Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Reality check...

I've been reading a wonderful book on motherhood lately but instead of encouraging me, I have to admit that it sometimes makes me feel downright inadequate. I find that I have sort of a love/hate relationship with the author. I know her intent is to inspire, but it seems sort of unrealistic at times. I am not bashing this book or its author. I just wish that in the midst of all the wonderful scenarios she has painted of her idyllic home life, she had thrown in a touch of "reality" (ie something that would make me feel better about my less-than-ideal home). So, here are my true confessions...

  • When my children whine and have bad attitudes, I don't treat them to candlelit teas in my boudoir. I usually say something inspiring like "stop whining, you're going to drive me crazy."  
  • We don't spend Sunday afternoons reading stories and having tea and delectable treats. I don't bake. We take naps, watch a movie and have leftovers of some kind. 
  • My children have never been to an art museum, an opera, performed in a professional acting company or toured the United States (let alone Europe). 
  • When my kids turn 15, they will not be treated to a trip to another country to celebrate. 
  • They most likely will never have a picnic in a secret grotto in Vienna. 
  • Sometimes I have PMS and act like it.

I don't think I'll ever write a book on motherhood because my life will never be perfect. But I'm ok with that. However, I'll bet if I could pick out all the wonderful moments from my mothering journey thus far, I could write a book that would make me look pretty good too.

Reality is messy. Imperfection is a fact of life in the Slattery household. Just this morning I had to deal with both vomit and spiders. Neither are my favorite, and no one writes books about these things. I certainly wouldn't buy it if somebody did. But it's reality.

And, you know what? In the midst of vomit and spiders and whatever else today throws at me, there's still no place I'd rather be than home with my kids. It's my calling and God gives me grace every day to follow His plan for my life.

So maybe I'll never serve high tea on bone china in my dining room, but that isn't who I am. I am glad that there are people out there who have that gift. I've been on the receiving end of beautiful hospitality and it blesses and refreshes.

This morning, I served my sick daughter tea in the Mickey Mouse mug we bought on our honeymoon. My tea was made with no less love. I am making a pot of homemade chicken soup. The flowers on her bedside table were picked (and crushed) by an adoring toddler. My son made her a homemade get well card. She is listening to my ipod and I'm quite certain it's Switchfoot or Superchick that is playing right now, not Mozart or Bach, but her music is no less beautiful.

Right now, she knows that she is loved and cherished and isn't that what really matters?

My kids may not have been to the opera or the Louvre in Paris, but I have an art gallery in my school room of all my kids' best art projects. I think it's the most beautiful room in my home. We may not ever tour the country with a professional acting troupe, but we have performed many impromptu plays and responsive dances right in my family room. Our home is their stage. It is safe and comfortable and fun.

What I'm really trying to say is, the reality of motherhood is not all wine (or tea) and roses, but it IS worth every moment. I have learned and grown from my mistakes. My children have learned that I am not perfect and have extended me much grace and forgiveness. I have rejoiced when things went smoothly and cried when they didn't. To know that I am training up another generation of Godly children is the greatest privilege I have. Spending several hours once a week discussing this book with wonderful, like-minded women has been refreshing and encouraging because they've shared that none of them are perfect either.

Sometimes it's just a paper plate kind of day at my house, but that doesn't mean that my journey of motherhood is any less beautiful or worthy. Neither is yours. I don't need to measure up to anyone's standards. I just need to be fully me, fearfully and wonderfully made by my God.

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