Well, the cold I woke up with on Mother’s Day turned out to be strep throat.
So the amount I was productive and active and not drinking Chick-fil-a milkshakes to soothe my burning throat was rather limited for a full week.
Honestly, a diet frosted lemonade shake as medicine works. Well.
Remember when our moms used to give us popsicles when we had a sore throat? And then science told us sugar feeds the virus/bacteria and we couldn’t do that anymore or we would die?
Yeah. Whatever. Pass me another milkshake.
In the meantime, lots of things did not get done. Laundry, cooking meals, cleaning floors when little people swear they can pour the apple juice on their own. All around, it ended up being a pretty low key week.
And were it not the week before we leave for our biggest and most expensive vacation, that would have been totally fine.
But it was so I was a tad stressed.
It seems that every time I am sick, everyone else in my newsfeed is sick too. That basically guarantees I’ll see a social media post by a mom with THE FLU taking care of her kids who also have THE FLU. She’s wearing one (probably feeding it), cleaning the kitchen, and singing a hymn to her other two children on the couch.
And I think, well, look at her.
She’s probably got birds singing along with her and woodland creatures helping her clean the kitchen. Plus she’s rocking a perfect messy bun. I have yet to figure out what kind of voodoo it takes to create one of those things in the first place. Apparently, Meghan Markle has it down. Mine looks more like I’m walking around with a donut hole on the back of my head. A donut hole sitting awkwardly off-center.
Maybe if I had a royal family hairdresser I could figure it out.
I don’t necessarily compare myself to her. Besides the messy bun situation. It’s more of a self-evaluation. Could I pull any of that situation off?
Maybe. I can sing Blackbird a thousand times over and never get tired of it. The rest of it? Hard no.
But I know there are plenty of women who do compare themselves to that precious mom’s post.
What is likely true is that mom did NOT post her perfect messy bun flu-infested existence to make anyone feel bad. She probably did it to document this one moment in her one life with her kids’ one and only childhood.
A couple of weeks ago, Bob Goff posted this quote from his latest book, Everybody Always…
“We’re all rough drafts of the people we’re still becoming.”
This feels like a grown-up version of He’s Still Working on Me.
“He’s still working on me
To make me what I ought to be
Took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars
How loving and patient He must be
Cause He’s still working on me.”
We are each fighting our way through motherhood as best we can. And we all start out as rough draft moms.
Personally, I had no idea newborns do not produce saliva. I thought my baby was the cleanest, most delightful creature ever to be born. Look at her! She doesn’t even need a bib! Until all the sudden her saliva production kicked in and we were swimming in drool. When I mentioned this to another mom in a WHAT IN THE ACTUAL WORLD HAPPENED way, she politely informed me newborns don’t have drool so, friend, your baby and her drool are totally normal.
Rough draft mom.
All of us find ourselves often failing royally and occasionally conquering victoriously. There is no way to become a more refined, more experienced, more prepared version of ourselves than to first be completely new, raw, uncertain, rough drafts. And we all begin a new journey frequently ensuring we are constantly in a state of rough draftedness in our lives.
But we often forget that.
We assume the perfect-messy-bun mom in our newsfeed is exactly that perfect in everything she does. At that moment, we forget the places in our own journey where we are more polished and mature and instead, focus on where we are newbies still trying to find our footing.
The truth is we have no control over where we are rough drafts and where we are final drafts. The only thing we can control is…
We can decide to honor all the moms in our lives and in all the ways they are learning how to be moms. Rough drafts, mid-semester drafts, and final versions ready to be turned in to the professor.
Chose to honor the women on our newsfeeds, around our conference tables, in our small groups, sitting on the pew behind us on Sunday morning, pruning their flower beds in our neighborhoods, waiting in carpool lines in front of us. Let’s honor them. We decide to not assign them malicious intent, not to read their words in a sassy tone of voice, not to assume they are nailing every area of their life based on this one picture.
We can decide to let our life be our life and their life, with their perfect messy bun and clean kitchen, be their life and not believe either one of us is less than the other. Honoring their rough draft journies as well as our own still-being-worked-on-stories.
We sit at a table large enough for all of humanity covering the history of the world because, by the act of one Righteous Man, all us unrighteous, dirty-kitchened, Beatles-singing, donut-hole-hairdo, Women of God get to say YES to Jesus and NO to the liar and his boring batch of blacklisting and backstabbing and baloney.
And I am grateful that by His power, I can wake up every day and chose that.
But we can also decide to help one another.
We reach across the table and encourage.
Build up with things like, “So your messy bun. How do you do that?” and “Could I maybe bring you dinner so you don’t have to cook with the flu?”
Ask questions to find out what your mom friends did well today. Maybe it’s not a clean kitchen but maybe she had a great conversation with her daughter about kindness.
Offer to come alongside the newborn Mom as a mentor or a prayer warrior so she doesn’t have to be disappointed and shocked by her baby’s saliva production. You can help her move from her rough draft self to a more confident, sure version.
And be responsible for your own posts. Remember others are watching you, possibly comparing themselves to your life. Be honest and authentic and careful not to share something that baby in your lap might be angry about one day (when he’s an adult) (tweens and teens are embarrassed about all things you’ve ever said, posted, or considered posting).
When we decide to honor, take note of our reactions, build one another up, we each move one step away from our rough draft selves towards the sanctified, more Christ-like version God’s been working on since you left heaven.