When Motherhood Misses the Mark

It was an out of body experience. It was like I was floating outside myself, watching ( in horror) a woman out of control. The words coming out of my mouth were not those of a mature, college educated professional but an outraged, maniacal 3 year old. My tone wash harsh and my volume was maxed. I vaguely remember recalling, “I wonder if my neighbors can hear me?”, but not seeming to care based on the chorus of anger that raged on. Rather then staying calm and modeling the behavior I was desiring of the 3 year old I was attempting to discipline, I decided a better plan was to become a 3 year old myself. Irrational, irritable, slightly insane. This makes perfect sense – just what my sweet daughter needed when she was just trying to navigate emotions that were simply bigger than her little body could hold… a mom that forgot all she knew and went right back to Preschool her self.

It was not one of my prouder mothering moments.

My 3 year old did not need another 3 year old to guide her to her next best behavior decision. She needed an adult.

I’ve noticed a trend lately. It shows up in my social media feed, the t-shirt section of Target, college advisory panels, even on cross stitched plaques hanging on college dorm rooms. It shows up in print, and in voice…

and I hear it loudest…

from women.

Spotted on a girls dorm door on a recent college visit with my daughter.

Its a message that makes me cringe and reminds me all too much of the woman that I saw standing in my hallway years ago. The woman that needed to get a grip, that needed someone further along the parenting path to show her the way, to love her enough to hug her while pointing her in a very different direction.

What is the trend you ask? ( be careful- I may start stepping on toes- but I’ve just about had enough). The “I Just Can’t Adult today” and “I’m just a HOT MESS” and “I’m declaring a lay on the couch and drink wine all day Holiday.” Trend.

When you google Women’s T-Shirts – its EASY to find attire that proclaims the above messages. We are wearing it, posting, yelling it – Loud and Proud.

Womans T on Amazon

And I just have to ask…

“WHY?”

What I find interesting is that you can do a google search for Girls T-Shirts and not one of them says …”I want to grow up to Not be able to ADULT.” or “My Life Goal is to lay around and drink wine all day.” or “Im a HOT MESS.” Instead, you’ll find this…

On sale at Target.com – Girls T

“My Dream is my Future”

and

“I believe I CAN.”

or ” One Amazing Kid.”

Something is getting horribly lost between the girls section and the womans and its impact is much bigger than jumping a few sizes in the T Shirt department.

I am one year away from being an empty nester which is probably why I have chosen this particular box of soap to camp on. This battle to fight. This mountain to climb.

This cause of which I speak has generational impact.

Welcome to my NOT so sweet, truth laced with grace Mothers day message.

Ladies of all ages – it’s time to come to grips with your…..

Awesomeness.

Yes – your amazing, talented, beautiful, gifted, wise, kind, courageous, brand of

awesomeness that make up all women.

This awesomeness comes in different packages, different personalities and different skill sets. It is not perfect but it loves itself despite the flaws. The imperfections are what keep it humble and able to empathize with the women coming behind it – they’ve been there. This awesomeness that shows itself when we show up in our role as adults to the children that so desperatly need us.

The adult my daughter needed when she was 3 is the same adult she still needs now at almost 22 to show up when life’s questions seem bigger then any answer. When any of my children send a text that simply says “Can you talk?”.. ..the last thing they need is to get an auto reply…

“Sorry, I Can’t Adult Today.”

For real.

Over the past 3 years I have had the privilege of leading groups of Junior High and High school students. It has brought me back to my youth ministry roots of years ago – when I lead but didn’t have children of my own. Coming back to the teen scene after having raised 3 children I have a heightened awareness of what these students need.

My Junior High Confirmation Class – never a dull moment:)

They need adults willing to Adult. period.

We have all heard the reports of dramatic increases in reports of anxiety and depression.

The CDC conducted a report in an Ohio county that reflects a national trend. “The Report also says more than 1 in 20 students attempted suicide during the same period while 1 in 10 had suicidal ideation.” Our own high school had an anxiety outbreak in our girls dorm last year when one diagnosed report spread like a cancer to many other girls. When my daughter asked me if there were people that had “anxiety” when I was in high school, I told her I honestly cannot even remember the word being used.

