Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 6 - The Plastic Smile

I'm finding myself in another day without fortune cookies, sudden moments of inspiration, thought-provoking incidents or frankly, much ambition. (see day 5!) After a few minutes of quiet time, I realize I might not be alone.

In their book, "What Every Mom Needs", authors Elisa Morgan and Carol Kuykendall say "Moms of preschoolers are said to be the most exhausted, fatigued, and worn-out strata of our society. Functioning on little sleep, unbalanced nutrition, little exercise, and frazzled nerves, we're expected to constantly juggle a jumble of balls without ever dropping one or losing our footing. Often, the cycle of exhaustion intensifies as moms push themselves harder and harder to perform better and better, until they collapse into helpless heaps".

I have to say that exercise and balanced nutrition aren't the things I struggle with most, but I can relate to collapsing into a heap - behind closed doors, of course. One of the things I found to be very fascinating about single parenting was the desire to prove to everyone that I wasn't a failure. My marriage may have fallen apart, but I was bound and determined to show everyone that I could still get a college degree, and be a good mom while doing so. I wanted so badly for people to approve of me. Being a mom is hard enough without putting pressure on ourselves to appear to have it all together.

Being transparent about the challenges of parenthood has been very liberating to me. I'm reminded that no one has it together, and it doesn't do us any favors to try to appear that we do. I thought today that I might try to hide being tired and emotionally drained from a pretty eventful week, but I'm sure it would be apparent in my writing. I can't say enough that I don't want to be fake. Today that means that I might not get a pat on the back for a creative, thought -provoking blog. I do want to honor my commitment to 30 days of writing. I also want to honor today being a day of rest. I know from experience that it is absolutely vital to set time aside for ourselves to be refreshed. It allows us to be better parents - real parents - ones that are aware that parenting is tough, who aren't afraid to admit it, and who know when it's time for a break.

"Lord, thank you so much that you are the author of rest. Give me the discernment to know when I need to rest, and the strength when I need to just keep pushing through. Remind me that it wasn't the people that looked like they had it all together that you spent time with. It was the sinners - the ones who acknowledged that they needed you. Change my life like you did theirs. Thank you for what you are doing in my heart. Thank you that there is never a circumstance that you cannot redeem. Use me in spite of me."

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