I went last night to see the movie "Moms' Night Out." The premise is that an overworked mommy of young kids decides, with her husband's encouragement, to take a night off to go out and have fun with her friends. Through a series of completely unbelievable circumstances, all H-E-double hockey sticks breaks loose and the rest of the movie is spent laughing as they bumble their way through trying to unwind the chaos.
It's a Christian film, which I honestly, generally don't like, on account that they're usually poorly produced, poorly acted, overly preachy, and patently cliche. And I can't even say that this movie isn't those things. Hands down it IS better than all of its sister movies from the same group (the folks who brought us Fireproof, Facing the Giants, etc). Maybe it's because I'm a mom of a young child and I empathize with her exhaustion. But overall, I enjoyed this movie very much, and would recommend it.
Sort of spoilerish note--my mom was put off by the trailer because she thought the missing baby story line would be stressful. The baby is never missing or in any danger. The moms don't know where the baby is but the audience does, and he's safe. The movie is purely comedic, not stress at all.
The movie has your to-be-expected "hang in there" encouragements for moms in the trenches. If you're looking to be surprised, this isn't the film for you. If you want to enjoy some laughter and maybe be encouraged, you'll probably enjoy this.
But as I was sitting there watching this, I was struggling through some things I feel often as the mom of an only child. This mom is completely overwhelmed. The kids are always running in different directions. Once she gets one under control, another one is making trouble somewhere else.
I have it pretty good. Matthew is a pretty good kid, who is usually obedient, who sleeps well, and who still takes naps. Therefore, sometimes I feel like I don't have the right to get to the point of exhaustion or frazzle that moms with two, three, four or whatever kids get to. I find myself feeling like I haven't earned the badge yet that gets me into the mom society.
And some of those feelings are good. I don't think it is good to let ourselves get to the point of overload and frazzle, and I think only the Lord can keep us from that. So I think it's good that I am cautioned by those feelings. But sometimes, motherhood is hard, and I find it hard to ask for help because most everyone else has a heavier work load in that department than I do. I only have one child. How hard can it be? If it is hard, am I doing something wrong? So I wrestle with that.
A lot of that probably comes from still feeling pretty unresolved about only having one child this side of Heaven. Lately, those feelings have been more raw than usual. I see Matthew playing with other kids and he's so social and I want so desperately for him to have a sibling and it kills me that I can't give that to him. Three friends announced pregnancies this week, which brought that rawness to the surface. I'm discovering all over again how hard grief is and how much it can surprise you. I'm sure the proximity to Mother's Day compounds it, too. Even with a child, Mother's Day is hard. Not as hard as it was, but still hard.
I remember all those times I judged parents struggling with secondary infertility with secret thoughts of, "at least you have one!" And it's good to remind myself of that. As far as WHO my child is, I am the most blessed mom in the world. Matthew really is amazing. And I never want him to feel like he isn't good enough to satisfy my need and want to parent. But so much of my need and desire is on Matthew's behalf, as much as on my own.
I struggle through the same old thoughts. If children are a heritage from the Lord, a reward for the righteous, then what are we doing to exclude ourselves from that pronouncement and how can we fix it? On the other hand, God designed my husband the way he did from birth, before he committed any sin. He made Him that way for a reason and God doesn't make mistakes. Why do I still find myself wondering if God really loves me when I know, earnestly and empirically, that He does? Choosing to believe Truth in spite of my feelings is hard, and exhausting. It's a deliberate placement of one foot in front of the other, toward the cross, away from pity and doubt. I am thankful that I can cast this on Him, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
I ache tonight too for everyone struggling with Mother's Day. If you've lost your mom, or a child, or both, or if you long to be a mom but are not, I am so sorry. Nothing can make this day easier and I wish it could. I'm sorry. I hurt for you, and I pray for you. I pray that you will feel comfort today.
The Pastor who married us, who himself is childless, wrote this today:
For those who have a tough time on Mother's Day, you are right to want things to be as they ought. Do not feel guilty for wanting it, gently disregard the words of those who don't understand, know that others do, and receive a measure of peace that surpasses all understanding.
The people we adopted Matthew from asked if they could visit Matthew. I've been praying and seeking counsel and examining my heart. Nothing challenges whether true forgiveness is in your heart more than being asked to make yourself vulnerable again to people who hurt you. Adding parenting to the mix adds another element to it because it's not just me I'm putting in that position. I want so desperately to do the right thing by the Lord, and the right thing by Matthew, and the right thing by them, and the right thing for our family, and it's just paralyzing to make a decision as to what that is. No matter what decision we make, something could go wrong, something could upset the apple cart again, something could impact Matthew in a way different than we wish it would. I am thankful that God's grace is sufficient for me and that His power is made perfect in my weakness, that He knows the plans He has for us, that He loves us, that He will never leave us or forsake us, that He will give us wisdom if we ask, and that He has forgiven us and removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. Figuring out how to live that way, to demonstrate that extravagant grace and love to your child and to everyone else, is a faith-building journey. I don't have it figured out, even a little bit. But God does. Lord, give us ears to hear!