Growing up I never had a favorite superhero. They were all cool, but I never connected with any one in particular. However, I did have plans to homeschool my 15 kids, live in a pristine home, cook incredible meals from scratch, adopt all of the stray kids and animals that might wander into my yard, and never elevate my voice beyond normal tones. So now that I think about it, I suppose I wanted to be SuperMom! But life held other plans.
The high expectations I set for myself lowered very little with the arrival of my first child. I still kept a fairly regimented schedule for him and me; with the arrival of my first daughter, I added on a small business and soon had the 3 of us on a finely tuned routine. There were definite hiccoughs along the way with crazy days thrown in here and there, but for the most part I was satisfied with how I was managing home and family. Then came baby number three!
She is a normal newborn with all of the regular disruptions that newborns bring along when they arrive – the piles of diapers, the erratic schedule, the heartwrenching sobs that appear to have no rhyme or reason. I can handle all of that; but add that to also having a new crawler and a stubborn two- year old and I am finding that my SuperMom powers have mysteriously vanished! There are moments when I just sit, mentally skimming through my to-do list and have no idea what to do next. My daily goal is to have all of the laundry washed, folded, and put away but it has not happened since the baby was born. I start a conversation with someone and stumble over my words when I am talking or stop and start over mid-sentence (and I was an English teacher!!). I used to deep clean my house on a weekly basis, bake bread every week, make sure my kids’ faces were spotless before leaving the house, fold their clothes before putting them in the drawer, and take the dog on half-hour walks every day. What happened to me?
As I cried in the shower the other day, it hit me square between the eyes that motherhood is a pride-stripping, self-losing, humility-growing, faith-building calling. In all the glory of singlehood, I thought I knew exactly what it meant to be a parent. I had my list of “My kid will never…” and guess what? I think at least one of my kids has done everything on that list. I also had my list of “I’ll never be THAT mom…” and guess what? You bet I am! And every time I scratch one of those “nevers” off of my list I swallow a bit of humble pie. It’s not a nice feeling, but you know what is? Recognizing that He who has begun a good work in me will be faithful in finishing it. Every bit of pride that is swallowed and every bit of self that is stripped away is making me a more faithful friend, a more loving wife, a more patient mom, and more like Christ. That’s worth more than all the Marvel super powers!