Perfectly Put Together

By Jennifer McGowen

HELLO WORLD! I do NOT have my stuff together.  I hold my tongue when I say “stuff” because I just finished a nursing shift and have to reserve the word that I want to use for actual fecal matter.  But whether it’s actual poop from the patient, or it comes in the form of frustration expressed by the patient’s family, it’s all the same thing in my book. And here I will tell you that I don’t have any of it together. I apologize in advance for somehow seeming like I have it together, but here we go as to why.

A few months ago after writing a presentation for my local MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) group, which was postponed due to a hurricane, I shared it with my dear friend who wanted to post it on this blog. After such a great response, several said, “Please share more!” Especially after a preschool Halloween event one mom came up to me and hugged me out of nowhere and said, “I’m so happy you wrote that post about anger! I always thought you were ‘Perfectly Put Together Jennifer McGowen.’ I showed it to my husband at said ‘See! I’m not the only one!’” ….

Perfectly. Put. Together. And my name. I love the momma that said that to me. I love her honesty! She’s a mom of 3, as am I. Her 3 are close together, as are mine. I love that she hugged me! Don’t we all need a hug every day? Immediately after that though I began thinking. There must be several people that think I have it together. That led me to think about why they must think that. And here is what my self-discovery has revealed:

I may seem to have it all together because I have tried to stop comparing myself to others. I know, that doesn’t seem simple. I think that’s the #1 complaint from new moms and especially with social media is how easy it is to compare yourself with others. I try not to compare myself with others because I know that we are ALL just trying to survive. We are all trying to make it through breakfast with breathing children. We are attempting to dress unruly little people that don’t want to put their arm into the shirt hole and kick profusely at the idea of pants. We are struggling to feed small people while forgetting about ourselves because that is towards the bottom of our list of priorities. 

Whether you are a mother of humble means, or privileged, our children don’t know the difference. Here are perfect examples:

Kate, a mom of 3, is trying her hardest to get the middle to take an oral liquid medication that tastes horrible and the child needs. The pharmacist said, “Just mix it in smoothies! She won’t taste it.” Kate’s response, “Does your child drink smoothies morning and night??” Next pharmacist’s recommendations, “You can try mixing it in ice cream, yogurt, mashed potatoes, or bribing her to take it.” I get it, enough is enough. So this genius mom got her to take the medicine morning and night with candy. That’s right, candy at 7am. But hey, you do what you got to do.

Julia, also a mom of 3, just moved into a new neighborhood from out of state. It’s a great neighborhood, wonderful amenities, and this is a custom built home that they hope to live in for a very long time. Just one and a half months into living there, they received notices from the HOA about weeds in the flowerbeds. After several calls to landscaping and such, the only remedy was to pull the weeds themselves. So, after kids went to bed, her and the husband spend several nights getting eaten up by mosquitoes until 10-11pm pulling weeds from the flower beds. But hey, you do what you got to do.

 Lindsey, also a mom of 3 (side note, there is no correlation between being a mom of 1 or 2 or 3 that helps you feel like or appear to have your stuff together, again, we are all just trying to survive), who I ran into at Target. This mom bought organic things here, and safe stuff there, but when it came to the cereal aisle, she grabbed Cinnamon Toast Crunch. She said, “Hey, no judgements here, they love it.” I said,”Girlfriend, do what you got to do.”

Those 3 examples and countless more in my head have helped me try to stop comparing myself to others. It doesn’t matter if you have limited means of income and coupon to feed your kids Fritos and donuts. It also doesn’t matter if you have unlimited source of income and could buy anything for yourself and your kids. Love is priceless and character is priceless. Encouraging positive behavior and kindness will go much further than thinking, “I need to keep up with the Joneses and enroll my children in 6ish afterschool activities.” Spending time with my littles one to tell them God made them and God loves them is what matters.

I am certainly not perfect. But my kids think I am. My children think that I am patient, calm, giving, loving, caring and kind. I sometimes don’t feel that I am those things, but when I stop comparing myself to others I know that I am exactly what God intended. I am the chosen mother for Ada, Thomas and Jayson. He chose me! He made me their mother! He picked me out of all the others to raise 3 Godly children! Not the girl across the street, not the mom driving a fancy car, and not the mother who appears to me that she has it all together.

So you know what?  I most certainly am “Perfectly Put Together In God’s Eyes Jennifer McGowen”. And God made me so Perfectly Well, I am made in his image just as you are.