Many of you I’m sure have seen or at least heard about plays or musical theatre, places where the souls of men and women are laid bare and there is triumph and tragedy and comedy in between. Each cast member has a role to play and they do it to the best of their ability waiting for the audience to clap with approval signifying they had done their job well, convincing.
I play a part too, as a mom to three children ages, 10, 7 and 4. I go about doing my “best work” trying to convince my children, my husband and myself, that I can do this housewife and stay at home mom thing. It’s my own little musical that also has bits and pieces of triumph, tragedy and even quite a bit of comedy. It’s a real drama piece that’s for sure! I try to hit all the high notes and nail my stage points -making lunches, keeping up with laundry, pick-ups, drop offs, treats for school parties, etc, etc. the list goes on. If you are a mom reading this then I know you know what I’m talking about.
Some moms make this thing, this role, look easy. I assure you I am not one of them. I’m the one that flies in and out like a whirlwind, trying to play the part of a role that I don’t know the lines too, nor do I even know what octave or key to hit in the song of motherhood – well, except when I lose it, then I’d probably be considered a soprano. I’d like to say I’m a hot mess, but honestly I feel like any last iota of hotness has left my body and instead I’m just a mess.
So today, I quit my job. I quit the “role” of motherhood and housewife because I wasn’t getting the applauses I wanted for doing pretty well at “winging it”. Last Minute Morgan’s I sometimes think of us, our motto being “we fly by the seat of our pants!” Sure that sounds an awful lot like comedy in the making but often it feels more like tragedy when we are all trying to get out the door in the morning. But my daughter said something that made me come undone and I simply quit my job. It was merely her perception, not necessarily a truth, but in her little 10 year old mind it was real for her. She felt as if my two whole hours of week of working out ( yes, I know I’m training to be the strongest women in the world and at that pace I’m sure I’ll get there in another 2,000 years) was taking precedence over her needs to be available for every little school function and assembly they had. When I couldn’t make one, on short notice of course, well…in her mind tragedy had just set in.
Well, I obviously didn’t play the Glenda the Good Witch part too well and came across more or less like the wicked step mom from Cinderella as I shouted out, “oh really? Lord forbid I have two whole hours a week to try to do my Pilates during the times YOU are at school! How does this exactly affect you?” I was merely trying to get some resemblance of my former B.C ( before children) core strength back after having it swish around like a bowl full of J-E-L-L-O for the last 10 years and get a better posture so my hips and neck didn’t hurt anymore. Of course I could have explained it more calmly I admit. However, did I mention in plays and musicals there is a lot of drama? And I surely didn’t want to disappoint. Heh, heh. Well anyway, shortly afterward, I announced to my kids that I quit! They would now being making their own lunches, folding and putting away their own laundry, making their own dinners and snacks and cleaning the house ALL BY THEMSELVES. Horrible, I know, but really I was only going to test that out for a weekend, not forever so don’t go and get all CPS on me here.
Yet, something surprising happened. After the shocked look on their faces, yes they too are good at their role, convincing little actors and actress I might add, and the “wha, wha, WHAT???” exclamations, they proceeded to complete their homework quickly. That’s a first right there! Then my two oldest, one girl and one boy went into the kitchen, fed the dogs, cleaned the dishes and proceeded to make chocolate chip pancakes for dinner. My daughter missed the ready made, just add water pancake mix, and proceeded to grab the bisquick, eggs, a measuring cup and all the other ingredients needed. My son grabbed the chocolate chips as my youngest son watched them mix up this concoction excited about the fact that they got to have “Sugar” for dinner.
Well off they went to their recipe and worked together pleasantly with no fighting. I could hardly believe it! The pancakes were a total success, of course I sat nearby to make sure nobody caught on fire or got hurt. But I stayed out of it completely…and if you know me, you will know that’s a hard thing for me to do! I’m a slowly recovering control freak.
They happily ate their pancakes even offering me some proudly. I congratulated them as I secretly thought, Oh no! Maybe they will get the idea in their head I’m not needed and maybe I just hosed myself! But that quickly passed, as I watched them clean up afterward and heard them expressing how tired they were and what hard work that was.
Then it hit me. I don’t have to play a “role” anymore because there is a whole cast in this family that can bring value. A leading lady or man is only as good as their cast mates, right? Nobody wants to watch just one person; the excitement is all the characters involved. But even better than that, I got to see that my little understudies were watching me all these years and performed making their dinner with precision. Maybe I wasn’t so bad at being an example after all. And, they all three decided that doing things around the house made them feel good but also made them appreciate the hard work mom does…well at least until they forget again. But I’m thinking I just might take this experiment a little further and let them do things like this more and more.
You know, letting go can actually bring about some pretty amazing results. I may have taught my kids something today but God has been trying to teach me “this” little lesson for a long time. I think I might just get it this time…well that is until I forget again. I wasn’t meant to be a lone cast mate, I was meant to be a part of something bigger, HIM. God just wants me to let go and enjoy the show sometimes instead of getting in the way and trying to play all the parts I think I’m supposed to juggle. Sometimes God is simply waiting for us to yell out “I quit”, so he can finally go “Thank God or well, uh thank me!” and then perform his best work while we stand by and watch. The results can be really surprising when we aren’t there in the middle of it complaining the whole time and just sit back and rest while he performs his miracles.
I think I just broke my own mold today -the mold of my own false expectations that I put on myself.
Think of something you can let go of and trust someone else or God to do. You may find the results surprising enough to become a permanent change in your home or life. We are all in this musical together so why not make melodies. Working together as a family (even if you aren’t related but maybe friends, or co-workers) is music to God’s heart as he watches his children in all their comedy and triumphs over tragedy. And as far as the mess part, well I love what William P. Young says in his book The Shack: “We are all a bunch a beautiful messes!” Things in life are messy sometimes but God created some of the best masterpieces from some of life’s messiest situations. So own your mess, whether hot, beautiful or whatever and remind yourself you are a masterpiece in the making…if you just let go!
Speaking of messes and averting tragedies, I need to make sure the kids, my little masterpieces, aren’t putting too much soap in the washing machine! See you after intermission.