Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things.
Jon was with a bunch of people we don't see often last night, and one of the men mentioned that his wife was discouraged by all these homeschooling mother-of-many type blogs where everyone has all their lives together and nothing goes wrong. So I thought I'd post how my life is not perfect, though it is very blessed. I am not a perfect mother, but I'm the best one for my children. I am not a perfect teacher, but I am the best one for my children. I am not a perfect homemaker, but I'm the best one for my home. I'm not a perfect wife, but I'm the best one for my husband. I hope this post is encouraging to other not-perfect moms.
Yesterday, I was having a "date" with Jonathan in the Blue Room (our guest/piano room) and Jon was still in bed. Noah dropped his juice glass on the kitchen floor as he was clearing up his breakfast. The stem and bottom amazingly kept together in one piece, but the cup part shattered into an amazing number of pieces. (When I looked in the trash later, I did not see any bigger than a marble.)
Noah cleaned it up as best he could. He really did a very good job for a four year old. If the spill had been cereal, we might not have noticed it had happened. But glass requires special cleanup tricks that he has not learned yet...
My first knowledge of this was when Jonathan and I came out from our date. There were still some pieces around the kitchen counter and floor, and some juice also on the floor. I explained to Noah that a paper towel was needed first before vacuuming. He said, "We picked up all the pieces we could see." I cleaned up the juice and several fragments with paper towels and then the floor was dry enough for vacuuming. Then I noticed shards in the whisk broom, so I vacuumed that too. Then I noticed shards in the sponge and cleaned it out (I think there aren't any more pieces in there.) Ah...that's good. All cleaned up. Right?
Some time later, I was taking a messy diaper down to the basement. I had it in one hand and Joy in the other. As I step to go down, I feel crunchy stuff under my foot. I go to rub it off with the other foot and it turns painful as I squish the glass deeper into my foot. I stand there helpless, asking for Jon to come take something, and he picked the best one - taking the piece out of my foot. "Ooh, that's a good one" he says. Then I step on the floor and get blood on it. Then I put down the diaper and the baby and wash my hands and take care of my bleeding foot. Only then can I continue with what I was doing.
Throughout the rest of the day, I find more little pieces all over the house, though not any more that drew blood. At some point I realized that what had happened was that Noah had cleaned up the kitchen with his socks on and then tracked small bits that he couldn't feel through his socks. So then I asked him to put them in the hamper.
Last night, as I was going to bed, I found a piece of glass in between the sheets...
Ok, that was a long story. Here are some other shorter ones from recently.
Jon expanded our garden early this spring. There is still nothing in it except weeds. Part of me would like to blame the extra rainy season but I know that can't be all of it because I didn't even start any seedlings indoors.
In the infant potty training crowd, we talk about "misses." Some are not so bad (it got in the diaper.) Some actually mean messies (that's our family's word for #2) all over yourself, the baby, and the kitchen floor...
The boys picked a big bowlful of rhododendron blossom buds to use as bombs in their fort. "What!?!?!" I say in my incredulity, "Those were going to be beautiful flowers!"
There are ants in my kitchen because I can't sweep up every bit of crumb and mop up every spot of jelly (who was eating jelly anyway?) all the time.
Thursday night Jon was at the firefighters' meeting so I had to put the kids to bed by myself. This actually went much better than it often does, until I unwisely read more chapters past bedtime. Then I was tired and much less patient. Noah had fallen asleep at the foot of the bed with Faith's sheet on top of him. He always startles when I move him after he's asleep, so as I took the sheet off him, I said, "Noah, this is Mommy, I'm taking you up to bed." He was very grumpy and said, "Stop it!" and pulled the sheet back over himself. This happened several times and I was getting angry. My voice did not stay gentle and neither did his. In the end I roughly grabbed him, sheet and all, and plopped him into bed. Faith started crying about it and then I scolded her for waking up Joy, and so she cried even more. Then Joy was awake and I saw my sleep slipping away and continued to be angry. Jonathan was just standing there not knowing what to do and starting to get upset himself.
Finally, by conviction of the Holy Spirit, I realized how horrible I had been to my children and I went up and apologized to Noah. He wasn't really awake and doesn't remember any of the incident at all. Then I came back and apologized to the others and they were awake and graciously accepted and forgave me. So we did get to bed in peace. And Joy and I did get back to sleep again, despite my irrational fears to the contrary.
I think the reason people don't usually post things like this is because it is embarrasing. It is much easier and nicer to post all the great stuff about life. The problem is that it only presents one side of your life and then readers can be deceived and then start comparing and then feeling horrible that they can't be perfect like "everyone else."
I have come to the realization that I truly can't do this (wifehood, motherhood, homemaking, homeschooling) on my own, and I need God's strength and wisdom every day.
I stuggle with character issues in my children that I haven't the faintest idea how to fix (because what I've tried already isn't working.) And so I pray desperately because I know God really is the only one who can do that anyway.
And then He blesses. My life is not perfect, but it is certainly blessed. I'm learning to handle the imperfections better, and I am growing in patience. So my hope in writing all this is to encourage you - we are not alone in this, and also we can grow.
God's blessings on you all, mothers of many, mothers of one, and everybody else who is not perfect.