If anything, I thought I was overqualified for my new job as a stay-at-home mom.
Instead, I’ve realized I might actually be deeply underqualified for the job. I lack the resourcefulness necessary to keep all the chores of our home humming along smoothly. I lack the patience necessary to keep my cool with the kids. I lack the perseverance to follow through again and again and again until my kids understand that I mean what I say. I imagine most stay-at-home moms would agree.
But I’ve spent the day wrestling with the troubling question: Am I enough?
I’ve already traded in the comforts and security that my income brought us in exchange for the idea that my being at home was somehow more valuable. But is it really?
Today, I found myself so burdened by the realization of all this has cost me that I started to cry. I asked Claire if I was a good mom? Was I doing a good job? She assured me I was the “best mom she ever had!” (ha!)
Through my tears, I told her that because I had quit my job, we weren’t going to be able to buy as many things anymore, that she probably wouldn’t have all the toys her friends had, and that we might never get to go to Disney World.
She hugged me for awhile, then pulled back.
“You shouldn’t have quit your job,” she said. “It’s okay if some days are Mommy days and some days are not.”
And I realized there is no way a four year old could appreciate the gift I’m trying to give her. I realized that Disney World probably does sound a lot more valuable than, well, me. Her impatient, tired, busy, bossy, occasionally snappy mother.
Am I enough?
I know what the world would tell me: Yes, yes of course! You’re trying your hardest, you’re doing no worse than anyone else, and that is enough.
But I prefer the honest answer I get from scripture: No, you’re not enough. You’re all the things you fear you are: impatient, lazy, distracted, anxious, caught up in the tedium of everyday life and missing the big picture. And your efforts to be better only work so well until you snap.
Is it absurd that I find this comforting? I like that I don’t have to pretend that it isn’t so bad. I like that I can embrace the truth that it really is that bad! I’m terribly underqualified for this job. I prefer honesty over platitudes.
So it was that I found myself curled up in prayer this afternoon, thanking God for the forgiveness that covers over my faults and for the Holy Spirit that provides the fruit of patience, kindness, self-control, and (among other things) peace. The peace that has been slowly seeping back into my soul all day.
I can laugh about it now, just a few hours later. I can answer my own question. I’m nowhere near enough. And if my four year old had a choice, she’d pick Disney World over a few more hours with me. I don’t blame her. Disney World sounds pretty good to me, too. Like I said, I prefer honesty.
Now I just need the courage to wake up tomorrow and be not enough… the honesty to admit it to myself and the Lord… and the humility to seek out the hope that is offered to sinners like me through the gospel. Not the hope that I’ll try harder and be better tomorrow, but the sure and certain hope that I am being transformed into Christ-likeness through the power of the spirit.