Why I love Mom’s Group

Last week I sat in the small room with twelve or so women. One of the very best of the bakers among us had brought scones and a hand-made cream cheese spread with craisons and probably crack mixed in. She was, of course, serving that cream cheese in squatty etched glass mason jars. I love women who can even make their snacks beautiful, even if a secret part of me is contemplating grabbing one of those mason jars and sticking my fingers straight into the cream cheese/crack mixture.

You may groan at the thought of a Mom’s Group. I get it. After about one month of motherhood, I was so over the talk of breastfeeding and child development and discipline fads and preschool research. And if Mommy Talk were all I’d find at my church on Wednesday mornings, I’d never show up.

If I’m going to get myself to that room with the makeshift table—the room that also doubles as a storage spot for the Sunday School supplies—I want it to be a place of laughter, not guilt, a place where my fellow moms talk about the moments in motherhood when we hate ourselves, moments when we can beg one another to tell us we can do this thing day in and day out: we can love our kids. I want to tell the truth.

See, the truth is that the easy stuff of motherhood is the breastfeeding and diaper changing and the preschool research. The hard part is the daily, over and over and over of tantruming kids and disappointment with ourselves as moms. It’s the days when you your boy refuses to put his pants on and you’re fifteen minutes late because he’s been doing everything but what you’ve asked him to do, and you feel your rage swell inside your chest until it spills out in a demon-voice you would never-in-a-million-years use with a stranger, and you’re grabbing him by the arm and begging yourself not to squeeze. That is the moment you need to confess: I am in need of Jesus. That is the moment you long to hear someone to say Grace is there with you, Micha, in your rage.

I need to hear a friend confess the way she judges other moms by their kids’ behavior, while hers are outwardly “good” by nature. I need to see her weep over the darkness inside her for that judgment. I need to witness her humility and learn that it is only in this recognition of our need for grace that Mommy Wars are brought to peace.

What I need is to see Katie speak about the Great Story, how we are image-bearers of a Creator God, how we are offered our places in the tapestry of this world and given charge to bear that image. I need to see her tears at the beauty of such a thing, at the sheer power of it.

I know what I’ve found is rare. We can’t all find it. We don’t all discover ourselves in a community that is learning how to remind one another that the gospel is real and true and good. But, on Wednesday afternoons, as I drive my tired boys from Mom’s Group toward August’s preschool, I think about how I want this blog to be the same sort of place for you.

Thankfully, you’re not all moms or even all women. But you’re like me, I think. You’re begging to know that there is grace for you too. You’re longing to hear that in your rage, your fear, your doubt, your faithlessness, there is hope for you.

I can’t offer you the scones and creamy spread. (And even if I could, you’d be disappointed in my attempt.) But I can offer you this desire: I want to be honest here. I want to bring peace. I want to tell you that we are forgiven and made new, over and over again. I want to tell you we are called to something marvelously big in our beautifully ordinary lives.

This is just a reminder.


Image credit: SweetOnVeg at Flickr
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  • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

    This is beautiful. Wish I could go to Mama Group with you. And also, your blog so does that for my soul. So thank you.

  • michaboyett

    Oh, I wish you could come with me too, friend. Thank you.

  • Julie

    i had to stifle a laugh out loud moment at my desk about the crack and cream cheese mixture….so true, i’m not a mom, but i’m amazed at times at my own capacity for anger with a family member or friend who is frustrating me. so true, we need grace, and Jesus, and a healthy sorrow for our sin and how it affects those around us.

  • Andrea

    Thank you. (tears)

  • Amy Hanson

    This was just what I needed today as I raged at my son for not tying his shoes and sent him of to the bus stop in tears…just one of many, many mommy failures! Thanks for the grace!

  • http://motheringspirit.wordpress.com/ Laura @ Mothering Spirit

    Absolutely, Amen, exactly what I needed to hear today. A day of all-day-at-home-with-them-who-drive-me-mad-with-rage-too but who also fill me with so much more love than I thought I knew or need. There is nothing more comforting than the echoes of others who understand exactly – which is what your words are for me, so often. Thank you.

  • Carolyn

    I so appreciate your posts! And my own moms group. I wanted to let you know I have finally picked up “monk habits for everyday people” after reading your recommendation for it. I’ve also been trying to plunge into Thomas Merton. I think it was your blog that reintroduced the ideas of the beauty of liturgy and slowness. It meshes well with my infp personality and I have been very much blessed by this journey. Thank you so much for your honest and thought-provoking posts!

  • http://camandlynds.tumblr.com Lyndsey

    Hey, Anne Lamott. It looks like you’re getting along well in your new location. I knew you would.

  • http://diana Diana Trautwein

    Lovely, Micha. (Not sure why Joy’s name is up there in the title, but then I’ve been dealing with packing/traveling/lousy wifi in this way small room – and I know 2/3 of the world would think it was palatial, but right now, I’m feeling crowded when my husband and I have to step to one side to pass each other at the foot of the bed…). I guess tonight, at the end of a long day of travel, made slightly more complicated when our son dropped by this morning as we were scurrying – I just want to offer you hope, you and all the mother mom-fails out there. I failed so many times raising those kids. I screamed and sulked and cried and fell asleep when Mr. Rogers came on at 4:30, grateful my husband would be home to step in with the kids while I attempted to cook dinner. But today, our tall, lanky 40-year old came to talk to us about something important, a way in which we might be able to help him and his wife and two glorious daughters. We wondered and worked on it and all of us were left thinking, of course. We’re family – we’ll make this happe, if we possibly can. He said he was initially embarrassed to ask for help and then he remembered: he was our kid. And he has kids whom he adores and he realized – we feel the same way about him. And, of course, he was right. I’m probably not explaining this very well – but I just want to try and put words around the enormous flush of gratitude that flooded me as I sat and looked at him. This gentle, kind, smart, funny man who was my baby once-upon-a-time, the ease with which his dad and I interacted with him and with one another. I did a lot of things wrong. I was too young and too impatient and too tired. But I was fierce in my love for those three kids. And they knew it. The grace of God somehow infiltrates even our messiest mistakes and creates space for us to give each other grace, doesn’t it? Thanks for inviting us into grace-full living together out here in cyberspace, Micha. We need it.

  • http://Shannonvandewarker.com Shannon vandewarker

    I was just talking with a semi-new mama (of which I am) yesterday about this guilt we feel as moms for our kids not acting as we think they should and hoe we reflect that back on our ability to parent, rather than just allowing our kid space to be who they are. It’s such a hard balance. Thank you, thank you, for your honesty and candor about the messy moments of motherhood and life. It’s an encouragement to be in good company. Keep up the writing, I love to read it!