For the Weary

tired housewife sweeping floor vintageDear Mommies,

Please be nicer to yourselves.

Dear Homeschooling Mommies.

Please be nicer to yourselves.  We all need to have a goal, and I feel like since I’m gonna fail anyway, I might as well try to aim high if only in my head.  The thing to remember is – it’s a goal,  not an hourly pass/fail test. It’s something far off in the distance which we cheerfully (I hope) aim toward, and we’re hiking there over a very loooooong period of time. Sometimes we take side trails, sometimes we we sit on a rock and rest a long time, and sometimes we slip down a nasty little rock slide and fall a long way back and lay at the bottom of the rock pile and cry- but still, we have a goal for our homes and homeschools in mind.   But’s just a goal- not a Savior, not a summation of the meaning of life, not the definition of who we are and what merit we do or do not have as human beings. Just a goal.

I do not look like anybody’s picture of a perfect CM lady, and quite often as not any more I don’t even look like somebody’s version of an average mom two steps better than  homeless shelter. I’m frumpy, dumpy, and lumpy. I yell. I cry.  I bite my nails. I have never managed a daily shower, I have more often been in my pjs at noon than not, and my house is pretty much never what I consider truly clean.

There are have been many, many times when yesterday’s dishes were still in my sink, and they were not there drippin’ dry from being washed and rinsed, do you hear me?

Let me tell you something really hilarious.  I once was assigned to speak  on scheduling and organization at a small conference.  Yeah.  Everybody who knows me knows how funny that is.  But this is even funnier and oh, so very typical.  I accepted, and I planned my talk and I got up to give and I was merrily rolling along (I think, I was mainly present in mouth and body, not mind- and I realized when I turned over the first page of my notes that I had not numbered my pages, and that somehow, sometime, I had shuffled my notes in my nervousness that day, and that the second page in my hand which I had already gone over…. that was actually my conclusion. There is a whole metaphor there about that.    I couldn’t figure out how to sort them and organize them back in the right order properly quickly enough- so I just had to wing it.  Laugh with me about it, and _relax._

We may all be homeschooling, but we also are all different people doing different tasks. One of us has company every week trooping through her house, one of us is working outside the home part-time, one of us has a husband deployed overseas and is essentially a single parent, one of us IS a single parent, one of us has to do laundry at a laundromat, one of us has a maid (who requires a whole different set of attention and focus), one of us has to cook for ten, one of us has to cook meals for two aging parents, one of us has perfect health and a need for only four hours of sleep a night, another has a need for nine- I could go on a thousand different ways, and I wouldn’t cover all the lives and all the really important live details of people who might read this.

The thing is, with all these variables going on in our lives, we simply _cannot_ compare ourselves to one another and despair. The woman who has to do her laundry in a stream with a rock should not feel like she doesn’t measure up because she doesn’t get everything done just the same way as the woman who drops all her laundry off at the local dry-cleaner’s does. The woman who has to cook everything from scratch should not be impatient with herself because she doesn’t spend as much time sewing as the woman who buys frozen convenience foods. The woman just treading water in every area who is probably fighting thyroid problems or some other chronic illness should not feel like a brilliantly written blog post  from a champion swimmer and total stranger is somehow an indictment and a statement upon _her_ life. Only God knows the details of our lives and circumstances- nobody else. I don’t know them (I don’t even know all about _my_ life).

 

I do know this, however, every single one of us is a failure in some area of our lives, possible more.   I know this because none of us are perfect. None of us.  But we do this thing to ourselves where we constantly compare our worst to other people’s best.  You don’t know other people’s worst, because they don’t share it.  Neither do I.  You only know your worst, and because you know that in such deep, dark, burdensome detail, you assume your worst is the worst of anybody in your circle barring the criminal element.  But thank God, it is not a contest.  It’s just life, and we are all in it doing the best we can.  One person’s best means she gets out of bed more than once or twice a day.  Her neighbor’s best may be a marathon in between baking chocolate chip cookies and teaching calculus to five year olds, but actually, the woman struggling to get out of bed may be the one who is putting everything she has into it, and the marathon running, cookie baking, calculus teaching Mom has reserves for more.  It doesn’t matter.

Let’s rejoice with those who rejoice when we have good days and successful ideas, and weep with those who weep when we have bad days and we fail in some area. Let us not, as Paul said, grow weary in doing good- but let us not sink in the slough of despair, either, mistakenly thinking that everybody else here is doing better than we are. Probably, they are- in some area. And probably in some area we can’t even imagine, they wish they did something like we do- even if it is only being honest about feeling like we don’t measure up.

O Heart Bowed Down

by F. E. Belden

O heart bowed down with sorrow!
O eyes that long for sight!
There’s gladness in believing
In Jesus there is light

Divinest consolation
Doth Christ the Healer give
Art thou in condemnation?
Believe, repent and live

His peace is like a river
His love is like a song
His yoke’s a burden never
‘Tis easy all day long

“Come unto me, all ye that labor
And are heavy laden, and I will give you rest
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me
For I am meek and lowly in heart
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

More versions to play here.

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