Many point to an increase in the use of social media, cyber bullying, the comparison trap that lulls us all in at rapid speed as we scroll aimlessly through our insta feeds. All of this has valid data to back it up and I 100% agree with the need to help children navigate this very uncharted world. I agree with the plan implemented by the county mentioned in the above report to support teens:

“Create protective environments.”

“Teach coping and problem-solving skills”

“Train community members to identify and suppose those at risk.”

I also believe though that there is another important if not equal area where the spotlight needs to turn. The enemy has convinced us that it’s not a big deal – it really doesn’t matter – that we can let anything fly out of our mouths with no adverse effects. This silent killer of hope you ask? It is the WORDS we as adults specifically female adults are allowing to come out of mouths, onto our fb posts and our clothing. The WORDS that have started as thoughts, beliefs in our hearts and minds that are blasting the air our impressionable children breath. I cannot help but think that the picture we paint of adult hood is making a considerable impact on our children’s fatalistic view of their future. Why would they believe they should ” Dream BIG!” when those dreams will certainly end on the couch with a glass of wine and the inability to “adult.”

Words have POWER –

When God created the world – he did it with WORDS – spoken out into the universe. Genesis 1:3 “and God SAID…. let there be…”

When Moses spoke the WORDS of truth from God he said to Israelites,”Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you – they are your LIFE. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” Deuteronomy 32: 46-47

The above narrative shows God asking parents to pass on words of LIFE to their children. What we are forgetting as adults is that our children are watching. They see our FB posts, they view our T shirts and the listen to our rants. They will believe what they see lived not what they are “told” is the right way. As we know – Much more is caught than taught.

The words we speak have power beyond our imagination. The words we speak regularly over our selves, our minds and our lives will become our reality.

The hot mess you claim is the hot mess you become. It’s a fact.

Now I realize that the flippant comments made about adulting, or being a hot mess may be intended to make us more relatable to those we are attempting to influence. At least thats what I hoped when I sat in on a panel of three college administrators that were leading a forum on the impacts of social media to a room full of college students. I did actually cringe when I heard the words leave the professors mouth, “I’m just a Hot mess.” The nervous laughter from the crowd made me wonder if this made a connection or fueled the internal question of the students, ” Is this what I have to look forward to? A life that always feels out of control in which the “hotmessyness” of college life doesn’t change once entering the world of adult hood?”

As I watch my 3 young adult offspring enter the world I am praying for mentors that will show them how to handle their next steps. I want adults that do not claim perfection but show signs of wisdom and confidence that have come from learning from their adult experiences. When they face adversity, I want them surrounded by peers that point them to the opportunity in their situation not the ones that tell them to run and hide, that this adult situation is clearly too much for them. When they achieve great success I want them to have wise counsel on how to humbly walk though the season of abundance. When they receive challenging phone calls I want them to have a tribe of adults surrounding them in a new, hard journey on which they may now need to embark.

Baby birds counting on their momma to Adult today.

I have a friend that had struggled with neck pain for many months. She recently was diagnosed with a tumor in her neck along her spine. She has had a pin inserted into her back to help hold her head up while her tumor is shrunk with chemo treatments. I am certain her adult journey is currently feeling a bit much. She has two teenage children and an amazing husband. She is in desperate need for her posse to show up in true confident, selfless ADULT fashion. No sitting on the couch for this crew. They are in full out battle mode. They need too because the reality is there will be days that feel too hard, too much. There will be seasons that will be too dark and too desperate. I know – I have walked those seasons myself. When I needed my inner group of friends to circle up and adult alongside me, often times stepping in to be the adult I needed.

The friend that stood by my side as the doctor spoke gigantic words regarding my sons prognosis. I was numb and she was clear. She made him repeat himself over and over until she knew I understood.

The friend that purchased all the fixings for my children’s easter baskets because my home was the hospital while the above sons health battle raged on.

The sister in law that took my baby out of my arms to snuggle while I sat in the other room with a cup of coffee and a book for a much needed break after a night with little sleep.

I needed these adults – the ones that showed up to their best adult life those days.

When we flippantly throw phrases around like I’ve discussed in this blog, and we start believing that we are what we speak we set ourselves up for a bleak future. One that tells us we cant possibly serve our neighbor or answer the phone of the friend that needs to talk.

When we claim we can’t ADULT, we claim we can’t live.

My prayer for this generation of adult women ( and men) is that we reclaim the truth of who we are. The WORDS we speak start as a belief in our hearts. Jesus reminds us of this in Luke 6:45 – “For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” What I’m hearing and seeing in women and many times myself … is that I need a heart check…. what’s really going on in there?

Some TRUTH:

We are told in Psalm 139 that each human, adults included are “fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful.” V. 14

That we believe in the vision and encouragement God has for all people “Be strong and courageous. Do NOT be terrified, do not be discouraged – for I will be with you where ever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (even into adulthood).

That we remember the adults that have gone before us and shown us the way. “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us and run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1

My 3 Favorite Adults in the making

Ladies – It. Is. Time.

It is time to burn the T-shirt.

It is time to delete the low bar facebook posts.

It is time to stop making light of the words we allow spoken over ourselves and the lives of the people around us.

You are so much more than a hot mess. SO much more. And you can adult today…

You really, really can.

Lets try this list of accolades on for size…

You are able and amazing.

You are beautiful and bold.

You are confident and courageous.

You are delightful and determined.

You are……… ( fill in the blank of all that you hope to be….)

If wearing that above list makes you feel slightly uncomfortable, like it just doesn’t quite fit….

If its a style new to you ….

you may be believing the lie that it is a list for all the other women out there and never for you…. the lie…

if this is so – I know a great girls t shirt section that may point you in the right direction.

YES!!!

I’m Believing in YOUR greatness – May you do the same.

Motherhood

4 thoughts on “When Motherhood Misses the Mark

  1. Sure glad mother Selma knew that strength for her difficult mothering task came from her loving God. In our later teens my siblings and I fully agreed that she had great parenting skills.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Beth,
    Thank you for your post. I truly believe and love the message you are sending. I am an adult youth leader and mom of two teenagers, who also struggles with some depression and burnout. I completely “get” that we need to show up for our kids and set an example of how to be confident in life, push on knowing that God has a plan for us, and that each of us can do ANYTHING through Christ who gives us strength. That said, I find myself not wanting to hide my struggles and also show my kids that it is ok to not be ok – to not give them the false impression that “adulting” means “never letting down your guard” or “not wrestling with life”. In fact, many times, it is exactly the opposite. There are days when I’m not ok – and the older my kids get, the easier it is for them to see right through any smokescreen I attempt to put up in attempts to protect them from my darkness. It is not always easy to know where to draw the line in my experience. Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kristen-First- thank you for this feedback! INDEED! I 100% agree and am a full advocate of truth and not painting the picture of a perfect life. As I indicated in the post- there have been seasons where I was not in my best adult space and needed others around me to show up. I’m so glad that you don’t feel a need to be untruthful about the hard days. Your honesty with your children is actually really Adult of you:) Being adult doesn’t mean days aren’t hard or that we can’t admit to them being hard. But…Creating a culture where “not being able to adult” is funny and flippant actually minimizes those of us who have real struggles like you mentioned above. I’m so thankful for the time you are investing in your own children and those in your youth ministry- I am certain you are a blessing. Prayers for you as you walk each adult day- the good, the hard and everything in between😊😊

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      1. And yes – on where to draw the line. It requires daily wisdom from our loving savior that promises to give it. I was very aware that many would read these words that were in a season of real, dark struggle. Those in a season where the reality is that hope seems far and the couch seems like the best answer to the question – how do i get through the day?. I have had very close family and friends that have been in this space. I think thats why Im so passionate about this topic . If those of us not in a deep struggle with depression are saying it’s too hard to adult what hope does that give those in the deep pit of despair.

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