Not Entirely Together
Last month, Hubs, Holden and I went to a friend’s Fourth of July picnic where we had the pleasure of interacting with a large group of our peers, some of whom we knew and some of whom we did not know. I remember standing in a circle with two other women my age. One woman had a baby Holden’s age and one was pregnant with her first child. The woman with the baby asked me if Holden was my first child.
“Yes,” I replied. “Why do you ask?”
“Well, you just seem so confident in what you’re doing with him,” she said. “I thought for sure you had done this before.”
I’m fairly certain my head actually self-inflated and began to float off my body and bounce around among the fireworks after hearing that comment. I left the picnic thinking:
“She’s right. I’ve totally got this motherhood thing down. Heck, I should probably start my own consulting business and charge other women for my advice on being a new mom. They obviously want to be just like me.”
Oh friends, let me tell you. There is a reason that the Bible says “Pride goeth before a fall.” (It’s written in Proverbs 16:18 in case you need a gentle reminder.) And over the next few weeks, the Lord made sure to remind me that it is by HIS grace that I’m muddling through motherhood, much less appearing to thrive in it.
My first encounter with humility came three weeks ago when one of my babysitters came over to watch Holden while I went to work. I normally make it a point to clean my house each night so that I can start each day with a clean slate, but for some reason I had failed to put away the toys, dishes and laundry the night before, and she found my house in a less than desirable state. As the aforementioned babysitter walked inside, I began apologizing profusely for the mess, to which she replied: “Oh, it’s ok. I am a little surprised though. I thought you were more organized than this.”
After I pulled the knife out of my heart and recovered the breath she had just knocked out of me, I managed to squeak out: “Yeah, I guess it just goes to show that no one has it all together.”
Then, like Eeyore, I slinked off to work with a rain cloud of sadness and shame hanging over my head.
Lesson in humility number two came last week when I took Holden on a plane ride to Wisconsin to visit my family. Hubs was unable to join us, but I wasn’t too worried. After all, some people think I’m Wonder Mom.
“I’ve got this traveling thing in the bag,” I thought.
And, indeed, the flight to Wisconsin was nearly perfect. The flight back home, however, was a different story. Not only had Holden been in different time zone for five days, but during those five days he learned to crawl and began cutting a tooth. As anyone who has flown with a mobile baby knows, the furthest thing from their mind is sitting quietly in their seat. Add puffy, painful gums to the mix, and you’ve got the perfect cocktail of fussiness.
I spent the first half of the flight letting Holden stuff his face with everything from puffs to pouches of pears and applesauce to Baby Mums. The second half of the flight was spent standing in the back of the plane with the flight attendants, bouncing Holden up and down, as that made him happier than staying seated. By the end of the flight, Holden had pooped through one outfit and looked as if he had rolled around in a trough of over-ripe fruit in the second one.
Before I returned to my seat to prepare for landing, I thanked Karen, the flight attendant, for letting me stand in the back of the plane with her.
“No problem, sweetie,” she said. “We have moms like you on our flights all the time. And then we have other moms that fly with two or three kids all by themselves and just seem to have it all together and we go ‘Wow! How do they do it?’”
Thank you for that, Flight Attendant Karen. I hope the tail I just stuck between my legs doesn’t get caught when I fasten my seatbelt and return my tray table to its full-upright position.
Personally, I thought those two incidents did a fine job of killing my pride; but alas, the Lord was not done humbling me yet.
Monday is my usual grocery shopping day. I plan meals and make a grocery list on Sunday night; but regardless of how well I plan, I always seem to forget one item at the store. This past Monday, Holden and I went grocery shopping around 5 p.m. and by the time we returned, he was ready to eat dinner, get a bath and go to bed.
I unpacked the groceries once he was asleep, and not surprisingly I noticed that I had forgotten to buy something at the store. Unfortunately, the thing I had forgotten was toilet paper.
I frantically searched my house for a spare roll, but alas, there was not one to be found. I then began to search for the next best thing: tissues. Nothing. Not a single piece of soft-ply anything could be found in my entire house.
Since Hubs was working night shift and Holden was asleep, I couldn’t run to the store. And while most people would just ask their husband to stop and pick up some TP at a 24-hour market on his way home from work, nothing stays open for 24 hours in the small town that I live in.
So, after weighing my options, I decided I had no choice. I texted my babysitter and asked her to bring over a roll of toilet paper when she came to watch Holden the next morning.
When Hubs got home (at 3:30 in the morning, mind you), he woke me up to ask where he could find a spare roll of toilet paper. I informed him that I had forgotten to get some at the store but had asked our babysitter to bring over a roll.
“You asked the babysitter to bring her own toilet paper?” he asked incredulously. (Remember, this conversation is taking place at 3:30 in the morning.)
“Yes, I did,” I replied.
“That’s embarrassing,” he said. “I thought you had more pride than that.”
By this time, I had completely woken up, turned on the light and begun shouting in a loud whisper at my dear, sweet husband. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I know it involved rattling off a list of all the things I do for our family and launching into a diatribe about how all the things I do entitle me to forget to buy toilet paper once in a while.
Now it was Hubs turn to apologize profusely and walk away with his tail between his legs.
If you know me, you know how hard it is for me to share stories like these with all of you. The truth is that I DO want people to think I have it all together, but the reality is that I simply don’t. And the more I talk to other moms, the more I realize no one has it all together. Sadly–and yet somewhat beautifully—we’re all just one roll of toilet paper away from a major meltdown.
**Image courtesy of Happy Skinny Mrs.