I remember one horrendous night in the emergency room as I worked a tough shift as an RN. I had an active GI bleeder in room 7 whose blood pressure was dropping, a former OBGYN doctor in room 11A who was on an IV for his blood pressure, and it was CRAZY sporadic, and an active heart attack patient who was handed to me as I stood with a gaping mouth. I really felt like someone might not live that night because I didn't have enough hands, feet, and brains to care for everyone. Being an RN was so rewarding, but the bathroom breaks were few and far between and my dinner was chewed over an hour interval as I sprinted up and down the halls, trying to swallow before opening the patient's room door. But when the job was done at 7am, I got to go home. Once those tasks were checked off, and I handed my patients off to the next brave nurse, I clocked out. Physically. Mentally.
As difficult as that job was for three nights a week, this job as a stay at home mom is so much harder. Why? I have multiple bathroom breaks and I get to sit down to eat (sometimes). For a while I thought it was because of the decreased social interaction with other adults. Then I added in the lack of change of scenery. The same four walls can start closing in on you. Let's be honest: the diapers were in both places, so that wasn't the culprit.
Almost 6 years into this motherhood gig, and I think I've put my finger on a major portion of it for myself. Being a full time mom means my kids see me at my best and my worst--every single day. I can't call in sick when I need a mental or physical health day or try lying low at work when I'm in a funk. I'm the center of their world every waking morning, no matter my disposition. I can't hide my selfishness, my bad attitudes, my desire to be left alone on "off days." I am an open book to them. There is no mask I can wear to show them just the good side of me. You can't pretend all the time. So I'm raw. I'm unedited. I'm fully flawed. I'm in their sight all day. Almost every mistake.
I'm also their teacher of Jesus.
And as opposite as those two roles feel, God intends that for good. It's not a mistake in His design. He intends that to mesh beautifully, for the entire journey to point to him. Too often I've felt the pressure for it to point to me. My goodness. No weaknesses. Strive for perfection. That burden grows heavy quickly. My bones ache from the weariness of that impossible load. You can never win when you run the race of pseudo-perfection. Our humanness contradicts it. It only ends in a beating of self when the sun goes down. Satan creeps in and whispers, "You screwed up- again. You'll never get this right. How in the world did God pick you? You're going to mess these kids up." And the only remedy for that kind of poison going in your ear is to ingest the anecdote of the voice of truth. It means you have to be actively IN the truth, listening for God's voice of validation and worth and redeeming grace. He reveals to you his upside down ways. How he can use a flawed woman who does the same thing every single day. The mama who thinks, "Does what I do really even matter?" And he shows you how he's using your very role to change the world. To change the kingdom.
It's in these days that I've come to realize that my goal for my kids isn't to hear them say, "My mom was a great mom because she had it all together. She never got mad, snapped, or had a bad attitude," but for them to say, "My mom was a great mom because she pointed us to Jesus, in the good and the bad. I'm more like Jesus because of her."
If I inadvertently hold up some pseudo perfection for them to attempt to achieve, they'll feel incompetent to stand after each defeating day. But, if in my mistakes, I am truly authentic to them, if I point them to the one who makes us stand from our battered knees in His glory and washes us anew, then their confidence and their worth is found where it should be. Their model is Jesus. Not their mom. And the glory is where it should be, and I've been used for the cause of Christ inside these four small walls. And His mark on me makes me a good mom. And that's where I can rest my weary soul.