I know I’ve been MIA from blogging and writing for my personal website for ages now. The reasons for my dearth of posts are many. First, I was feverishly working on my second book this past summer, which will be officially released on March 3rd, 2017. Getting Past Perfect: Finding Joy & Grace in the Messiness of Motherhood is available for pre-order now on Amazon. This book is a work carved from my imperfect mothering heart. I’d wanted to write it for a long time, but it remained in its embryonic stage for several years, partly because I was so busy being a mom I didn’t have too much time to write about it and also because I didn’t feel like I was all that qualified to write a book on motherhood since I’m still figuring things out every single day.
But everything as far as writing goes started to fall into place in the summer of 2015, and I received both divine nudges to get thee to the keyboard and write, write, write as well as a lot of support from some wonderful fellow moms and writing mentors. Not to mention some very dependable and free babysitters (AKA grandparents) stepped forward to help with the kiddos to allow me some uninterrupted time to write. So word by word, prayer by prayer, and day by day, I wrote what was on my heart.
This book is raw and honest and hopefully, it will make you chuckle a few times as well. I share real anecdotes about my struggles and joys as a mom. I also reveal a heart-wrenching part of my life that only a handful of people knew about before my story weaved its way into this book. I wanted to give moms an authentic, uncut version of motherhood. I longed to give them permission to hang up their superhero capes and to enjoy mothering the way they felt called to do and were designed to do while at the same time realizing that if they weren’t enjoying being a mom, that didn’t mean they were a horrible person and/or the moms of wretched children.
Just as Weightless sought to free women from being slaves to food, scales, unrealistic beauty standards, and unhealthy body image, Getting Past Perfect strives to help moms from all walks of life to overcome Pinterest-inspired perfectionism by replacing their deepest fears and anxieties with a steady trust in God and the freedom to love and mother their children authentically. I hope you will join me in this quest to replace perfectionism with authenticity.
But that’s enough of my marketing spiel.
As I write, I’m a gestating machine. I’m nearly 38 weeks pregnant with my fifth baby. I’ve never experienced an Advent where I was simultaneously preparing my heart and home for Christ and for a new little one, and it has been such a beautiful gift. I haven’t done as much festooning or baking. I’ve asked for help with gift-wrapping and other Advent/Christmas to-dos. Earlier this week I glanced at my agenda, and I might have broken out into a little, happy dance because there was a lot more white space than is typical for me, especially during this crazy-busy time of year. All my previous babies have come early, so I planned accordingly and now I have this time to just wait and to try not to let every twinge or contraction get me too excited. I was 4 cm with Thomas for several weeks. I’m one of those moms who’s in early labor for months, but when Baby is finally ready, he/she comes with surprising alacrity.
My kids are excited. My husband finally ordered a new carseat and looked at it today and remarked, “Can you believe we’ve done this five times?”
Yes and no. Sometimes it feels like I’m an old pro. I’m very relaxed about some things. I’m delivering at a different hospital and I haven’t bothered to go on a hospital tour. My hospital bag isn’t packed. We’re not sure of what we will name this baby. I’m looking forward to breastfeeding again. Our co-sleeper isn’t set up yet. My husband has a busy work schedule near my due date, and people have asked what I’ll do if he can’t be there right away during labor. “I’ll just wing it,” I’ve said.
But then, as I am on the eve of new motherhood once again, there are those ever-present creeping concerns. How will I juggle older children’s busy academic and sports schedules along with the needs of a new baby? How will I survive on fragmented sleep? Why have I been so grumpy despite the joy of Advent and my excitement about our little wonder? Will I ever get over this awful cold? When will this baby decide to make his big debut? What if he’s huge and this is the first labor that isn’t a beautiful, blessed natural childbirth? What if he’s born with something wrong with him? Why do I keep biting my nails? Will my horrendous vulvar varicosities (sorry for the TMI, but this has been a lovely, new addition to this pregnancy and has forced me to way the ever-so-alluring Prenatal Support V-2 Yes, it even has its own model, but I shouldn’t dis it too much. It’s made a huge difference in alleviating pressure and pain down there) go away after birth?
I don’t have answers to any of these questions; yet, I know in the recesses of my more trusting heart that God’s grace is sufficient, and I’ll get through and survive whatever comes my way. It won’t be perfect. It won’t always or ever be very pretty. There will be poop (this is actually a sub-header straight out of Getting Past Perfect) and rough days and times when I fall way, way, way short as a wife, mom, and/or human being – like last night when I was congested, grumpy, tired, and had had it with one child’s petulance and almost-nightly tantrums and handled the situation so poorly, said child ended up in tears wishing for another mother. Talk about getting past perfect. That was a heartbreaking moment. But then we cuddled. I apologized. She forgave. Then she fell asleep in 0.2 seconds because she was so overtired. And this morning a new day of hope and grace greeted us, and she seemed pretty pleased to call me Mommy.
I don’t want this season to be a season of “Hollerdays” – me yelling at the kids or stressing out about myriad things I have no or very little control over (or things that just don’t matter one iota). Despite being prepared for Christmas in the practical sense – gifts wrapped, cards stamped and mailed, etc. – my heart needs a little more work.
I need the reminder as much as anyone that Christmas is about the ultimate simple birth of a child in a dank stable, a child who grew to be a man who invited his followers to give up their worldly belongings and desires and to follow him and to love him and others. Let’s not teach our children or fool ourselves into thinking that we can buy happiness or peace at Christmas. God’s love is priceless, waiting for us all, and there for the taking.
Savor these last few days of Advent. Search for the Prince of Peace in your home and heart, and then find him waiting for you on Christmas morning!
This is the kind of photo that *might* show up on Instagram. It’s still not anywhere near a perfect family photo. Thomas is almost always a blur in photos, or he’s making a silly face. The background and lighting in this picture leave something to be desired (is it just me, or do we all look a tad jaundiced?). All that said, it’s still a relatively nice captured moment of us all. But… it only took about 15 takes from a very patient friend-turned-Wicker-family-photographer to get a quasi-quality family photo.
Most of the outtakes look like this. Kudos to my husband for taking a good picture and looking at the camera. As for the rest of us, well, we tried. Then we tried to hightail it out there. We were at the kids’ school Christmas program where PreK through the eight grade perform, and Thomas had reached his limits. He ended up sniping his way to the exit. Fun stuff.
At any rate, in honor of my new book I’m launching a social media movement that shows the real side of motherhood and of life. Join me in sharing and putting your authentic self forward by using the hashtag #gettingpastperfect. I can’t wait to see glimpses into your messy, real lives.