I love Glennon Melton from Momastery. LOVE. When she started following my first blog I cried I was so happy. Then I stopped writing and she unfollowed me and I cried again.
If you don’t know Glennon, let me introduce you. She is a brave, bold and compassionate truth-teller. She is also a recovering addict and bulimic. Most importantly, she lives life with a deep passion for having your outside life match your insides, something Eugene Peterson and other fancier writers calls “congruence.” You can read her blog or pick up her book Carrry On Warrior.
But I should tell you, her type of truth-telling should come with a warning label. It changes things. It exposes the cracks in our lives and our lies. It invites the light in. I think that’s why though I didn’t actually read her book until last weekend, even though I’ve followed her for years. Some part of me knew that it was an invitation to a holy encounter I wasn’t quite ready for, until of course, I was, which was apparently last weekend.
It broke me so wide open I ate four chocolate chip cookies, not in the, “mmm warm chocolate chip cookie” sort of way but in the “dear sweet Jesus give me sugar and fill up this whole inside of me fast” sort of way. There I was, just days after launching my new website, looking all proud and put together and there Glennon was all over the pages of her messy brutiful book reminding me of what I really felt like on this inside: all tuned around and unsure and insecure about, well, everything.
Then God topped off this experience by having not one but TWO people tell me that I looked like I had everything all together. And I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh I AM A LIAR. The whole POINT of this journey was to line up my insides with my outsides and just when they started getting closer I went and launched a PRETTY SHINY website.” Of course, I didn’t mean to do that. I meant to be honest and raw and real. But there were just so many pretty pictures and, I mean, I do smile like that at least 4% of everyday so it’s not like it’s an untruth. See how wily and conspiratorial our egos are?
Of course, now my ego want to take the whole website down and start over again to build a better, more complete, more honest one in which I look equally, I mean less, fabulous and have a message that is more authentic about how hard this parenting things is while still selling a version of parenting that isn’t quite so hard.
I am tempted to sigh. Instead, I take my own best life-coachy advice, put my hand over my heart and BREATHE. That’s when I hear the soft still voice gently suggest that maybe we could just stick with what we have and balance it out with some messy, holy honesty.
Ah, the soft still voice. So wise.
So, I take another deep breath and here, with you, I decide to tell the truth.
The truth is not just that I do NOT have my shit together.
The truth is that mothering is hard. Parenting is hard. Life is hard. Beautiful and full of love and wonder and awe yes. But also HARD.
What I do as a coach and how I live as a human being are not intended to promote any type of perfection, or really even high-level functionality. If anything, my greatest passion is to run up and down the halls of life screaming, “You’re not alone! Motherhood is crazy town! Life is crazy town!”
Because that brokenness you’re feeling? That overwhelm? Confusion? Fear? Just plain old stuck-ness? That’s just a big, brutiful messy call to LOVE. Love YOU. Love others. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.
I’m a mommy coach not because I think mom’s need fixing, but because I deeply believe that mom’s need a dose of honest-to-goodness love. The kind that says, “Hey this whole thing is pretty messed up, but somehow sitting here with you makes it a little bit better.” And for a long time, I didn’t have that. I didn’t have a friend to sit next to me while our kids chased each other around the house and screamed and destroyed things while we just ate a piece of pizza and drank a mediocre bottle of ice-tea and silently acknowledged that somehow this wholly messy thing we were doing was just better together, even if we didn’t know why or how.
Which is all to say, maybe I should have been a bit more clear in my marketing. Maybe I should have said in bigger letters, “I don’t have it all figured out I am just really confident in how little I truly know and am getting super comfortable with the messiness that results.” That’s how I help after all. I don’t give advice. As Glennon wrote,
“People need a safe place and some time to discover what they already know. So I just try to hold space and time for folks.”
That’s what I do. And I allow women to pay me for it because as women it is just so hard for overachieving moms to receive. I know this because I was and continue to be one. The very thought of letting another mother say, “I’m going to sit here with you on the phone for an hour and have this be ALL ABOUT YOU” was so foreign, uncomfortable and just plain weird, there’s NO WAY I could have done it without paying for it.
Of course, slowly over time, the paying for it has helped me figure out how to receive that time of love without paying for it. But I’m a work in progress. So I still pay someone fairly regularly.
Either way though, it’s still hard work. This whole bare your soul and show your weakness and let the light shine in. It’s hard work. And it’s intimidating to those who are still trying so hard to just hold it all together, including my ego, who would rather me poke my eyeballs out with hot coals than publish a post like this. Poor little ego.