When I was a little girl, I remember thinking grown ups were so put-together and self-assured. They never feel unsure of what they’re doing. Everyone thinks they’re great. They say things that make each other laugh and can even throw in the occasional swear word and it makes it even funnier! I distinctly remember believing that all of my life’s problems would be solved when I became an adult. I would never feel vulnerable or insecure again.
I’m thirty-six. I’m still waiting for that day to come.
Not only has it never come, if anything, I feel even more exposed and vulnerable most of the time (except after I have a “silly drink” or two, as my kids call them. I am suddenly hilarious and use only the best words; I know I am a grown up. Until the buzz wears off and I’m then analyzing every syllable I uttered while I was fuzzy in the head and feel so much less than I did before the silly drinks were consumed. Then there is usually a day or so of self-loathing to follow and I determine it will be best for everyone if I never have a “silly drink” again).
So I was discussing this whole insecurity thing with a friend. She was describing how her insecurity kicks into high gear when she is forced into situations requiring her to engage in conversations with other moms in public settings, particularly moms she has never met before. “Being a mom is so messy and you are so exposed…at the park, at school, at home…Mom on display and there is just so much pressure…it’s all fumbly and weird.”
YES! That’s it! It’s so fumbly and so weird (I told you I was going to use it, Jenny)! I’m in the adult version of being stuck on a bike without training wheels and I just can’t seem to find my balance, forever and ever, Amen.
But I DO see these other moms, dads, people resembling adults and they have it down. They are riding a two-wheeler, popping wheelies in the gravel, making it look so effortless and cool. Meanwhile, I’m praying Noah won’t forget another homework assignment this week which in reality I threw out by accident and is now covered by a pile of onion peels. And please, dear God, I hope none of the parents saw me getting pulled over today after dropping Grace off at preschool going 50 in a 35. Does the incompetence ever end? Sadly, I think not.
But what’s more incredible is, with the exception of a few dazzling people in this world who never doubt their ability, MOST of us are feeling like we’re falling off the bike all day long.
My wonderful friend Jenny reminded me of something so important last night, though. So you can thank her for the inspiration for all of this: “God sees you and he knows your heart. He loves you and is someone you can laugh about all these things to. It’s just part of being in a world with too many humans…Being a mom is like gold being tested in fire. It’s changing us. If nothing else, to remind us that we are not in control and we have no choice but to put one foot in front of the other and soldier on.”
I know. You probably want to be friends with Jenny, too. She drops these truth bombs on me all the time. She helps me to see this parenting business with so much GRACE. And that is what we need to do. Put on the “Grace Goggles.” Dust off the lenses and SEE so clearly, we’re all just doing the best we can. And it really is enough, onion scented homework and traffic violations aside.
And sometimes we’re doing amazing and we still think it’s not good enough! Case and point, my profound friend rattled off an apology text after her last one saying that, “it probably didn’t make much sense” and “it’s late and sorry for the novel…”
…Um…that made more sense to me and spoke to me more clearly than anything anyone has said to me in weeks. Jenny, Mom of four, who moved her family across the country, during Christmas, while pregnant, and manages to make time for midnight therapy sessions for me, you’re my personal hero.
And I know if we all knew how much we we’re all dealing with that we never talk about on our Facebook highlight reel, we’d all have so much respect and genuine admiration for one another. But I’m telling you all right now, YOU’RE DOING GREAT. We all need to stop the self-deprecation and realize we’re doing our best and as long as we don’t stop trying, we can only get better.
Well, I’m off to pick up the kids at school. And don’t worry, if I see you pulled over by the officer on Cooley Lake Rd, I’ll salute you. I know how it happened. You’re just rushing to be enough for today.