Sipping peach iced tea while parked in the Caribou parking lot, I scrolled through my emails. My toddler and two month old were sitting comfortably in their carseats. These little drive through expeditions have been this stay-at-home-momma’s way of “getting out” without actually having to get out of the car.
As I breathed in my last few minutes of pseudo alone time, I saw it. A Free Milkshake coupon from Chick-fil-a! FREE!? I surely couldn’t pass this up! Besides, the afternoon was young, right?!
We pulled into the Chick-fil-a drive through, and I happily placed my order. But then it happened. The moment every momma dreads. A high-pitched baby scream pierced the airwaves in our sedan. My baby was HANGRY!
“It’s okay,” I said as I tried to soothe her by making eye contact through the rearview mirror…but to no avail.
Ahhh, hurry up! I fumed at all of the cars ahead of me in line. (I didn’t anticipate someone ahead of us would order ALL of the menu items. I also didn’t think my baby’s screaming could get more intense, but … as the time ticked by, her intensity was definitely building.)
“Come on, people! This is supposed to be fast food!” And then finally — after way too long for a milkshake — it was our turn.
I quickly bee-lined it to a parking spot and then squeezed myself in the back seat between the girls. I tried not to flash anyone as I awkwardly maneuvered my baby into position to nurse. Ahhh… finally quiet.
I handed my toddler her milkshake. At least she’ll be happy! I thought. But sadly for me, I had forgotten about the open lid feature on the cup so my toddler made the most of her opportunity!
She flipped and flung whipped cream everywhere with the straw, while milk and chocolate ice cream flowed generously down her chin and onto her clothing, sticking between her fingers and soaking into the seatbelt fibers. All I could do was sit (and nurse) and watch. Ah!
Have you been there, momma? I’m sure you have; because the more I talk to mommas, the more I realize I am not alone.
Pre-kids, when I observed a mom with hair piled on top of her head and a little too much midsection squeezed into her pants, I thought maybe she just needed a little more motivation to care for herself. But now that I AM that mom, I realize that when choosing between myself and others, I usually don’t make the cut.
That’s not because I don’t care about myself, it’s just because I’ve chosen to:
- kiss the owie;
- clean the milk;
- change the stained shirt (again);
- nurse in the backseat of my car; and
- find that one minute to brush my hair, drink my coffee, and maybe even shower.
So now when I see other moms, I don’t judge. I think, “You’re rockin’ that mom bun, girl!”
As a mom of littles, at times I’ve questioned if I have what it takes to do this “mom-thing”. No amount of scheduling, calculating, or “playing your cards right” can truly prepare you for the screaming tantrum in Target, blowout in the backseat, or your desperate desire to make time for Jesus.
How often I close my eyes to rest while listening to the Bible App and hope it “counts” for both nap and Jesus time.
But maybe it does count.
Maybe Jesus knows how much it takes to do this mom-thing. He knows the days you feel you’re not enough and the days you just can’t get it all done. He doesn’t want to be another “to-do” on your list, he wants to join you in the midst of it.
“My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)
This is why I decided to invite Jesus into my daily life. I asked him to sit at our table and to be a part of what we do.
And then one tiring day, as I snuggled my baby and talked to him, I sensed his presence. Surprised, I thought, “Lord, you’re here!” And in my heart I felt like he said, Well, you invited me, didn’t you?
He doesn’t just want to descend on us during our quiet times. He wants to be in the fabric of our daily lives.
Some days you might feel like you don’t have what it takes and that’s okay. Because the truth is, you probably don’t. But Jesus does! Invite him to come in. Ask him to join you in the quiet and in the chaos — when you’re reading your Bible in your messy bun and changing the blowout in the backseat of the car. He wants to be with you. Because with him, you DO have everything you need to do this mom-thing.
So you go, girl!
Keri Herzog loves to see women come to know who they are in Christ. Previously, she worked as the Assistant Dean of Women at Christ for the Nations Institute and has also worked as the Assistant Dean for Leadership and Experiential Learning at North Central University. Currently, she enjoys being a stay-at-home mom to her 2 daughters.