Lately, a few people have asked why I haven’t written anything in a while. And while I’d like to come up with a really clever reason, the truth is I’ve been busy being a mediocre, grouchy mother. True story. I love my kids more than the moon and stars and life itself…but man, parenting is hard. Toddlers are hard. Not losing your ish in the middle of Costco is hard. And not everyone tells you how difficult it is because if we were all completely honest and unfiltered about motherhood, we would never reproduce and the human race would die. For the sake of humanity, I will continue to do my duty and post cute pictures of my kids doing cute things. And I will not tell you about the time my throat hurt from yelling.
This past week was not my finest as a mother. Maybe past month. #honesty. Sometimes some things are just better worked out with a pair of boxing gloves…kidding. I have three boys. They are the most handsome, dirty little creatures and I am obsessed with them. I feel like I won the lottery in boy mom life, but lately, I feel something in our water has turned our house into Lord of the Flies and I wouldn’t hesitate to hide behind the couch and tranquilize them with a few sedation darts.
Parenting: NAILED IT.
Truth be told, I reached a breaking point this week. I had a cry-it-out moment with myself. Ugly, snot-crying, glory tears. Spiraling thoughts of “I AM DOING EVERYTHING WRONG.” My house is a mess, my children are possessed, I am SO tired. Overwhelmed. I just want to eat all the things. The tantrums. The fighting. The “THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.”
I just have some feelings.
Sometimes my grateful but overwhelmed heart needs a good cry. And some chocolate. And a friend. And Jesus. All good for the soul. And sometimes it’s just nice to hear that you’re not alone on the road that doesn’t always feel so straight and narrow. The road that often seems more bumpy, tiring, and muddy.
Allow me to calmly and cooly gather my thoughts now…
The trench years are hard. Beautiful, messy, and hard. I don’t always have the right response. I’m not always the most patient, or scheduled, consistent, or put together. I don’t always have the best advice or give the greatest encouragement. But I will tell you this—Mom of those wild things, you can do hard things. And there is room in this trench for you. Because we are in this motherhood thing together, you know? And we can sit here all day laughing because the makeup on our face is mud, and that’s okay. We can at least find some rest here.
And while we are in this mess, let me also tell you about this story…
As Jesus went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus…
After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash.” So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
Hello! Pass the Kleenex, please. The whole box. Because I am a goner. Here is Jesus, using the messy, dirty, ridiculous things of the world to bring healing, wholeness, and sight. This man is totally in the dark, and Jesus heals him with spit and mud. What?!
I have spent a good amount of time wandering and thrashing around in the dark, beating myself up over my shortcomings or how I could have handled situations differently.
“I shouldn’t have yelled.”
“I should have been more patient.”
“I shouldn’t have fed you that (insert non-organic, over-processed food that I am feeling super guilty over).”
Comparison starts to rear its ugly head, leaving me insecure and vulnerable to wrong thinking that maybe everyone else does it better. Whatever ‘it’ may be, steals my joy and leaves me often feeling alone and in the dark.
Maybe it’s just me.
Mom of littles, be encouraged. Let your mind and heart be free from the notion that you have to have it all together. Let the messy things serve to bring you a new perspective—maybe it’s not about how hard it is, but how good you have it. Jesus loves you in your muddy trench. In that beautiful mess. You are not alone in there. There is so much love and healing to be found. In the exhaustion, frustration, ugly moments of motherhood, you are still a good mom. And THANK GOD, He not only works in it, but through it.
GRACE. This is my favorite word right now, and since I’ve become a mother it’s taken on a whole new meaning. I think it might be for a few other moms out there, too. My kindred spirits. My trench sisters.
Those adorable little hell-raisers love you to infinity, you know. Even when you are growing horns out of your forehead and act like Madea. I like to think they aren’t surprised by our mess, because they are messy too. We’re all muddy. We all need healing, forgiveness, grace, and love. And we can receive it because beautiful things come from the mud and mire.
Jesus makes it so.
Amy Ganz: Stay at home mom of boys. Surviving motherhood on coffee, Jesus, and comedic chaos. Lover of truth and helping people find joy in the hard places. Makes a mean grilled cheese. Connect with her on Instagram for more of her occasionally inappropriate sense of humor.