I had a bizarre dream the other night. My husband was being forced to walk the plank, and I was responsible for his rescue. Me alone. Just me. As in Pirates of the Caribbean style, with me starring as Elizabeth. Everything was ready for the rescue to take place when suddenly my four year old showed up. “Hello, momma!” he chirped cheerfully, just as I was supposed to swing in and save the day. And right before I woke up, I remember thinking, “Great! Now, how am I going to pull this off?” (Think Elizabeth with a four year old on her hip.)
I woke up, and thankfully my husband’s life did not depend upon me. But the reality of the dream made me chuckle. Is this not our life? Here we are in the midst of life’s demands, juggling multiple worthy tasks, maybe even attempting heroic rescues, with our kids riding piggy-back.
It’s the storyline of every day:
- I’m making dinner (or trying to eat dinner) with three kids and a dog all over me.
- I’m trying to give my Oldest instructions while my Littlest is interrupting every 30 seconds to ask me for a piece of paper, his yellow crayon, and am I listening to his art show.
- I’m completing a project for our church while Littlest begs for every snack in the pantry.
- I’m on the phone with my mom making holiday plans and stop in the middle to tell “someone” to please stop playing in the dishwasher soap; no, you can’t squeeze the bottle; please don’t wipe that on your jammies because it has bleach in it—Agh!
I’m confident you get the picture, and could add another 1,000 “you know you’re a mom if” scenarios. And honestly, in the grind of it all, the whole “oh, you’ll miss it one day” comments only go so far. I need perspective. I need hope. I need to know that my husband will not be executed and the world will not fall apart because someone CAN’T FIND THEIR SHOES. (Oh, my poor husband.)
The answer is that we cannot operate as a One Mom Show. We can’t do it all, and we can’t do it alone. There is no guilt in admitting our imperfection. There is no shame in asking for help and calling in reinforcements, even if you think you don’t have any. The truth is that most of us usually do have someone, but we are too busy ruling them out. “Oh, no—I couldn’t ask her; she’d think this about me. And not her, I can’t bear to think of what she’d say about the house if she saw it right now. And So-and-So, do you know what he fed the kids last time? And I can’t ask her; she’s just getting over the sniffles. And I couldn’t possibly ask So-and-So, knowing how busy they’ve been. And she probably wouldn’t be free anyway. I wouldn’t want to impose…” On down the list we go until we’ve convinced ourselves there’s no one left. It’s time to reach out, even if the situation is less than perfect.
Because, my friends, we can survive and even thrive on far less than perfect. Ugly meals still get the kids fed. Dirty socks that have to be re-worn are not the end of the world (there, I said it.) And running a few minutes late all the time to everything says more about my stage in life than it does about my character. Embracing imperfection is about keeping it real.
All that before I’ve even added God to the equation, ‘cause we know He can still make the world go round while we take a 15 second record-breaking potty break. He doesn’t need my perfection, and all He asks for is my willingness (Some days, I don’t have much more than that to offer.)
Bless him, when it comes down to it, my husband is cunning and resourceful enough to save himself or to at least force a delay, until I can extricate myself from my four year old’s peanut-butter hug. Though dear hubby has said that he does appreciate my intent.
Bottom line, our lives will be so much easier when we accept that interruptions will make some things in life impossible, that children do limit us and rearrange our life and that’s not a bad thing, that we will need other adults in our life to do this parenting thing, and that an imperfect solution may be exactly the solution God is offering to us. So let’s be honest about our imperfection and even embrace it, and then let’s shout praise to a God who regularly delivers His perfect amazing grace through imperfect vessels.
Need more Monday morning encouragement? Read about embracing an imperfect home.