Momsanity Sister Jenny Simpson is a really great mom who fights her tendency of perfectionism (can you relate). And she finds it; in the Lord. Enjoy her hilarious way of storytelling (especially the grocery store poop).
Have you seen the movie “Mom’s Night Out”? Sweet Mom, three kids, great life….completely freaking out. My sister called me and said, “You have to see this movie because she reminds me of you.” Maybe it was the red hair or the Toyota minivan with the broken CD player (FYI Dolphin Tales the movie is stuck in our DVD player and we have watched it over 100 times). However, I think we all have qualities that resemble the moms portrayed in the movie. I am the mom of three wonderful kids ages 11, 8 and 5 and have been married for sixteen years. Personally, I fight the “curse of perfection” daily as a mother, wife, friend and a follower of Christ.
I am convinced that God definitely has a sense of humor. When my son was two years old, we were working on potty training. One day we went out shopping and I was not prepared. He wet through his pull-up at a restaurant, but I did not have any pull-ups or underwear. So I put him in some new pants and he went commando. I reminded him not to use the bathroom in his pants as we went into the grocery store to buy more pull-ups. I put him in one of the fun fire truck grocery carts and began pushing him through the store. As I was looking at the MVP specials, I noticed that he was too quiet and had the “poop face”. I grabbed him by the hand and we ran to the bathroom. When we got into the stall, I pulled down his pants to put him on the potty. I noticed that there was a “poop trail” going down the side of his leg but no poop. This could only mean one thing: there was a poop pile in the store somewhere. I quickly cleaned him up and put on a new pull-up (that I paid for later). I knew that we needed to go search the aisles for the “poop”. This is the part of the story that my husband said I should have paid and left the building. However, I felt responsible so we began walking down the aisles to try to find the “poop” pile. After searching down 2-3 aisles, I finally saw the poop in the distance but it was not soon enough because an innocent lady shopping for her frozen goods rolled her cart right through the poop and then stepped in it. She began saying out loud “What is this?” This was probably another great time to exit the store; however, I walked up to her with wipes in hand and said “oh ma’am I am really sorry. My son has had an accident in the store. Here are some wipes….” She was not amused and would not take the wipes. Right as she began to push her cart away in disgust, my sweet boy said “Ma’am I am soooo sorry” in the cutest voice ever. I was in tears. I went to the manager and told him that the trail of poop from the frozen section was our little mishap and that “clean up on aisle 10 was needed”. After purchasing the wipes and pull-ups, I quickly exited and vowed never to go back to that store. Ever. However, after I loaded the kids in the car, with tears in my eyes, I began laughing until I could not stop. Tears and laughter are so cleansing and as much as I strived for perfection, God was constantly reminding me that I was far from perfect.
Perfection is tough to keep up as a single person but throw in a husband and kids and it is impossible. I married my husband right out of nursing school, began my career and was ready for the rest of our “perfect lives” together. Unfortunately, I was not living up to my own expectations and neither was he. This led to anxiety and difficulties that pushed us apart instead of together. The birth of my first child confirmed my inadequacies. I followed all the rules for first time mothers; however, she still cried and never slept through the night. I was not prepared for the lack of sleep and continuous demands. Three years later my son was born and I continued to strive. It was exhausting……and I had my first blown panic attack when he was 17 months old. I went to the hospital convinced that I was dying. They ran several tests which all came back okay. I was embarrassed and more convinced than ever that I had to get it together, do a better job, and strive more. Kate was born in March of 2010 and my “perfect” family was intact. But I felt even more alone, tired, and struggled with inadequacy. The next year my husband took a job where he travelled 75% of the time. I was also working 3-4 days a week and trying to keep things together. I constantly worried and was struggling just to survive the day to day. My relationship with God had always been important. I prayed, went to church, and followed all the “rules”. So why wasn’t I happy? My husband nor my family were living up to my expectations and I felt alone and inadequate.
As a mother of 3, I wanted to live a healthy lifestyle but struggled with consistency. I did not have time to exercise and when I took the children out for a walk, I ended up struggling to keep them in the stroller while they cried or when I let them out of the stroller they got “tired”. Exercise was a chore, and I felt more stressed afterward then I did before I left.
I think that all Moms can relate to theses tendencies toward perfection and anxiety. After seeking treatment for my anxiety, I began to press in to God. He is able, He is good and He is sovereign. I began to realize that people, money, jobs, kids, spouses, etc. will never fill the whole in my heart that only God can fill. He will never let you down. Being a Mom is the hardest job in the world and if you think about it too much, you will be overwhelmed. Perfection is a lie, unless it is found in Christ Jesus. So why do we strive so hard? I am a firm believer that we as followers of Jesus need to be “real” with each other. We need to discuss the hardships, share our struggles, and lean on our Savior to fill our hearts. Laughter is a gift, and when we can laugh at ourselves, we can begin to recover from our perfectionist tendencies. We also need to let our spouses and kids off the hook. It is not their job to keep us happy and fulfilled. These are unrealistic expectations that can wreck our families.
In 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10, Paul says “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
We as believers have the amazing promises of Christ’s power and perfection in our weakness which is much better than anything I can do on my own. I am thankful for the Momsanity Sisterhood, and the ability to worship, exercise, pray, and live a lifestyle of health alongside our sisters in Christ. Spiritually if we can put down our “idol” of perfection and focus on the only perfect Sacrifice, we can begin to heal and pursue a lifestyle of health physically, emotionally and spiritually.
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