Dear Moms: It’s Time to Kiss the Game Goodbye

The mom game was squeezing the life out of me…so I quit.

 

Do I have string in my hair? 

Is that what I think it is?

Get it out! Now!  I can’t breathe!  I think I’m having a panic attack.

Think I got it!

Oh crap! That was a brown one. Don’t need to lose any of those. 

 Got it! Finally. I think my heart’s beating again. Crisis averted. I’m still brunette.

Wait! What’s that?

**************************************************  

All of this on a night I planned to do what (I think) highly effective moms do (I don’t know because I am not one) and go to sleep at a decent time and enjoy more than 5 consecutive hours of sleep. 

According to my husband I haven’t been very “pleasant to deal with lately”. Guess what?! A two-nager is not very pleasant to deal with either but I’m her hostage all day long.

But now I am wide awake and working on my time-blocking for tomorrow.

And

I JUST REALIZED WHY I HAVE GRAY HAIR!

I am time blocking a Saturday. Saturday! You know, the arguable Sabbath, a day to rest and recover. At least a day to spend with family. But nope- here I sit blocking my time into 15 minute increments hoping I will finally get all my little chores finished so I can start next week with a nice checked off list behind me.

It ain’t happenin’.

How do I know this? Since I started my little time-blocking venture I have not managed to check off a whole day yet.

Let’s be honest! I haven’t checked off a half day.

Laundry, dishes, feeding my kids (which fills about 6 hours of my day! Whyyyyy do they need to eat every day? Oh dear Jesus please slow down their metabolism and rain manna from Heaven to fill their tiny, bottomless tummies) cooking, changing diapers, dressing kids, cramming toys back into baskets, and vacuuming up Cheerios take up my entire day before I even get to the “To Do” list.

Can you read that? The super important time block I never made it to today? It says “Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt”. What kind of lunatic scheduled that into my Friday? I mean- that’s ambitious for a Monday! But a FRIDAY??? Oh yeah- the gray haired Mama up at 2 am this morning trying to plan the most simultaneously productive, engaging, and enriching day possible for her kids! Clearly that gray hair was doing witch craftery things to my brain.

That was 3 weeks ago.

And that was the day I quit.

What has happened in today’s mom culture that:

1- my entire day is broken down into 15-20 minute increments.

2- I schedule specific play times with my kids ON PAPER

3- I go to bed at 2 am every morning feeling like I am drowning in failure and neglecting my family.

It should not be like this, Moms! We love our children but does that really require being their personal assistant and  entertainmnt all day every day? Is being a good mom defined by the number of items we are checking off on our “To Do” list? Is our value measured by home-cooked, organic meals and laundry loads? My Pinterest page sure looks that way.

And please, let me go ahead and apologize because I am part of the problem! Every day at 2:30 (p.m. not a.m.) a dear, precious friends calls asking for cooking advice. At least every other day she says,

“You’re like my mommy hero! You know how to do everything!”

Back it up, sister! I am happy to give you cooking advice because at one time in my life I had some free time and loved to do it. But please do not label me as the mommy hero. You know that mom. She’s on social media as a human ruler and leaves every other mom feeling they don’t measure up. There is a reason that is called nonstandard measurement because it is not the most reliable method and it is not exact. (Thank you Sid the Science Kid for the refresher course).

You should know- right now there are raisins smushed into my 3-day old mopped floors, neither of my kids got baths tonight, my baby is asleep in her clothes with food still on her face because she fell asleep eating at 7:45 (and is still asleep so my wake up call will probably be around 4 am), my husband ate a microwave pizza and I had black beans for supper. Today a coach at CrossFit asked whose face I was picturing during very aggressive ball slams and the words, “I guess my kids” flew out of my mouth before I even thought it in my head (no I don’t want to bring physical harm to my kids but— you know).

Most of my Messy Mama Monday activities are thrown together in the minutes before we actually do them because, apparently, I work well under pressure (which makes me the world’s most tardy blogger ever). And the only reason I blogged about them to begin with is because motherhood has sucked my spring of creativity dry and I’m trying to reclaim the old me.

Oh! And I don’t have my child in preschool and I see what all your brilliant kids are doing and immediately panic- “Wait?? Your kid can name every kid in Sunday School? Mine is still having an identity crisis and thinks her name is Abby” (It’s not!). “SHE’S SO FAR BEHIND! I’M RUINING HER LIFE BY KEEPING HER AT HOME!”  

I am endlessly assaulted by my desire to score well on the “Stay-at-Home-Mom” scale, but that has absolutely no effect on my eternal significance. If the epitaph on my grave is supposed to read “Her floors were always shiny and supper was on the table every night” just leave it blank.

So 3 weeks ago I quit. I quit time blocking. I quit measuring myself against other moms. I quit letting my productivity determine my identity. And most of all,

I quit believing the lies of the enemy that whispered to me “your significance depends on you. You didn’t mop your floor? Bad mama! You didn’t cook supper for your hard-working husband? Failure as a wife. You chose folding laundry over playing with your kids? Worthless!

My value is measured in one identity only: I am a child of God.

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 (NIV)

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”Colossians 2:6-7, (NIV)

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”John 8:36, (NIV)

Free. What an amazing concept. Free of my “To Do” list. Free of my fears. Free of my inadequacy. Free of gray hair.

Quitting is not easy. Being free is not easy.

I fight every day to put my phone away and stop promoting blog posts. To leave dirty dishes in the sink because the sun is out and the weather is perfect right this second and I want to experience it with my kids. To pause in the midst of cooking supper to dance in the kitchen with my husband and kids. To close the door to the playroom, shove the baskets of clean, unfolded laundry in a closet, and swing my front door wide open to invite friends inside.

Are you in the trenches with me battling the demons of your “To Do’s”? Band together, Moms! We are greater than the sum of our check marks. We are significant.

Kate Walton
Kate Walton is a chaotic wife to Craig and a messy mama to the Lees. She prays daily to be grace-filled and gentle but has usually blown it by breakfast. Kate is a recovering teacher, DIY-aholic, wager of wars with the laundry pile, and creator of many messes. She is learning to live with the mess and tells you all about at A Kreative Whim.

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