Grace for the Working Mom

“I don’t see how you do it.”

That’s the statement I get told so often. Juggling 4 kids and working, is a daunting, busy task.

My response? “Most of the time, I don’t do it well.”

So many times people see the end result. They see an event I was working on go well. They see my house looking nice and tidy when they come over. They see the kids all decked out in their church clothes, giving off the illusion that we are all put together when we arrive on a Sunday morning.

What they don’t see is that I was racing against the clock to get my event done… that meant that my husband and kids didn’t get the time or attention they deserved for the week. They did not see that we ate fast food 3 nights in a row, because I couldn’t remember to set out any meet from the freezer. They did not see that I hired someone to come clean the house and I consciously scheduled it right before I knew I would have company because I was so embarrassed by the state of my house. What they did not see was me yelling at my kids before we left for church because they were not moving fast enough for me, and that I had to ask my kids for forgiveness on the way to church.

The word that keeps playing in my mind in this busy season is…grace.

Grace for me. Grace for my husband. Grace for my kids. And grace for all the other mommas out there that are just trying to make it.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

This verse has been been on replay in my mind. Our days are short on this earth. I love my family, and I love the work that God has called me to do. So, how do I reconcile all the priorities I have with the little time that I have?

Sometimes, it means that my family does get the short-end of the stick, because for a couple of weeks the load at work is a lot to bear. But maybe, grace abounds from my family to me because they know that before and after this “season”, I’m actively present with them. Maybe grace abounds to my husband when he has the same struggle with busyness with work and he has to be gone several nights, because I know “this too shall pass”, and we’ll all be reunited again. Maybe grace is shown to my kids…because my busyness affects them too. Because perhaps I am mistaking their outbursts for defiance when maybe it’s a cry for attention in the moment. And maybe some grace can flow through our whole home, because being present in each other lives trumped a clean and tidy house this week.

In Andy Stanley’s Book Choosing to Cheat he says that everyday we make the decision “to give up one thing in order to gain something else. This is something we do every day. We don’t think of it as cheating. Especially when we are making what most people would consider a good trade.” Andy Stanley goes on to illustrate that he chooses to “cheat” his work sometimes when there is something at home that requires him to be there, and then other times he has to make the choice to “cheat” his family when a big initiative is going on at church and he has to work longer hours.

We all want to be the best spouse, parent, friend, co-worker, homemaker we can be. But maybe we can’t be all those things at exactly the same moment. Things have to give, things have to ebb and flow. Priorities and hats have to change sometimes hour to hour. Grace has to flow.

And, I’ll make you a deal…if we are to be at each other homes in the near future, I’ll look past the spilled milk on the floor if you ignore the tumbleweed of dog hair rolling past your foot.