Tantrums in Barnes & Noble

The other night I was in Barnes and Noble on a date with my Caroline. She was already a bit on edge for who knows why, so it was no surprise that right before we went to leave, she decided to have a meltdown, over juice. I told her “no” to the juice and that is when she plopped down in the middle of the cafe floor and proceeded to scream, “I want JUUUUUUUICE!” On the floor, in B & N, in front of everyone in the cafe. I look around, assess the situation, and try and figure out how I’m going to deal with this. I could,

A.) Buy her the juice

B.) Quietly, calmly, and sternly tell her to come to me (all while giving her the mean mommy eye) and hope that she would immediately get up and obey by coming to me

C.) Pick her up, listen to her scream, and get out of the store as quickly as possible because I’m not buying the juice and I know the calm mommy thing is an ideal that I never mastered.

I walk over, pick her up, and whisper, “if you don’t get up right now I’m going to strangle you  you are in massive trouble.” I’m sweating now, but I carry the little screaming banshee out of the store and to the car.

I’m trying; I’m doing my best. Caroline has thrown me for a loop in my parenting, and let’s just say I’m a much more humble woman because of it. Which is a good thing, because now when I see mama who has a screaming child in the grocery store, I just nod the “I know, mama, I know, keep on” nod. Motherhood is hard; we need compassion.

Where was I…

Ah yes, the joy of motherhood.

Seriously, I do love being a mom, and my babies are a gift, and I can’t stand how much I think they’re amazing. But underneath the amazing, they are crazy {albeit precious} people just trying to figure out their worlds, and in doing so they rock yours.

And basically, that’s what the introduction is about, acknowledging the “rocking” and not pretending everything is wonderful. Do you know how freeing it is to feel not alone? To feel like you aren’t crazy for not having it all together in motherhood? I have received dozens of emails from moms who have read just the beginning of Desperate and it brought them to tears. Emails like this:

“I just had a chance to look at it this morning and I am crying because you are writing me: my life, my thoughts, my secret feelings, some I’ve mentioned to my husband, but some still those thoughts in my heart I’m afraid to voice aloud.  I can’t wait to read more.  So refreshing after reading so many “Christian wife & mother” books that just leave me with a weight of burdens on my back, everything I “should” be doing/feeling/thinking, but am not.”

Why the tears? Because they know that someone gets it, someone hears them, someone cares about the days they aren’t sure they’re are going to make it.

But it doesn’t stop with the relating, oh no, because that’s not enough. Moms need each other, we need to lavish grace on each other, do the motherhood nod in the grocery store, but we also need mentors. We need women willing to share their life-offerings with us. We need that kind of life-lived encouragement, the kind that says, “you can do this, you will do this, and you don’t have to do it alone.”

And that’s what Desperate offers, insomuch as a book can.

But you all, you have to step out of the pages and into the lives of the women around you. Older moms, we need you to reach out to the newer moms, and newer moms, don’t isolate yourself, it will just about drown you if you do.

Sarah Mae