Did you know that today is National Lazy Mom’s Day? Apparently, my family didn’t exactly get the memo. But, just so you know, I am fully expecting that at any moment a Sprinkles Cupcake crew is going to pull into my driveway, Publisher’s Clearing House style, and tell me that I’m receiving a personal Cupcake ATM on my lawn. Filled with gluten free red velvet. One that also accidentally dispenses cash along with the cupcakes. Have you heard about these? I was sad when I saw that it was Nashville who was getting one, but then after a little more investigative research I saw that HOUSTON has one.
But, since that is a little far…that won’t do me any good today on my holiday. Maybe this blog actually will go viral instead of my near miss that I talked about yesterday, and the CEO of Sprinkles will discover that I am truly their biggest g-free red velvet advocate and make me their spokesperson. I did get a degree in talking. Although I’m pretty certain that is not what they called it on my diploma. Maybe Sprinkles will pick up the bill, install it before school’s out for the day, and a mystery man will walk my fresh cupcake from the street to my door in that special brown box. And then in a surprise twist, he will reveal that he is also skilled in Swedish Massage, and that will just be convenient. While I’m getting my massage, this mystery massage therapist will tell me that all of this was just one big cover up—the real truth is that he is an undercover scout from Fixer Upper. And Chip and Jo-Jo have decided to expand their magic to my place beneath the pines. And they will start by finishing the trim that we still have left to do on our flooring project. See the books holding the trim to the wall? Yeah, that is how we roll.
Yep, that would be the cherry on top of my #lazymomsday. I have a super idea, let’s start a change.org petition and see if Obama will help us white out all of the other random holidays and pencil this one in right on through Mother’s Day. Then, Mother’s Day can take it from there. I think we can trust her capable hands. After all, #momslivesmatter, at least 2 of the 365 days of the year. But until then, you can find me lounging in my mis-matched pajamas, cooking my own breakfast, and telling my dog to “Go chew on your socks!” for only the 99th time.
Last week was the first week of school and it was a tough one. As usual, we woke up later than we should’ve. I had these grand plans the night before the first day to get up at 6am sharp. And that promptly went out the window when I was just going to sleep at 1:30am. Six o’clock was so not happening. When my alarm went off the next morning, I hit snooze no less than five times, and then we all ran around the house like chickens with our heads cut off. And every day for a week I’ve scolded myself to do better, but I’m beginning to think that my body is physically allergic to the mornings.
We live in a small rural town without many options when it comes to education. No fancy private schools anywhere around, not that we could afford that option if we had it. Over the summer I thoroughly investigated our options. We have a handful of small districts that surround our larger district and a local charter school. One of the main reasons we were looking around was because one of my little boys really struggled last year, and we thought a smaller environment might be the solution to what was a very long, hard year for him. Honestly, I really couldn’t get a grasp on what God wanted me to do with my kids. I didn’t feel like homeschool was the option, but I looked into it. I had heard mixed reviews on the charter school, so I did my homework there and decided it was not right for us. I talked to people about other school districts, but I really couldn’t find anyone at any district who was raving about their school. I felt this tug to choose to stay with our local public school, even though the landscape was changing and I wasn’t sure what to make of all the bad press it was garnering.
So, I prayed about it. Worried about it. Talked to myself out loud in the grocery store like a crazy person about it. And one day in my prayer time I got real with Jesus. I told Him I needed Him to speak to me. I needed a word. From Him. About public school. There was something in my mind that felt so wrong about choosing a school district that a lot of people were choosing to leave. And it’s not just the local crowd leaving. I can scroll through my Facebook feed and I have so many friends ditching public school. With them in mind, I tried for months to put on my homeschool hat. I wore it around like my favorite ball cap and after a while, it just didn’t fit. I contemplated our charter school—even dually registered our kids, but after awhile, that just felt wrong too. But, every time I would say out loud “We are going to our district school” it felt both right and wrong all at the same time. Right because I thought God was telling me that that was the way and to walk in it. Wrong in that, choosing public school made me feel like a bad mom. I see clearly all the bad coming into our public schools from really ridiculous curriculum to sex education material. I see it for what it is. Public school is struggling. And so are the administrators and the teachers that work so hard to make our public schools a safe place to learn.
That night after I prayed I read this from my new Internet friend Lori. After I read her words a peace literally washed through my whole body. There was someone else choosing to stay. Not being forced to stay in public school, but choosing to stay there. I finally felt true peace with our choice to go to public—to go to public school in this place beneath the pines. This place isn’t perfect, but it’s ours.
My friend Francie always talks about bringing Heaven to Earth, and I never thought that I would hear her words echoing in my mind concerning my kids schooling. But, that is exactly what my mission is in this town, should be all of our missions—to bring heaven to earth. To be the hands and feet of Jesus to every teacher, administrator, and kid in your school district. He reminded me of all the children, sweet children, some with good homes and some with bad ones. Some that can barely afford one school uniform from Wal-Mart. We live in a school district where a few have plenty, but many kids come to school hungry, and hurting, and angry. It’s hard to worry about your ABC’s when you don’t know if your dad is going to trade your meal money for drug money, or if you are worried about going to the principal’s office for a dress code violation when you were just lucky enough to have a dress to begin with. This is the reality in so many public schools.
There has been a lot of anger in our community this past year. Much of it directed at our school officials. And I do think there is a time for that. A time to speak real concerns. And I see good people that have done that. But, now the voices are just noisy and unrelenting. And at some point the points have been made and the petitions drawn up and you just have to decide that it’s time to rise. To rise above the noise and know that you were heard, and then close your mouth and get boots on the ground and work for the change you want. Change starts with us. With me. With you. Sometimes, you have to be that solution. This is a good town, with good people. But, talk is cheap. And if we really want our public schools to get better, then we have to remember the old adage that, “actions speak louder than words.” Who’s with me?
A few weeks ago, I thought long and hard about ignoring the mirror for a while. Oh you’ve seen those social experiments before. Like this gal, who literally avoided a mirror for an entire year before she got married.
She gets quite the prize for such a feat. So, it all started one day last week when I said hello to someone in town that technically should have known who I was…but they didn’t. They didn’t recognize me. ‘Oh come on’, I told myself…’It’s been years, did you really expect her to know you?” yes. yes. yes.
And then my mirror began to taunt me.
‘You aren’t what you used to be.’
‘Is that a gray hair? Sweet mother…that IS a gray hair.’
‘Man, if you could only lose that last 20 lbs of baby weight. Aren’t your kids seven?!?!?!’
‘You should be sooo embarrassed—she didn’t. even. recognize. you.’
Ouch. I sat on the bed and cried my eyes out. But, the truth was…that wasn’t the first time I had passed a mirror and wanted to crack it with a baseball bat. I had felt the same way the week before…and the week before that….and the week before that.
And you know we totally have plenty of baseball bats to accomplish this mirror-cracking feat.
And last week…it struck me (no not the bat)—that this cycle of self-loathing, this feeling inadequate stuff‚—has actually been brewing for years. Simmering beneath the surface of my psyche like an unwanted disease. See, nobody talks about the transition from teenager to womanhood as being a hard one on your self-esteem. We get our fill of that kind of talk when we transition from childhood to puberty. But, see that period for me was a welcomed transition. It was fun. I got used to finding that girl in my reflection. Then came adulthood, and I started asking, “Where did that girl go?” And if I were a betting woman, I have a feeling a lot of women are struggling in this place with me.
And you know what—I’m a bit sick of this. I’m not going to carry this anymore. I’m dropping it off at Jesus’ feet and I’m walking away. Today, let’s blow the lid of this thing—these degrading feelings we have toward ourselves. Let’s embrace the girl in the mirror and start treating her with the respect she deserves.