Jesus Doesn’t Do the Dishes

Today I want to talk about Jesus.  Christians.  Moms.  Motherhood in 2013.

I had a poignant moment at the pool at the beginning of summer.  I have been wanting to write about it, but…I just didn’t know how to place it.  Or WHY to share it.

I was at the pool with all four of the boys in early June.  At this point Sawyer was about 5ish months old and still nursing pretty frequently.  Somehow, by the grace of God my boys sensed the ‘nursing at the pool anxiety’ I had at that time and they were behaving exceptionaly well this day.

It was the beignning of pool season and VERY crowded, so I hunkered down my 73 bags and a Snap-n-Go stroller in the only free chair I could find.  I slathered them all in sunscreen (non-organic by the way….it seems like everyone I know uses organic stuff.  I should spring for that.  Ugh.  I’m so cheap).

So, we all headed to the pool.  My oldest headed to the diving board and I sat poolside with the baby and watched the 4 year old and 2 year old play.  I soon noticed all the mommies around me.  99%of them were first time moms.  There was one group in particular that seemed to be on a play date there.  I think there were 4 moms.  Their kids were all 22 months and younger.  Two of them had a toddler and a baby.  About the same distance apart in age as each of mine.  Which, if you’ve never taken a 2 year old and baby to a pool alone, you’ve never lived 😉

There was one mom in the group that had a little boy who kept running off from the pool.  She’d run after him.  Trying her best to keep her cool.  Her friends just kind of ignored it.  Over and over and over and over again this happened.  He’d run off to the deep end or the splash pad and she’d run after him.  He was LOVING this game.  Momma, not so much.  I could see the wear and frustration on her face.   She was yelling.  Eventually broke down and was grabbing him vigorously.  I imagine I have looked like that in my own home around 3pm on certain days–but the emotions I felt while watching her play out a ‘hard day’ of motherhood in front of friends at the pool.  In a swimsuit.  With her crying infant in her water sling.  My heart was leaping from my chest.  I wanted to jump in and help.  Somehow.

However, I was called to my chair to nurse the baby and I’d flash the whole joint if I had gotten up.

I watched her friends.  None of them offered to help.  None of them gave words of encouragement.  Not that they were mean.  I think they didn’t want to say anything hurtful or judgemental.  Any comment to a mommy in those situations can be so uncomfortable.  When your kids are behaving and hers are not.  If you’ve been a mom long enough, or out in public enough, you know the shoe can easily be on the other foot.

Eventually the play group ended and those ladies headed back to their beach chairs in the shade right next to me.  They all quietly chatted while the one mom was still running after her son during this pool break and keeping him out of the pool.  She finally drug him back to her chair (immediately next to me–still nursing) and took off his swim trunks only to realize he had pooped in his swim diaper.  Then he ran off poop running down his legs, her running after him.  Her frustration was through the roof.  She was still trying to keep it together and was being so sweet.  Her friends just went about their business.  Pretending not to notice.  I probably would have done the same.  You don’t want to make her feel like you’re staring.

She looked over to me and said…”this is so disgusting, I’m so sorry–I have to change him right here..do you mind?”  “Of course not, ” I said–“I’ve been there.”

I didn’t want to say too much.  You can tell from my blog I’m a word vomit kinda girl and I have to be careful most days not to scare people off.

As her friends packed up–and left her–with just a quick good bye, the tears started to fall.

“Are you ok?”  I asked.

“No.  This is just SO hard.”  she said.  “I can’t even visit with my friends.  All the other kids play nicely.  Mine is running around every second.  He seems so different and behind.  They have girls and I have 2 boys who are so difficult.  I just want him to LISTEN!!!!”

She was very much crying and venting.  Luckily I was able to de-latch my infant and listen.

I shared my own mothering story of how my oldest son was THE SAME.  It was so hard.  I’d go to playgroups and all the kids would play nicely and mine would be NUTS, screaming, tantruming.  I told her how embarrassed I was and how I felt so alone.  She nodded.

Then I told her–it gets easier.  Your two boys are at such difficult ages.  Both less than 2 years old.  I told her how good of friends they’d be.  How her oldest would eventually help her and unbuckle himself out of the car seat.  Slowly but surely, they’ll grow up.

I couldn’t believe it, but that was all I said, just real quick.  I headed to the pool and she seemed better.  As I turned around a few minutes later and she was walking out with her stroller piled high, I could see she was still crying.  Hard.

I felt weird.  I didn’t really want to intrude, but Jesus pulled me out of that pool.  Baby in hand.  Dragging my toddler that couldn’t swim with me.  Walking across the hot cement.  “Hey!”  I yelled after her.  I walked up quickly and gave her a big wet hug.  My nursing boobs hanging outta my suit and all.  “It gets easier. I promise.”  I whispered.  “Thank you. Thank you so much.”  Then I told her to go home and put on a cartoon for them and relax.  She seemed better.  And I went back to the pool.

In that moment.  There He was.  Jesus.  His love and peace and grace.  I didn’t quote Bible verses to her.  I didn’t invite her to church.  Had it been ME that would have acted, then maybe I would have.  In my word vomit glory.  However, it was a God moment.  He was there.  I could feel it.

