"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Monday, March 17, 2014

Zero Insanity For Lent

There is corned beef slowly simmering on the stove although I put it in late enough that I might not actually get to serve it tonight. I feel a sludge of would-be guilt trying to rise up in the back of my throat. I want to be a good mommy. I also almost ran out madly to the store to buy cabbage and potatoes and whatever else seemed important (leeks?) for having a truly Irish St. Patrick's Day dinner.

And then I realized that was insane.

I have made a pact with myself and with God for Lent. No ridiculous woman-pressure insanity.

There are no awards for "perfect" moms who serve all the most Irish foods on St. Patrick's Day and nobody even cares. The dinner doesn't taste better. The boys aren't happier. I am not more organized or more peaceful or more mature or any of the other feelings I am actually trying to cultivate in myself. Its ridiculous. We can see how the corned beef comes out and if it still isn't cooked enough we'll have it for breakfast. We can eat Polish Sausage out of the freezer and it will be quick and all the boys will love it (its one of their favorites). I have a soda bread that I bought that I can serve with extra butter. We can eat carrots (so Irish!) and we'll be fine. We don't need to spend more money on buying last minute festive foods. We don't need to spend more gas on running madly to the store at 6 PM. We don't need to spend our energy or harvest a big crop of stress (mommy yelling at the kids and boys all fussing as I pack them into and then haul them back out the car fro my manic trip to the store) all for the sake of a "festive meal." We can eat broccoli because its green and read the real story of St. Patrick and recite his breastplate prayer that the boys and I are working on memorizing.

I can cut myself free from the out of control madness. I don't need to act like a loony just because I am a woman and I feel pressure to be homemakey and clever and warm and creative. I can be all those things without being insane. I can do all those things while saving money. I can do all of them in smaller, low stress ways. I also don't have to manifest all of those things TODAY for St. Patrick's Day or risk losing my badge. There are no prizes for most harried mom, most overextended woman, most ridiculous self-deception.

There is personal peace.
There is a real legacy and a real man to celebrate in simple ways.
There is home and us and just having a meal at the end of the day.
There is a limit to how much we need fancy and celebration.

I can cut myself free and so can you.  This is my Lenten gift to myself and my family and God. Maybe by sharing it, its my gift to you.


  1. Carlie, I think "no ridiculous woman-pressure insanity" needs to be my new mantra! = ) I hope you had a very happy St. Patrick's day!

  2. I gave up that insanity when my ex-husband and I split up, three years ago. I realized "Hey, my kids love me no matter what, so why am I'm stressing about making homemade cookies at 8pm instead of spending time with my kids??" It was crazy! I was crazy!! I stopped, looked around and realized what was really important, and trying to be the perfect Mom was actually making me imperfect. :) You are amazing, keep that up! :D

  3. On St. Patrick's Day I ate BBQ with Dad down in FL...the corned beef is having to wait until Sunday dinner around here. I'm reading a great book by John Ortberg right now, "Soul Keeping," One of his most profound points (and there are a bunch) is that "hurrying" is an enemy of our soul. To truly nourish our souls, we need to focus on our relationship with Christ in unhurried communion. I believe he's so right. It's loving God and others—whatever that looks like in daily life—that really matters. All the frills are fun, but not nearly so important as just loving our family and enjoying life with them. Glad you're relaxing into finding that. I think all of us have to learn that...and then we forget...and then have to relearn this, because we have some crazy picture in our minds of what "the perfect mom" would do...even though the perfect mom DOES NOT exist! :) You're giving it all you've got and doing a wonderful job, and that's as good as it gets.