Before I had children, I thought I knew a lot of things. It seemed obvious to me that my priorities should be: God first, husband second, children third. But once my kids were born I learned that life isn’t always so cut and dried.
It never crossed my mind B.C. (before children) that my kids would wail at the top of their lungs for my attention and my husband would not. When an infant needs your attention it’s like God has tripped a fire alarm in your brain and you can’t focus on anything else. Your husband will probably not (hopefully) lie on the floor and kick and scream until you stop everything else to see what he needs.
When you get through the baby years to the toddler years, your children’s needs change, but they never need you less- just differently. Every mother has major responsibilities. Some moms stay-at-home full time, managing their households, feeding kids, doing laundry, scrubbing toilets, changing diapers, and shuttling kids around. Other moms choose to balance a career as well as their responsibilities to their family.
Either way, every mother I know is torn in a hundred different directions every single day. I can’t name one woman who wakes up in the morning and says, “Today I have 17 things to do. I will now prioritize them according to the most pertinent and work my way to the least important.”
Most of my days, there is no balance. If motherhood was a tightrope, I’d either need a safety harness or I’d been spending most of my days squished flat as a pancake on the floor a la Wyle E. Coyote.
My day is a blend and a blur. I do laundry while my baby sits on my foot and wipes snot on the leg of my pants. I write while one child naps and another watches Dora. I put out whichever flame burns the highest and brightest before turning my attention to the next big blaze.
I heard teacher Jeremy Pearsons explain priorities in a way that made perfect sense. He said instead of making a list of what should be first, second and third, we should endeavor to keep God at the center of everything we do. Make God the center of your marriage, the center of your parenting, the center of your work… if in everything we do, our focus is to glorify God, He will make sure that our attention is where it needs to be when it needs to be there. No area of our lives will be neglected.
I’ve discovered in the last six years that the perfect Mommy is a myth. It’s okay if Emma wears seven shades of pink and puts her signature, red Mary Jane’s on the wrong feet. It’s okay if there are cheerios stuck to my kitchen counter and it’s just fine if I drive through the carpool line in the afternoon wearing my pajama pants. It’s okay if other people know I’m not perfect, I’m doing my very best to keep God in the center of everything I do.
1 Corinthians 10:31-32 (The Message)
So eat your meals heartily, not worrying about what others say about you—you’re eating to God’s glory, after all, not to please them. As a matter of fact, do everything that way, heartily and freely to God’s glory. At the same time, don’t be callous in your exercise of freedom, thoughtlessly stepping on the toes of those who aren’t as free as you are. I try my best to be considerate of everyone’s feelings in all these matters; I hope you will be, too.
Copyright © Robin O’ Bryant, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved