"Above the Water" by Kelly Pease (CatholicMom.com) Photo by Chen Irene (2017), via Stocksnap, CC

I’d love to be able to offer some wise insight into the faith or a life-altering tip to struggling moms out there scouring the Internet for ways to cultivate a better family life. But, let’s be honest. Sometimes success looks like the fact that you’ve barely got your head above water. That’s what these days look like for me, anyway.

Every now and then I take a step back and look at my own life and try to remind myself that this is a lot. I see other people seeing me as I struggle to get all my kids into the van (loading and unloading kids is the bane of my existence . . . WHY is it so difficult???) And I’m reminded that what’s become normal for me in raising kids and being a mom is, in fact, very hard. Not without so much joy, but very, very hard.

I have hopes stirring in my heart and things I’d like to pursue, but there literally isn’t enough time in the day. It’s like I can see glimpses of what might be down the road in my life, but this isn’t the season for that. This is the season for planting seeds and nurturing them—in countless, often-mundane, push-your-patience-over-the-edge-kinds-of-ways. And that’s okay.

Recently I had a thought that teenage years into young adulthood are a time of trying on different selves. It’s like we put on all these different elements of what we think might make us important, worthy, or happy. But parenthood is a time of shedding all that. It’s total refinement. Because you could have all the money, success, and fame in the world and it won’t make a bit of difference in your ability to be a parent. Talk about leveling the playing field.

In comes Christ, surfacing the reality of why vocation makes us holy. Because in striving to live vocation well, there is nothing to cling to but His mercy. I don’t care how beautiful you make your Instagram or how well your two-year old can write his name, in the end we all only have the one, single, same hope of living this life well—God’s mercy.

[tweet "In striving to live vocation well, there is nothing to cling to but God's mercy."]

I’ve had some brief seasons in the midst of this journey so far where I felt like “thriving” was a thing. And I know that those times will roll around again. But right now it’s letting my daughter eat the cookies she found in her backpack for breakfast on the way to school because I didn’t get a chance to feed her anything before we left. It’s putting my son in a pair of girl’s glittered knock-off Keds because his shoes are who-knows-where and I think this greasy pizza place probably has a no-shoes, no-service policy.

So, if you are with me on this—let me give you a gift today, a little secret you might want to embrace in your own life. I’m the queen of the underachievers. School projects, picture-hair, the yard, the backseat of my van…these are a few of the can’t-evens of my current life. But I wear my underachiever badge with pride because I’ve found so much freedom for myself in it.

See it’s like this: I’ve built an invisible wall around the things that matter to me: My marriage. The peace in my home. The security of my children. The joy in our family (to name a few). And everything inside that wall, I will guard with my life. I’ll pour my heart and soul into it. It’s how I evaluate everything I do or consider doing: does this practice, activity, commitment, relationship (etc.) uphold, enhance and honor what’s inside the wall? Or does it distract and disrupt? And that doesn’t just mean choosing the things that are fun and easy or shirking off the work. Maintaining what’s inside the wall is not for the faint of heart and even in those things I fail regularly. So again I say…God’s mercy.

But for everything outside the wall…(and you might want to tape this to your forehead or tattoo it on your arm)…good enough is good enough for me. And THAT is how we embrace this messy, crazy, wild, don’t-stop-til-you-drop-party that is life with little kids. Maybe one day I’ll have all their hair in place and the backseat of the van will be shining like the top of the Chrysler Building. But, in this season of life, a head above water is a job well done! Happy treading!


Copyright 2017 Kelly Pease