oh my word
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real motherhood. real marriage. real life.
Hello! My name is Martha. {Mary, if you're reading this, go clean something.}
Posted on June 7th, 2016


Hello.  My name is Martha.  Yep.  Here's the real deal.  I have been running around checking things off my to do list and wondering why Jesus won't just tell everybody else to get off their tuckas' and help a Martha out!  I have wrestled with this Mary/Martha post for months and months.  How fitting that I’m being all “Martha” about a post instead of just doing the thing God has told me to do…I’m stubborn like that.  I'm too busy these last few weeks couple years seven years all my life making sure to do All the Things instead of being concerned with making All the Things about Jesus.  I've invited Him in here and there, but overall...not doing too hot.  Anyone with me? 

It's so hard for me to stop and soak it in.  With making time to sit at His feet (the traditional Mary/Martha debacle), yes. But also making time to savor these moments.  Momma Moments.  It's just not natural for me.  I have to work at it.  I have to have an actual thought in my actual brain to say and do the actual things I need to do to slow down and enjoy and "store up all these things in my heart".  So I guess this is my Mary/Martha post, and my Stop Comparing post all in one.

I’m a Martha Mom.

(I want to throw up just saying that. That’s the truth of it.)

I don’t wanna be Martha Mom!  (Cue whining and frowning and kicking things.)  I want to be Mary Mom!  I want to chill with my kids and not worry about messes and not cringe every time I walk by my daughter’s room and see this:
This is Carson's bed that she "made".  Y’all, it takes everything in me – every.last.thing. – not to walk past that “made” bed, do an about-face, and rush in there and straighten up that bed.  Some of you have no clue what the problem even is…to you, I say…I wanna be you so bad!  You are a Mary Mom.  I watch you and I sigh at all my Martha-ness. 

I’ve made attempts to become a Mary Mom.  I’ve tried.  I give you Exhibit A:

One night at dinner I was rushing around and filling plates and wiping faces, and I had an actual thought in my actual brain that told me I should be just enjoying the meal instead of seeing the messes and ticking things off my checklist.  Oh, hello, Holy Spirit, prompting my heart.  I hear you.  Okay.  So, being the super spiritual, obedient Christian that I am (laugh, snort, laugh), I stopped what I was doing, sat down and smiled sweetly at Carson (who was being silly and entertaining Emerson).  In my super sticky sweet Mary, alter-ego tone I said, "Oh my goodness!  What sweet sisters you two are!  You make Mommy's heart melt."  Carson stopped what she was doing and scrunched her nose up and giggled, "Mom?  What. Are. You. Doing?  Why are you talking like that?" 

Caught.  I'm a Mary-imposter.  Part of me wants to crawl into a hole and bawl my eyes out that my own daughter knows when I'm forcing it.  But the other part of me knows that I can't be All the Moms to my girls.  I am Get it Done Mom, Crafty Mom, Organized Mom, Loving Mom, Read a Book Mom, Keeps a Tidy House Mom, Teacher Mom...but I am NOT Super Patient Mom, Laid Back Carefree Mom, Play with Me All the Time Mom, or Super Fun Mom.  I'm just not.  God made me the mom I am.  Not that I can't be improved (good gracious, no!), but I have learned am learning that comparing my momness to another mom's momness isn't fair.  Because, above all, God made me Carson & Emerson's Mom.  And that's the only mom I need to be.  I would be lying if I said I still didn't long to be a Mary Mom.  I do.  A lot. 

In fact, sometimes ridiculous people say ridiculous things that make me feel bad and guilty about the kind of mom I am.  (To those people, please know I’m always sticking my tongue out at you in my head and/or wanting to punch you like the wayyyy mature adult that I am.)  And those comments set me back and make me wonder if I'm doing all of this right.  If my kids are happy.  If I'm messing them up.  There's always the enemy's voice that lies and says, "You'll never be a good mom unless you stop being who you are."  And some days it's tough to not be seduced by those lies and throw my hands up, wave a white flag.  We blame each other for the lies being whispered in our ears, which is exactly what Satan wants us to do.   The very last thing he wants is for moms to stop the comparison game, but still we etch those lies on our hearts with permanent Sharpies.  Do you struggle with this too?  I do.

Because people say stupid crap like this:

“I don’t know how you do it all!" (Fact: This is my VERY LEAST FAVORITE COMMENT ON THE PLANET EARTH!  Well...that's a lie.  "What's for dinner???" is my LEAST favorite.  But the "do it all" one...definitely second.)

Or...

"You work, you are going to grad school, your house is always neat and clean.  I wish I could do all that.  Mostly, I just enjoy playing with my kids.”

Or…

“Wow.  You do so much.  Do you get to spend a lot of time with your kids?  I just couldn’t put my baby in daycare.  I don’t know how you do it.”

Or…

“I couldn’t do it.  I would go crazy being such a neat freak.  I’d rather let my kids make messes and have fun and worry about it later.”

Okay…first of all, let’s get one thing straight once and for all and forevermore ‘til Jesus comes.  I DO NOT “do it all”.  Please, people.  No one does.  No one can.  What you see is not always what is true.  What you think you see is most likely smoke and mirrors.  Sometimes this magic show is intentional.  We want other mommas to think we aren’t crazy and nuts and that we definitely have it all together.  So we play up the good stuff and frantically hide the rest under our bed before anyone sees.  We need to stop it.  Smoke and mirrors, the man behind the curtain, the slight of hand…it’s not real.  And so much freedom can come when we just let our honesty show.  Let our scars be known.  Let our imperfections become beauty marks.  I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve locked eyes with a momma in the grocery store with a toddler who is hanging halfway out of the cart wailing and moaning (i.e. screaming like a banshee) and we both just kind of nod with a sad, knowing nod and I feel like we both said in our hearts, “I feel ‘ya sister.  I hope you can have some wine later.” Hashtag honesty.  Hashtag solidarity.

Second of all…rude.  Come on, my friends!  By now we should all be VERY comfortable with the fact that God has a unique and perfect calling for each of us.  These comments (some of them innocent, I think) just allow Satan to divide us.  It’s the same with the Working Mom vs. Stay at Home Mom.  Are we REALLY still divisive about this?  Moving on.  Kick Satan’s butt on your way out, please.

Third…these comments always leave me feeling like I just had whiplash.  Was that a compliment?  Was that a dig?  What just happened?  Do I still get to keep my Mom License?   And it also makes me think about the things I might say to Mary Moms… “It doesn’t bother you that you have a sink full of dirty dishes?  Are you always so laid back?”  Here’s one I’ve said for sure, “Doesn’t being with your kids ALL the time make you nuts?!” So as I’m pointing the finger at others, there are three more pointing back at myself, I promise.

Here’s the bottom line.  Martha Moms, I see you.  I understand you.  I am your people.  But you know what?  Mary Moms, I see you.  I understand you.  I am your people.  I think you see my neat house and want that and wonder why YOU can’t get it together, go buy a label maker, and get your home in order.  I think you see my pictures of me cutting out bread flowers for my kids’ lunches and wonder why you can’t be more creative.  I think you see me going to work and running the teacher luncheon and think, I should be more involved.  What you don’t see is me being so exhausted from never saying no that I don’t give the best to my family.  What you don’t see is me crying myself to sleep because I yelled at my daughter (again) because of one thing or another.  What you don’t see is that I cannot just sit and be still and enjoy being home because all around me I see jobs to do, things that “need” to be done.

Here’s what you need to know, Mary Mom…I see you playing in the floor with your kids, mess all around, grinning like a big ol’ fool while your kids tackle you with hugs.  I see you reading the same book 317 times in a row because it’s their favorite.  I see you valuing time with your kids over a made bed and I deeply envy you.  I see you and I want to be more like you.  But I’m sure there are things I don’t see about you, too.  Things that would make me realize we are more alike than different.

Those things we don’t see are where our hearts get confused and jumbled and tangled into a mess.  What we don’t see is deep.  No one does it all.  Not one single momma.  We all have our sweet spots and we all have our hidden spots we don’t want anyone to know about.  We all struggle, the Mary Moms and the Martha Moms.  Let’s learn from one another and, at the same time, accept the kind of mom God created us to be for our own children.  Ask Him to sand off our rough edges and fill in our gaps with grace, grace, grace.

Martha Moms…chill the heck out.  Sit.  Relax.  Soak it in.  Enjoy.  Stop striving. (Preaching to myself.)  I’m with you, sister.  It’s hard.  It’s hard being Martha when all you want to be is a Mary.  Hard.  I’m praying for you! 

Mary Moms…help a sister out once in a while and show us Marthas the hard things, the struggles, the scars.  We need to know you aren’t perfectly content all the time.  We need to know you screw up, too.  Us Marthas need to know that our Mary friends see us, too.

I realize I took a bit of a theological hop (leap?) with the Mary/Martha thing.  Let me try to tie up this post in a bow and bring it all back…it’s not about us anyway.  Not our parenting, not our kids, not the way we work, the way we run our homes.  It’s only, always, forever and always about Jesus.  To serve Him AND to sit at His feet, both.  Grace upon grace to the mommas who need to learn to balance the two.  (And that’s all of us.)

