It is a beautiful, sunny day in North Carolina, and I imagine myself sitting down with you for coffee. Actually, scratch that. It is a warm 75 degree day, we don’t want coffee. We are going to sit outside in the breeze and drink a $4 Bellini together :). Yes that is what we’re going to do. I mean, let’s be honest. That is cheaper than a coffee anyway and we could all use a little something to make us relax a bit and let our hair down.
If we were on a
coffee date Bellini hangout, I would ask about your life. Where have you felt the most free to be yourself lately? Where have you been thriving? What are you learning? Where are you struggling? I would have a huge smile on my face, because I love hearing about your life and learning from you.
After some laughs and who knows, maybe some tears (depending on what kind of day you’ve been having), you might ask about me.
I’d tell you that I’ve been learning to take some steps back and just be quieted lately. I’ve been experiencing the freedom to not have to prove myself all the time. I have a tendency to jump into as many ministry things as possible and recently I realized that I have spent about 7 years of my life trying to prove myself, my faith, my ability to lead and do ministry. And I’m tired. I’m realizing that I don’t have to do these things. That is ok to be “just” a mom. (I would do the air quotes around “just” to imply that we often act as if motherhood is not enough. Putting a “just” in front of motherhood would be sarcasm. Motherhood is a big job, great honor, and huge ministry). Being a mother is my calling right now. I do not need to additionally lead a bible study and take a leadership class and write a book and lead a retreat and speak at this conference and that women’s event and write thought provoking blog posts.
And so I had taken a little break from writing (among other things) for a little while, which was kind of ironic considering what ended up happening with my “In Defense of the iPhone Mom” post going viral.
You smile because you are curious about what ended up happening with that and what that experience was like for me :).
I tell you what, it was a roller coaster ride. An exciting one at times, and a discouraging one at others. You know, it’s crazy. When I wrote that blog post, I had in mind my typical 100 or so readers, most of whom I know. I was thinking of my own mom friends, who are all incredible mothers that constantly fear they are not enough and are not doing enough. These women needed to hear that message. I had no idea almost half a million people would end up reading that post, or that Bob Joe McGrumpyPants in some corner of the country was going to read it. I had no idea that people who have never met me would read that post through whatever lens his or her life experience has lent them.
And oh man, the negative feedback and comments that came in were really hard for me. Not because I’m so sensitive and can’t take criticism (although there is definitely some of that), but primarily because I felt so misunderstood, misread, and unknown. Many people (I’m thankful and humbled) were blessed and encouraged by my post. But others assumed things about me and drew conclusions that were unfair.
But perhaps the strangest part of this whole thing was having that post re-blogged or discussed on other blogs. I am notified any time there is a link to my blog somewhere, so I can see it. On the one hand, I was blown away and encouraged. Seeing that people thought what I had written about was worthy of re-posting or discussing with their own readers was simply a sweet and humbling gift. But then there were a few places where I felt my words were taken to mean something that I never intended for them to. I remember walking out into our living room one day and telling my husband, “I kind of feel… taken advantage of.” Here are my words, my mind, and my heart on my own little space on the internet, and now people are taking them and using them however they want to.
I understand that is how the internet works. Once we put something out there on cyberspace, it is available to the entire world! Anyone can read it and use it however they want. I just had never really experienced that before, my words had never spread so far.
I never intended to start a war against the woman who wrote the original iPhone mom post. I thought I had made clear that there is at least some validity to what she was saying. I never wanted to be the leader to one side of a mom war. As a matter of fact, that is part of why I wrote the post that I did. As a way of saying, “come on, give each other a break.”
I never intended to promote selfishness and this idea that motherhood should be just as much about ourselves as it is about service and sacrifice in love.
I never meant to communicate that we should just neglect our children and indulge in technology, nor did I ever mean to hurt working moms or pin them against SAHMs (as a matter of fact, I thought I had made an intentional effort to include working moms in my post and most of my mom friends are working moms. I was simply writing from my own experience, which is all I can write from).
Needless to say, it was quite the experience and I learned a lot. But I am so blessed and blown away by the support and encouragement I have received, and some of the new, fabulous people I have been connected to.
But enough about the iPhone mom post. I’m kind of over it too.
I would also tell you about how I’ve been thinking a lot about adoption lately. Jordan and I had talked about our heart to adopt before we got married, and I think our desire to adopt has only grown since becoming parents. I still think it is probably further along in our future, but I find myself at times being consumed with reading adoption blogs. I’m always filled with tears and a heart about to burst in the pure beauty of it and the incredible picture of the gospel that it is. I feel so blessed that we have several friends who have adopted, or are in the process of adopting. I love walking beside them, praying for them, and learning from them. I am thankful for people who are willing to be honest about the reality and hardship of adopting, but still willing to open their lives, home, and resources for these children, a picture of what God has done for us. I am so inspired and challenged by people like that. We are blessed to know people who have or are doing foreign adoption, domestic adoption, adopting babies, adopting older kids, adopting one child, or adopting several. I have so much to learn from these courageous friends!
One of these families (Carolyn, Reed, and their son Josh) has been waiting for a year now for their baby. They are adopting domestically, and have had their lives open and ready to receive the child that will be theirs. Josh is 6 years old (and one of the cutest kids you will ever see in your life), and Carolyn and Reed will seriously be such incredible parents to any baby that would be entrusted to them. They are awesome parents and Jordan and I often talk about ways that we want to be like them and emulate their parenting. It is so hard to wait with them, longing for this child. To think about what it must be like to be an expectant parent without a due date. You can check out their adoption site here, or read Carolyn’s blog here where she talks honestly about this whole process. And help them get word out!
Finally, as we wrap up our time together, I (of course) would whip out my iPhone to show you pictures of Riley! She has grown up so much this past month, she is becoming such a little girl! I really thought I would have a hard time watching her grow up, that I would mourn the traces of baby in her that keep getting left behind. But to be honest, I really haven’t because it just keeps getting so much better! I mean, yes there are definitely times when I miss how snugly she used to be, and she needs me less and less as she continues to grow. But she is so much fun now! I love learning about her and seeing her personality come about more fully. She is such a sweet spirited little girl. She loves to play by herself and is a pretty easy child. Jordan and I often joke that she is not setting up her future siblings very well. There are days with her that feel so easy, I am (almost) convinced that I could have like 6 kids. But she is so full of life and joy, I just cannot get over her. She’s already into “girly” things, sneaking her way into my jewelry, makeup, and wanting bows in her hair. She loves playing outside, asks me if we can go “bye bye” about 20 times a day, and loves to work out! Seriously, she will turn on the TV, bring me my workout dvd and say, “run run run!” She’s quite the motivational little personal trainer ;-). She even brings me the resistance band and weights. I don’t know where she gets her energy from, but I have to drink at least 3 cups of coffee a day to try and keep up.
Just indulge me for a minute, and pretend you can’t wait to look through pictures of her: