When Motherhood Feels Like a Waiting Room: Settling Into My Present Instead of Waiting for My Next
When we moved this past summer, it didn’t take long for my husband to find the Goodwill Superstore down the street. This guy is very impressed by a good deal. On his last trip, he brought home an $8 Easy Bake Oven. Now, my girls LOVE to help me cook and are constantly asking to make “real food by myself” so initially I thought, “Way to go, Clark!” But then I realized… Neither child can read a recipe. Neither child can measure. Neither child can wash dishes or clean up messes without help.
Clark just got two little girls really excited about this crap and then left them with me for four months while he coached football. TAKE IT BACK.
Just kidding. I’m not a total Fun-Sucker.
A few days ago, I agreed to let the girls make something that looked a lot like melted poo but was in fact brownies. I told them to grab a chair and push it up to the counter. While the chairs began stuttering across the tile floor, I saw a wave of competitiveness flood the girls’ eyes. I then watched them jockey back and forth for the honor of First Child to the Counter.
Charlee, being older, arrived first and proceeded to push her chair directly in front of the mixing bowl. Hattie, realizing defeat, immediately collapsed to the floor in all her three-year-old glory. After making sure she hadn’t been shot, I asked her what was wrong.
That was where I was going to put my chaaaaiiiirrr. There’s no roooooom for me now. I won’t be able to see annyyyythhiiinnnggg!!!
I assured her I would scoot the bowl over and make sure they could both see.
“Do you think I would only let Charlee mix?” No, she replied.
“Doesn’t mommy always let you both help?” Yes, she replied.
“I love you both. I don’t care more about Charlee than you and I don’t care more about you than Charlee. I will make sure y’all both get a turn because I love you both. But you have to be patient.”
Hattie hesitantly pushed her chair up and kindly (if you can be kind and whiny at the same time) reminded me that she couldn’t see inside the bowl. I scooted the bowl over and thought,
This is a trust issue. This is an issue of her not trusting my fairness, not trusting that I will give her a turn. So she feels the need to take matters into her own hands.
Sharing is hard. We work and work on it with our kids because we want them to be likable and have friends, but we think WE get it — we think we know how to graciously let others have what we want. But we don’t.
We know how to share toys, french fries, clothes (if we really like someone).
But we have a really hard time sharing success.
We think a lot like little Hattie: That should have been me. There’s no room for ME now. WHEN WILL IT BE MY TURN?
But really, it’s an issue of trust. We don’t trust our Father.
We don’t trust that there’s enough to go around. We don’t trust that our success is in his hands and not our own. We don’t trust that if we rest in him, he will raise us up. We don’t trust his timing.
So it becomes ME vs. EVERYONE ELSE. And in our grieving at everyone else’s good news we lose the ability to rejoice in it because we become so obsessed with GETTING OURS.
That’s not how it works.
I love, love, love the way Glennon Doyle Melton puts it:
“Think abundance – always think abundance. Belief in abundance is the source of all generosity and peace. Know that there is enough. Know that you are enough. Know that you have enough. Enough time, enough talent, enough love.
You can’t miss your boat. It’s yours. It stays docked till you’re ready. The only boat you can miss is someone else’s. Let them have theirs while you wait for the boat made for you. God’s never early and never late. And know that love and life are patient. And that God and life are forever tries.”
OF COURSE. I CAN’T MISS MY OWN BOAT.
What freedom that gives me! Freedom to stop working so hard. Freedom to let go. Freedom to bless others. Freedom to find joy in my current circumstances. Freedom to appreciate the process. Freedom to exhale. Freedom to rejoice in the arrival of others’ boats, even if mine keeps not coming, because I know that “God is never early and never late” and this is not some huge competition. We are on the same team.
I am determining that I will trust in abundance, that there is always enough to go around.
Motherhood is fraught with illusions of passing boats, convincing me that this is just a time of waiting: waiting for my boat, waiting for my turn, waiting for my next, like motherhood is just an in-between stage. I anticipate and prepare for the “after our kids…” instead of investing and digging into the NOW.
Motherhood is so much more than a lobby or a waiting room or a queue.
It’s so easy to believe that while you are changing diapers and playing baby dolls everyone else is floating past you. But Mama? Don’t you believe that lie. What you are doing is important. This is kingdom work.
My hope is that we can all collectively work toward one goal: bringing His kingdom down to Earth. And “just being a mom” is enough. Trust his process above your own and know that in your faithfulness, your boat, the one upon which God has already written your name, will not pass you by.
At the news of others’ success, if you are tempted to wonder, “WHEN, GOD? When will it be my turn?” Just as I told Hattie, God wants you to know, “I love you both. I don’t care more about _____ than you and I don’t care more about you than _____. I will make sure y’all both get a turn because I love you both. But you have to be patient.”
Settle into your motherhood. Settle into your God. Lean into both and allow them to be exactly what you need in this moment.’
Jordan and her husband Clark live in North Richland Hills, TX with their three kids, ages 4, 3, and 1. She is a teacher turned stay-at-home-mom and attempts to blog on the blessed occasion that all three kids’ naps align. For stories that will make you feel better about yourself, visit her blog at jordanharrell.com.