You should also know this…I’ve grown in this area.  I don’t say that to brag, but just to give God a victory cry.  He is slowly allowing me to let some things go and just sit at His feet.  (He’s forced me, actually.  Which I really want to say is rude, but He’s God and I can’t say that.  So I’ll just say…I haven’t gone down without a good, hard fight.  That’s definitely another post for another day.)  What this looks like for me at this very moment is that there are Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal pieces in my carpet.  (Emerson picked one up and ate it right before nap, which I let her do and considered it an afternoon snack. #winning)  There is spilled coffee on my sheets that I plan to just let dry and go with.  There are three giant mountains of clean laundry piled in my hallway so that the front door won’t open. (The piles are neatly stacked, though, Marthas.  All is well.) All this is H.A.R.D. for me.  It makes my insides crawl.  But I just brush off the feeling and walk on.  I’ll get to those things. 

Less toiling.  Less negative self-talk.  Less pressure.

More Jesus.  More grace.  More breathing room.
 
And for goodness' sake...let's all pray my daughter learns to make a bed soon before my crazy starts to show and make my eye twitch.


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10 Comments

Charlotte Woods Metcalf - June 7th, 2016 at 5:09 PM
Beautiful! Most times I'm more of a "Mary" mom; the one that flies by the seat of her pants! I will assure you that there are plenty disadvantages and oh what I would give for a clean house!! We all struggle and somehow (with plenty prayer, caffeine and WINE), we all succeed. There is no definite formula for being a momma, especially one that works and goes to grad school. We should cherish what we can, and know that our families love is just the way we are (a tad bit crazy either way). Now, run along and play! I speak from experience when I say that the house and laundry will be there tomorrow!
Lindsey - June 7th, 2016 at 5:25 PM
Thank you sweet friend! See, this is encouraging to ME as a Martha! We can be crazy together ;)

Abbey - June 7th, 2016 at 7:11 PM
I knew you were normal when I found your laundry hiding place and accidentally saw your bed unmade, once and only once (never mind that it was when you had a newborn)! I knew you would survive being my friend then. %uD83D%uDE18 Love you in all your Martha-ness!
Linda - June 7th, 2016 at 7:12 PM
Love it. I have been here, my little friend. So here is my admission to you. My house is hardly ever clean even with Rhett back at his house. I am okay. You will be there one day I can tell. The cereal on the floor is a giveaway, Lindsey. I love you.
Regina - June 7th, 2016 at 8:09 PM
I love you. I love hearing your honest heart. I love your transparency. I love how you love your family. I love your humor or should we just say sarcasm? I love that you seek to honor God while still fighting against Him. That's real. And I'm all for real. I love how you admit your shortcomings, but don't measure your life by them. I love that you call out the lies ("do it all", etc.) and encourage truth. Reality is...there will be a time in the not so distant future, when their beds are continually made because they are not sleeping in them. Our time with them is short. Do life the way God and his word lead you, not the way others think you should. Journey on, friend. We're walking with you. Be encouraged in your Mother's Heart. Whether we are Mary or Martha, God is sovereign, and He will mold and make them into who He planned before the foundation of the world...in spite of us. :) That's good news.
Cyndi Joachim - June 7th, 2016 at 10:03 PM
I debated even reading this. Now I'm laying in my bed with tears in my eyes. Makes me want to get up and wash the dishes in my sink and pick up that dang Batman shoe my son left in the hallway after telling him a trillion times tonight to put it by the door. But I'm not a clean freak. I left that job to my mom. However, nothing is gross in my house...so I'm ok. I wish as mothers, more of us congratulated one another on a job well done rather than competing all the time. I get stabs all the time for having been inn grad school and working and trying to be super mom and wife. Thanks for this! Made me feel better all around and made me think that I need to compliment all my mom friends more!
Laurie G - June 8th, 2016 at 6:55 AM
I have always connected with Martha, but never thought of it in the momma role. Again, I'm definitely the Martha Momma wishing I could be Mary. If I tried to be Mary I would feel guilty. Yes, the struggle is real! Thank you for so eloquently putting the struggle into words. Thanks for reminding us to embrace who God made us to be with only needing to be all that we can be through Him.
Diane - June 8th, 2016 at 7:43 AM
Lindsey, I'm with you as a working mom Martha. Fortunately or unfortunately, I can promise you that age will mellow you. And as Regina mentioned, the kids will be gone before you know it or are ready. I'm leaving my college kid's bed unmade for a little bit longer to just feel like he is still here. And so long as everyone is healthy, and Jesus is at the center, the rest won't matter.
Carla - June 11th, 2016 at 12:08 PM
Definitely Martha too, but only 5 days a week--unmade bed every Sunday and most Saturdays. It is easier with my grandchildren to sit and play. There came a time when I learned to say "no", even though it was VERY hard when asked to do this or that. But I have never had regrets about not serving on a committee, only regrets about saying "no" to my children. My children either have bad memories or God has let them forget many of my failures, for which I am thankful. Hang in there--you are doing a great job!!
Natalie Buuck - June 24th, 2016 at 12:19 PM
Oh my gracious, I can't decide if I'm Mary or Martha or a morph of the two because I struggle with all these things!!
Thank you, as always, Lindsey, for writing!!
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