Have you ever had so much drama start your day that you just wanted to crawl under the covers and go back to sleep? I had one such morning not long ago:
I wake up excited because no one else is stirring yet, which means I might actually get in some quiet time. I sit on a barstool at the kitchen counter and open my Bible. I take a deep breath and start reading. Moments later, I hear my two-year scampering down the hall.
“Good morning, Mommy!” he says, holding his blanket and stuffed kitten.
He passes by my chair and I smell it. Just the aroma I wanted to start the day—poop in the training pants. I groan and head down the hallway for an early-morning clean up.
I walk back to the kitchen where my kindergartener awaits me at the kitchen table.
“Mommy, can I have Rice Krispies for breakfast?” she asks.
I pour the cereal and milk and place it in front of her. Instead of a thank you, I get an insult.
“Mommy, I said I wanted Lucky Charms!” she yells.
Before I have a chance to address her attitude, two-year-old then pees in his underwear all over the floor. Yay! Another mess to clean up.
I walk back to the kitchen to pack lunches. While pulling items out of the refrigerator, I look up and see two-year-old throwing a cup of water on his sister, who momentarily stops yelling at me to yell at him. I referee the fight and unroll paper towels to sop up yet another mess. (Just an aside, whoever invited paper towels must have been a mother.)
There’s no time to fix lunch, so kindergartener will have to buy it at school. But of course, I remember that she has no money on her lunch account.
I sit at the computer desk to add money when I hear screaming. I rush back into the kitchen and find two-year-old’s bowl and Lucky Charms strewn all over the floor.
“Mommy, they’re for Jakey,” he says, pointing to our Labrador who’s voraciously licking the floor.
I sigh. Could he not have just given the Lucky Charms to his sister?
Husband walks in, asks about a stack of papers and then snaps at me because he can’t find them.
In a flash, husband and kindergartener are out the door and I cry. I cry because I’m tired of being the one who always cleans up the messes. Poop, pee, water, spilled cereal, missing papers and hurt feelings had comprised my morning wake-up call. I look around and dishes are overflowing from the sink, a pile of laundry is on the couch waiting to be folded and groceries purchased yesterday are still on the counter.
I’m overwhelmed. Who will clean these? Me. Me. Me—Mommy the Maid, Mommy the Servant Girl. I often feel more like these than whoever I am or was deep inside. Who remembers Mommy and her feelings? No one. No one. No one.
Later while brushing my teeth, two verses pop into my head:
“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:26-28 NIV
“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:12 NIV
I realize that perhaps God calls us moms to clean up these messes, not because we’re the least, but because we’re great in His eyes. Perhaps it’s because we are favored that we get to clean up the diapers, spilled milk and cereal. Could it be an honor to be the servant—to get opportunities every day to be like Jesus?
In all my meeting the needs of others, perhaps my needs are being met. My desire to nurture, organize and love. Perhaps it’s just not at all what I thought it would look like—but it sure is a lot of what I always wanted. A husband to love, babies to raise and a house to keep.
I ask myself the same questions again: Who will clean these messes? Me. Me. Me. Who remembers Mommy and her feelings? Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.