clicking our bare footed heels in the air to embrace a three month break from making mediocre lunches with one eye open at night or tearing apart the house for school store money at 7 a.m.
It’s not that we can’t manage to keep sharp objects out of reach and sanitize plastic all day. We just sometimes question our very existence after getting stuck atop the McDonald’s play scape or massacring another weekly Cub Scouts project. Especially come summer time, we can be tempted to skip our quiet time with the Lord because we’re so busy with the kids, and well, it’s hard to find time. But I’ve learned to somehow get my time in daily, even if it means hiding in my prayer closet, because I’m more patient and energized when gaining strength from him, not just the Death Wish Coffee. We need the Lord, and we need him now. Jesus, take the wheel…
Jessica Kastner is the author of “Hiding from the Kids in My Prayer Closet,” and a contributor for Beliefnet.com, Huffington Post’s Christianity blog, and CBN.com. When she’s not on the trampoline with her three boys in Connecticut, she offers her “fluff free” commentary at www.JessicaKastner.com.