If you are a mother – or a father, for that matter – you know what it’s like to vacillate between fear of failure and a sense of satisfaction. Parents have the toughest job imaginable, and we can never seem to get it all right. The world somehow tells us that, should we “choose” motherhood, we should be “all in;” that is, we should be supermoms who never falter and are always smiling while baking some sort of nutritious, organic, homemade treat.
What’s the reality, though? Do we ever really talk about the hardest parenting moments? Most of us don’t, for a number of reasons. For one, we don’t want to appear as if we are complaining about the very precious human lives we have chosen to bring into the world and care for with ultimate responsibility. But that responsibility reminds me of a verse from Scripture: “To whom much is given much will be required” (see Luke 12:48). The blessing of bearing a human life and bringing him/her into the world also entails a heavy burden – that of raising their eternal souls to what we hope will be their home in Heaven one day.
I remember at my baby shower about six years ago, all of my friends and family surrounded me with these cutesy outfits and lots of excitement about toys, clothes, nuzzling a newborn, etc. No one – not one person – explained to me that motherhood is hard. No one said that I might struggle with breastfeeding and would, at one point, wonder if I’d ever get 4 consecutive hours of sleep again! It was a total shock, but Kate Wicker – in her new book, Getting Past Perfect: How to Find Joy and Grace in the Messiness of Motherhood – honestly but gently lays out the struggles of motherhood. But she does this in a humorous and no-holds-barred way.
For the harried mother of five or the new mom who is nestling her newborn, Getting Past Perfect is a truly refreshing perspective on starting an honest conversation about the tough aspects of being a mom. Wicker never sugarcoats her experience, yet she explains how redemptive suffering specifically pertains to the vocation of motherhood. She also encourages the mother who feels lost and alone. She consoles the mom who feels as if her entire life revolves around cleaning up poop. She commiserates with the one who wonders if she is invisible, all the while toting around kids to various activities while maintaining a somewhat clean home and well-fed family.
For the mom who isn’t sure if things will ever get better, Getting Past Perfect is a book that is sure to offer her honest and encouraging insight about every stage of motherhood. The gist is to appreciate the glimpses of joy we have in the present moment – the giggles and hugs, the unexpected apology or sweet and thoughtful card. Motherhood may not be for wimps, but it’s definitely a path to Heaven that involves battle wounds, scars, and the occasional opportunity for a glass of wine.
Text (c) Jeannie Ewing, all rights reserved.