Jesus doesn’t do the dishes.  WE do.  WE are his vessels.  We are the messengers.  Fishers of men.  We have to pull up our big girl panties and fasten those yoga pants and work for the Glory of God.

It seems that in 2013 ALL YOUR FRIENDS are ‘there for you’ on Facebook.  Twitter.  Ready to recommend advice on Pinterest.

It’s so easy to be friends and Christians online.

Jesusdoesn'tdo thedishes2

A quick ‘like’ or ‘share’ and bada bing bada boom.  Jesus loves you.  Same with this blog.  Perhaps it’s a ministry of some sort–but I still should be out there.  Helping.  Loving.  Giving.

Especially we mothers.  That saying–‘It takes a village…”  You know the one.  It’s so true.  However, it applies to mothers too.  It takes a village to teach a mother the ins and outs of the business.  Mothering is tough work.  Especially when each client is different and it takes like…a LIFETIME to master the craft!

If your friend has just had a baby–take her a meal.  Or send a gift card.

Offer to come to her house and just clean her kitchen and watch the kids so she can shower.

Maybe she vented her baby never sleeps.  As awkward and inconvenient as it may be–maybe ask if you could come by and take her kids to the park so she could nap with the baby.

Help her pack up her stroller if your kids allow you to at the pool.

If her son keeps running off from the group.  Take your kid and move to the splash pad.  FOR HER.  We should pull ourselves away and notice those that need help.

Anything.

It’s so easy to say..”I’ll pray for you”.  And really, sometimes that is ALL we CAN do.  And that’s ok.  But, if you can, do more.  Show them Jesus.

I know I NEED to do more.  I WANT to do more.  But it’s hard.  Do they really WANT help?  Should I?  Will this be awkward?

Do it anyway.

I think an added bonus will be teaching our children service to others, and the world could always use a few more servants in the name of Christ.

I hope this wasn’t too preachy.  I’m really preaching to myself.  I love you, and Jesus loves you too!

Comments

  1. Love this post! Preach away, girl! And whatever you do…don’t apologize for this powerful message!…ever.

    • I second what Teri says. Many times I’ve been those other moms trying to decide what to do to help. This was very encouraging especially now that my kids are older (all over 5 yrs) and I can testify that it does get easier!

  2. Brandy Yell says:

    Thank you for sharing, this is beautiful!

  3. Totally awesome and I agree.

  4. Oh my gosh! How I so wish I had you in my life when my second child was a toddler. She screamed CONSTANTLY and grew into a toddler who was NUTS too … the only kid screaming and epically melting down in a group. I had no support. Instead I had a CHILDLESS woman at church tell me my kids were “totally out-of-control.” Come to find out, my child was speech delayed and has trouble picking up on social cues. Now she is almost five, and thanks to much work, prayer, and therapy has improved dramatically. And now my mother-in-law informed my husband two days ago that my daughter’s issues (which have been diagnosed, monitored, and treated by about 17 different people, are solely the result of my lazy and ineffectual mothering. I want to scream.

    • Kristin, do your best to let your mother-in-law’s issues remain her issues. I’ve been where you are… get the help you need with a therapist or whatever it takes. But, DON’T let your mother-in-law get the best of you!!

  5. I love this! I shared it on Facebook. I always try to be encouraging and supportive of my friends with children. I have two boys 23 months apart and they are WILD. The younger one was THAT baby at the pool running all over and it was stressful. Instead of a positive word, I get stares and comments about controlling my kids. I’m criticized more than encouraged but I know I’m doing the best I can. I’m young and still learning, just like my sons are. Thank you for posting this. I will always remember to continue being the support I wish I had. I’m not doing it for myself, I’m doing it because I am a Servant.

  6. This was beautiful. It gave me chills! Believe it or not, some day, that same mom will look back at those days as the easy times. Alison – Mother of 2 teenagers – notyouraverageal.com

  7. My son, who is now 21 which lets you all know we both lived :), when he was younger was VERY active. It’s how I knew when he wasn’t feeling well because that was the only time he was calm. We were at church, my “number” was flashed to get him out of Sunday school (he was just around 2). Wanting to listen to service, I took him with me and we sat in the back so he wouldn’t be too disruptive. Well, he got up and started running. I jumped up after him, managed to trip over the chair and WHAM, landed on my knees, right there, in the aisle, in front of the usher. I jumped up, grabbed my son and sat back down. Of course, when the usher asked if I was OK I said yes, I’m fine. But I wasn’t. I just wanted him to stay in class. I was always getting paged. I was “the parent” that had “that boy” and it seemed everyone knew.

    Over time I learned he wasn’t “that boy” he was JUST a boy. They are active, CREATED to be active. It is hard to know how to respond when around people whose kids are misbehaving. But, I agree with Liz, offer help. And, let mom’s know that it really isn’t “just their kid” because we all have those days.

  8. Talking it is easy… walking it is harder. You not only walked the walk, you nailed it! Great job!

  9. I can so relate, I think the exact same situation happened to me at the pool Just reading this brought back feelings of anxiousness! What a blessing you were to that mother. Good for you! I would have loved for someone to say that to me at that time in my life.

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