When #MomFails Inspire
I have flashes of my greatest #momfail moments whenever some sweet soul learns we’ve got seven kids and they call me a “Saint”, or express their (VERY kind!) admiration of me. I hear their words and in my mind’s eye, I’m at my most humbling valleys all over again. If they only knew!
Motherhood is heavy, but it’s also a universal leveler. You can look at another Mom and know they’ve been baptized in a baby fountain during a diaper change at some point. You know their little one has spit up all over their pretty shirt. You know their little popkin has said exactly the wrong thing and the wrong time and left them red-faced. While I have my fair share of these *special* scenes in my mind, I’d love to tell you about one that stands out to me.
It was a normal day for us. I was 24 and my 3 littles (ages 18 months, 2 and half, and 4) were napping. I wasn’t expecting company, so I was dancing around the house in my pjs and picking up the wreckage our 3 little tornados left around the house in the 5 hours they’d been awake before nap. I heard the girls moving around in their room, so I walked down the hallway toward their room to put them back in their beds and remind them that it was nap time (again!).
I opened the door and set eyes on my youngest daughter, Kherington, who had a strange sheen to her. (Maybe it’s the light?). And her hair looked wet. (Weird). Thinking she had been sweating in her sleep, I went to her to lay her down again. She was slick and oddly sticky.
Y’all. Vaseline. She had painted her whole body in Vaseline. Mercifully my 2 year old, Aubrie, was clean.
“Ok”, I thought to myself, “Self! You’ve got to figure out how to get this Vaseline off her.”
As carefully as I could, I carried my slick, glistening daughter to the bathroom- the explosion of toys and snacks in the living room would have to wait until Kher-bear went from oil slick to super moisturized. I peel off her clothes and they’re heavier than usual because that’s how much Vaseline is coating them. Into the trash they go. I was about to plop her naked baby booty into the tub when….
Ring ring….the doorbell. I hoped it was a delivery. The doorbell sounded again and Aubrie (who decided she wanted to get in on the bath action) streaked by me in a blur of naked glory to greet our guest.
You know that one mentor-type woman? The one you hope to be like one day? The one you admire and try to soak up all the wisdom that comes out of their mouths? The one who has grown children and grandchildren, who is always well groomed and doesn’t smell like goldfish or Desitin? THAT woman was at my door. She very quickly sized up the situation and her smile dropped and she whispered, “I should have called.”
Maybe. But if she had then I would have missed this I could have told her it wasn’t a good time (it wasn’t!) and asked her to come another time, but I figured she’d seen enough already and that my illusion of ‘having it together’ was irreparably shattered, so I shrugged in defeat and let her in.
She hung out while I got my act together and compassionately shared some of her own real life mom moments. When she left, I didn’t feel embarrassed, or ashamed. I’d stopped beating myself and (thanks to her gracious manner) remembered that the season I was in would pass, that other mamas I admired undoubtedly had their own Vaseline moments and that my worth as a mother wasn’t indicated by how tidy my house stayed or how perfectly groomed my family looked. She gave me the gift of grace- of extending grace to myself.
A few months ago a mom on our street was baking pies to raise money for a backyard playscape for her 4 very young children. When I went to pick up my pie, she answered the door covered in flour, half-dressed little ones at her feet, and with a frazzled apology about being behind. I’m not sure how she felt in that moment, but I’ll tell you what I felt. Honored. Absolutely thrilled that I was invited into someone’s real space. I picked up her littlest (who was pulling things off a shelf) and walked into her life-filled kitchen and before I knew it, we were laughing, I was stirring things, she was pulling pies, and a solid bridge was built. One I hope leads to many more moments full of life, full of real.