Welcome to the Getting Past Perfect Book Club! We're reading Getting Past Perfect: How to Find Joy and Grace in the Messiness of Motherhood, by Kate Wicker.
First of all, can we talk about how much I love this book? Kate Wicker says all the things we hope someone would just say already, so we can stop thinking we’re crazy for having totally natural, totally acceptable thoughts and reactions to the challenges of motherhood.
In this chapter, Wicker talks about why it’s okay not to love every single minute of parenting.
I don’t know that there’s anything I love absolutely every minute of, even the things I generally love to do.
Running feels good, but sometimes it hurts. I love to knit, but when I make a mistake, it can take some time and muttered frustrations to set things right again. I love my husband, and we’ve been together for nearly half our lives at this point, but that doesn’t mean it’s all been peachy and easy.
Why should our relationship to motherhood be any different?
Anyone who’s been there—heck, anyone who knows someone who’s been there; so, everyone—knows that parenting is hard.
You give up a lot. You have to make tough choices.
And in the end, you don’t have control over how things turn out.
But if we’re doing the whole parenting thing well, that’s not why we’re doing it. We’re doing it for love, and not the Hallmark kind.
I love that in all things, Wicker points us back toward God. We cannot be parenting only for our kids’ own good, nor for our own good. We have to keep pointing ourselves, our kids, and our families back toward God if we want to do this thing right.
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This line from St. Augustine of Hippo’s Confessions has been in my mind recently (even though, I admit, I have not yet read Confessions; but it’s on the shelf, so that’s a step):
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
When my husband and I got married, our priest made the point that our job—our vocation—was to help each other get to Heaven. As our family grew, that charge extended to our children: we are to help them get to Heaven and vice versa.
God has given us all to each other according to His plan. It goes both ways.
This parenting thing is as much—if not more—about my relationship with Him as it is about my relationship with my kids. When I lose sight of that, things get all kinds of jumbled.
How I love this line:
“Being a mother may not always or ever be the source of your joy, but like Mama Mary, it very well may become the cause of your joy.” (p. 27)
Today I recommit myself to God first, my husband second, and then my children.
That might sound crass or self-serving or who-knows-what-else by today’s standards, but I’m not ultimately concerned with today’s standards.
To give my kids the best parts of me, I need God first in my life. When that’s in order, everything else works better.
And even when it does hurt, even when it is hard, I know that it’s all worth it. I’m on the right path. My heart is resting where it ought to be.
To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:
- What part of motherhood are you not loving right now? What makes that tough to admit? Whose standards are you applying to the situation—the world’s or God’s?
- What are your true, honest expectations of motherhood—perfection? Holiness? Or something else?
Here are my answers to these questions:
- There’s a lot of driving in my life right now, which means I’m not moving as much as I’d like. My two-year-old is often literally along for the ride, which she’s not crazy about. I can lament feeling stiff and being unable to read her mind, or I can see the time in the car as an opportunity to chat with God more, both on my own and with my kids. I can make the most of the time I do have to workout, rather than sitting still more on the couch when the opportunity arises.
- If motherhood is my vocation, it’s not about this moment or this day; it’s about Heaven and living today in a way that will lead me there.
Feel free to comment on your own thoughts from this week's reading, your impressions and reflections, and/or your answers to these questions.
Next week, we'll cover Chapters 3 and 4. For the complete reading schedule and information about our Book Club, visit the Getting Past Perfect Book Club page.
Copyright 2017 Lindsay Schlegel
About the Author
Lindsay Schlegel is a daughter of God, wife, mom, editor, and speaker. She’s the author of Don’t Forget to Say Thank You: And Other Parenting Lessons That Brought Me Closer to God and host of the podcast Quote Me with Lindsay Schlegel. Lindsay seeks to encourage, inspire, and lift others up to be all they were created to be. Connect with Lindsay at her website, LindsaySchlegel.com.