School has begun!
No matter your age, these words have meaning. If you’re a parent of a school-age child, these words may bring delightful feelings of routine and order, visible accomplishments and intentionally grooming the littles toward greater responsibility.
Or, you may wrestle with leaving them for six or more hours each day; entrusting them to the care of teachers, administrators and peers whose words and actions may not align with what you think “best” for your child. After-school conversations may be less informative than you hoped. Exhaustion (and melt downs) may be greater than you expected.
What did they hear? Did they feel lonely? Were they bullied?
Lunches, snacks, three-ring binders with pockets and withOUT pockets, red and blue folders for specific purposes – no other colors allowed! – backpacks (oh, the particulars involved here!), lunchboxes (unless that’s not cool, then brown bags; unless those aren’t cool, then lunch money….but sometimes that’s not so “cool” on the budget….!).
And back to school clothing and shoe shopping! Right. That, too.
Homeschooling moms have curriculum, field trip, physical education and extra-curricular decisions to make. Not to mention establishing “homeschool class rules” and the “place” within the home where school will occur.
For moms, this season of “new school year” puts a lot on our minds. A LOT!
In the words of Jen Hatmaker: “For the LOVE!”
A friend posted on Facebook that her kids saw the “crazy, screaming, unglued” mom this week.
Anyone else come a bit unglued this week?
My almost-three-year-old Timmy has started to say, “You so crazy, Mommy!” He says it because I first said it to him because he IS SO CRAZY! For real! He could have a TV show. He narrates his every thought and action, in third person no less. Or like a pirate saying things like, “me did it!” and “me want it” and “me poopin’. My not done, don’t change it, my diaper, mom.”
Each time I hear his child’s voice say, “You so crazy, Mommy!” I am reminded that I really am. And I appreciate the reminder. He’s not telling me this in a judgmental, harsh, or critical manner. He wouldn’t know how. He’s just saying words and getting laughter in response from me, so he keeps saying them.
But it reminds me that I need HELP!
I don’t mean this to be self-deprecating. I mean it as fact. Reality. Truth for us all. I look at other moms, even those who tell me their kids saw the “crazy, screaming, unglued” mom and I think, “Yeah, right. That mom has it all together. She doesn’t know what crazy, screaming, unglued mom is…at least not to the extent that I know it of myself.”
Sometimes we think we are the ONLY ONE who comes unglued. In these moments of painful vulnerability, we compare ourselves. Then we begin to define ourselves based on this comparison.
“My whole attitude towards myself becomes determined by the way in which others see me. [Corin’s addition: or the way in which I THINK others see me.] I compare myself with others, and I try to emphasize what is different and distinct about me. The three temptations which Christ faced in the wilderness are equally mine: to be pertinent. To be spectacular. To be powerful.
Am I able, like Christ, to put them down?
Am I ready to admit that the mask is a disguise put on to cover up the insecure self? …Am I ready to receive a new self, based NOT on what I can ACHIEVE, but on what I am willing to RECEIVE.” –Esther de Waal
As I thought about my friend beating herself up over a moment of “losing it” with her kids; a moment ALL moms go through several (thousand!?) times, I couldn’t help but acknowledge that we moms often evaluate ourselves on what we can achieve. How often do we end a day thinking, “What did I DO today? Did I even accomplish anything?”
This mentality isn’t exclusive to moms. We all – our children included – compare ourselves to others and define ourselves by what we have achieved and by what others think of us (or, more accurately, what we think they think of us).
Ann Voskamp writes, “Christianity is the only hope for this broken world because there’s no other way for the broken to get the nails they need to rebuild.”
I need to be rebuilt daily. Sometimes several times a day.
This morning I began my day with an apology to my kids because I yelled at them the night before. My behavior wasn’t Christ-like. It was not horrible and my kids weren’t scarred, but it didn’t reflect the character of the One I care about most. The One who shares my kids with me and gives my days purpose. The One who says, “Yes, you DID accomplish something today. You knew Me more because of the day. You loved the people I placed in your path by noticing them, listening to them, building them up and meeting their needs. And, yes, I mean your kids.”
School is back in session. There is pressure in that. For all. It’s enough to make us crazy. To get us unglued. It’s enough to break us down.
This new season can heighten our feelings of insecurity as we compare ourselves to other moms. As our kids evaluate themselves on test scores and who made the cut for varsity. We may go to sleep with guilt on our eyelids of how the stress of newness mounted and resulted in us becoming “so crazy.”
But don’t we embrace a new day? The new DAY is refreshing; but the new school YEAR is daunting.
I’ve decided to do this school year day by day. God tells us to not borrow worries from tomorrow. We are going to fail if we’re trying to achieve spectacular. We’re going to exhaust ourselves in the endless effort.
Instead, I’m going to focus on receiving grace, forgiveness and patience. And being THANKFUL for that. I’m going to focus on not worrying, but praying and trusting. Quietly listening instead of hastily talking. Not because “new year, new you,” but because “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
That new creation isn’t defined by what she can achieve. It exists because of what it has received.
School has just begun and I’ve already been schooled. I know at least a few others have, too. But I’m going to show up again tomorrow. Because, yes, I AM crazy…and God still loves me.