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Excerpt from Everyday Holy by Melanie Shankle
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Excerpt from Everyday Holy by Melanie Shankle

06 May Posted by in Sneak Peeks | Comments Off on Excerpt from Everyday Holy by Melanie Shankle
Excerpt from Everyday Holy by Melanie Shankle

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We
do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit
himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

ROMANS 8:26

Now that I’m more than a decade down the motherhood road, I’ve realized that being a good mom doesn’t mean being a perfect mom. A perfect mom puts sand in a plastic box so her toddler can have a meaningful sensory experience and doesn’t care about the mess. A perfect mom plays board games for hours on end and makes hot chocolate bars with candy cane stir sticks and makes sure the milk is organic and the chicken nuggets are made only from chickens who were allowed to roam free in sunlit barns. She never loses her patience, never checks her text messages while her child is around, and is the president of the parent/teacher association while managing a Fortune 500 company before returning home to prepare a delicious, nutritious meal for her family.

In short, the perfect mom doesn’t exist. And if she did, we would all hate her.

The perfect mom is a unicorn, mythical at best. But a good mom is the velveteen rabbit, a little worn from use. And while I’m not confident in a lot of areas of my life, I’m confident that I’m a good mom—because what ultimately makes a good mom is the part that requires showing up. I’ve held back hair as she’s thrown up over the toilet and, I regret to say, all over me. I’ve wiped her bottom and her feverish forehead. I’ve stayed in the school parking lot long after she’s walked through the school doors, praying and hoping that today would be a better day. I’ve sat in the rain and the cold and in heat that rivals the surface of the sun to watch her play soccer. I’ve cried when she’s overwhelmed by joy, and I’ve cried
when disappointments have her down. I’ve yelled too much, lost my patience, and seen how many mornings I can get by with Frosted Flakes for breakfast. I’ve driven more carpools than I can count, attended Taylor Swift concerts, and spent many weekend nights with my house full of tween girls with high-pitched squeals who think cleaning up after themselves means putting half-empty soda cans under the bed. I’ve looked at my phone too often, set the clock ahead an hour so I could tell her it was time for bed, and pretended to have an upset stomach just so I could have a few minutes alone in the bathroom.

But I have no doubt that she knows she is deeply loved because I have faithfully shown up for the job for the last fourteen years. It hasn’t been perfect, it hasn’t always been pretty, and nobody is likely to turn our story into an award-winning movie. Being a good mom doesn’t really make the highlights reel because there is very little glamour in packing another peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. It’s just about being faithful with what has been entrusted to you for such a short time.

I could sob just thinking about it. It’s loving hard, laughing loud, crying when you are at your breaking point, hugging them tight, and having a good bakery on speed-dial because there isn’t any way you are going to be able to make a birthday cake like the ones the mythical unicorn moms post on Pinterest. And when I don’t know what to do or how to handle a situation (which is often), I get on my knees and pray for wisdom, knowing that even when I don’t know what to pray or what to ask for, the Spirit knows and is always interceding for me and for Caroline. Motherhood is messy, loud, beautiful, mundane, exhilarating, and gut-wrenching all at the same time.

But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melanie Shankle writes regularly at The Big Mama blog and is the New York Times bestselling author of three previous books, including Church of the Small Things and Nobody’s Cuter than You. Melanie is a graduate of Texas A&M and loves writing, shopping at Target, checking to see what’s on sale at Anthropologie, and trying to find the lighter side in every situation. Most of all, she loves being the mother of Caroline, the wife of Perry, and the official herder of two wild dogs named Piper and Mabel. The five of them live in San Antonio, Texas.

 

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