I am not a queen.
I haven't peed alone in approximately a decade. I'm not even surprised anymore when a little person opens the bathroom door to ask for a snack (seriously, could that not have waited 15 more seconds?!). The amount of days I can go without washing my hair is astonishing, and I know, because I regularly try to one up myself. I go to bed almost every night with dishes in my sink and makeup on my face. Now don't get me wrong, I also go to bed with a full, grateful heart. I would never for one second wish any of this away, and I can't even believe I get to be the mama to my two little guys. But y'all. Being a mama is hard. Exhausting, and hard and somedays I feel like a total failure. And as if parenting isn’t hard enough, there are all the other people who know everything. People saying what you should do, shouldn't do, people making you question every single thing you are doing. We live in a society where we are judged by our peers for everything. Publicly. No wonder we all feel like we're constantly under scrutiny and never doing enough. I scroll and all I think is, “wow, look at all I’m not.” Why does this society fuel that? I’m supposed to be a rockstar mom, make time to nurture my faith, build an empire as a boss babe, be an exceptional friend, wife extraordinaire, fitness guru, wellness addict, host lovely events, and dress like a fashion model…simultaneously.
News flash: Little squares lie. No one is really doing all that, and doing it well. We don’t have to be all the things. Just mothering our babies…that’s enough, and can feel like more than I can handle some days.
Apparently there's this spider called the black velvet spider. The mama feeds her young by regurgitating liquid food for them. After a few weeks of that, though, those little offspring revolt. The young reward their mama spider's selfless efforts by completely consuming her, leaving an empty exoskeleton. This process–known as matriphagy–is suicidal maternal care, because the mother makes no attempt to escape her fate.
I'm not going to sugarcoat this: some days I feel like my children are eating me alive, and simultaneously like I'm not enough for them. Couple the actual rigorous tasks of parenting with social media and social standards, and you have yourself a recipe for suicidal maternal care. As mamas, we spend so much time questioning and comparing and questioning some more. We underestimate that we were made to be the mama of the the children in our homes, and instead we just question everything. Am I doing enough? Are my children playing outside enough? Too much screen time? Too few vegetables? Is every detail of their life Pinterest-worthy? Do I yell too much? I totally yell too much. Am I reading with them enough? Do they get enough of my undivided attention? How much therapy are they going to need? Do we do enough playdates? ENOUGH already, y'all.
I have spent so many days of my life trying to live up to everyone else's standards of what my motherhood and wifeliness (is that even a word?) should look like. But everyone else doesn't live my life. Everyone else doesn't have the stewardship of my children, my home, my family. I do. And God, in His abundant love chose these people to be my people. He placed me here knowing that we all needed each other, and He gave me every single thing I need to do that well.
This world and these children will eat you alive…if you let them. You know what your children want? What they need? You. Joyful, loving, you. They want to know that you love them, and delight in them. To listen when they talk and just be there with them. They also want boundaries and for you to tell them no sometimes. No, you may not play Agario for one extra minute. Nope, not another episode of Clone Wars. No, you may not have more junk food. No, I will not take you on a playdate because you are bored. Child, go be bored. And you know what? The world will not collapse on its' axis. Lest I sound preachy, please know that I'm telling myself this on repeat.
I am so over comparing myself to all the other mamas. As a family, we've experienced a lot of change over the last couple of years. Our family dynamic is unlike most people we know, and in fact, most people think we are off our rockers. If I constantly compare myself to these other women, it's doing a disservice to myself and to my family. What is good and normal for us is bizarre and totally wrong for some. In this season, I am confident that what God is trying to teach me is to be me. To be exactly who He created me to be, and to step into those roles with confidence and also covered in His grace. Comparison is the thief of all joy, and for far too long I've allowed it to steal mine. I've been trying to be queen bee and comparing myself to all the other queens and boss babes (who I so admire!), trying to live up to their standards, when what God really had for me was the beautiful life of a mermaid or a dolphin (or you know, something free. I’m not great at metaphors). No matter how much I try, I’ll never settle in to a groove pursuing the life of a badass-boss-babe-queen-whatever, because I’m meant to be something totally otherwise (though I do fully appreciate being treated like royalty). I’ve felt lost and like I don’t fit in for far too long, mostly because I was trying to please, impress, and blend into a facade that wasn’t intended for me.
I was made to mother these little people, to be a wife to my husband, and to decipher what God created me to do with my strengths and weaknesses and passions.
In her book Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis says, “The God who made the moon and the stars and the mountains and the oceans, the Creator who did all of those things, believed that you and your baby were meant to be a pair. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be a perfect fit. That doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes. It does mean that you need not fear failure because you can’t fail a job you were created to do.”
You cannot fail a job you were created to do, mama. CAN. NOT. How freeing is that? As a mother, as a wife, as a woman…you cannot fail because God himself, the maker and creator of all things, created you for this. The only standard I will strive to attain is His.
Now, if you’ll excuse me…I’m going to go lock the door and take a shower uninterrupted and not even feel guilty.