Can we all just speak that over ourselves right now? (Minus the “but I could do this better…”) Could we just agree that we’re doing all that we can with whatever hand we’ve been dealt? In the wise words of Gandalf, “All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us.”
I remember as a child, and this might say more about my enneagram than I care to divulge, wondering why in the world God would put me in this place at this particular time in history. (I was existential before it fully circled back around again.) I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t born in a hut in the African Savannah, or in 17th century France, or in New York City instead of Kansas. Why me? Why here? Why now?
But alas, here I am. And here is where I will always, only, ever be. And the world I stepped into as a mom is as full of light and dark and knowledge and ignorance as any time in our long and varied history as humans. So WHY am I so quick to think I need to have it all together?
The other day I read a quote by teacher Sharon McMahon, “Mothers have never, in the history of recorded time and likely before that, been responsible for [both] ‘entertaining’ their children while also working full time at subsistence activities.” Yet here we are, trying to be all things to all the people all the time. What are we trying to prove (or run from)?
Think about it. Rewind to the “good ol’ days” when we were kids, riding bikes all over town and drinking out of the water hose. How irresponsible! How careless! How DANGEROUS. But do you know what those ’80s mamas had to live up to? Woodstock.
Compared to taking your moon baby to a love fest, our moms with bangs were looking pretty good. But those hippies were running from their past, too. Remember June Cleaver?
June Cleaver and her shiny kitchen gadgets. Her perfect makeup to kiss Ward goodbye every morning. Her well-behaved children and her spotless home. I’d want to take all my clothes off and dance in the rain, too, if that was what was expected of me!
And do you know what Moms were doing before June Cleaver’s neatly coiffed yard? They were melting scrap metal during World War II. What about the women before that? Ah yes…the glory days of the Great Depression. And prior? Well, they didn’t have cars and daycares and full time jobs and TikTok, that’s for sure.
Yet nowadays, we come at motherhood with all of these expectations. We expect to be free-range moms while also dancing in the rain and kissing our husbands goodbye in full makeup and succeeding in an equality-conscious career and budgeting healthy, wholesome meals for a family on a depression-era budget… All. Day. Er’ry. Day.
But who told us we had to do all of this all at the same time?
Because for hundreds of thousands of years women have followed women into motherhood, trusting those who came before them and learning bit by bit how to be a mother. But somewhere along the way we let books and knowledge and fads and social pressure woo us into thinking that we could take the very best of the past and the very latest and greatest of right now and pile it all upon ourselves.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. And dang it, I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got.
And what I’ve got is a world trying to get out of a pandemic, an endless cycle of dirty floors, dirty dishes, and dirty laundry, and a couple of kids who are feeling the weight of a masked and distanced society overshadowing their childhood. So even if the best I can offer is a messy house, boxed macaroni and cheese, and a whole lot of hugs and kisses and conversations, then dang it, that’s gonna be enough.
I am guaranteed to never have it all together, but I come from a long line of heroic women who stepped into their motherhood at the exact moment in history that they were called to. They weren’t perfect. They didn’t know everything. They didn’t get it right every time.