Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: PRIDE (inflated opinion of one’s self) (02/19/15)
- TITLE: Sea of Moms
By Kristi Sands
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In the parking lot, it is the foul-mouthed mama who snaps at her daughter for whining. The girl’s poor attitude pales in comparison to her mother’s. Expletives hammer through the morning air, crowding out any wisdom that remained in her words. I rush my kids past, acting as if I am simply in a hurry to get inside rather than desperately avoiding her ridiculous reprimands. I am certainly a better mom than that.
Inside the museum, I encounter a mom with a well-controlled tone and a contagious excitement for the activities ahead. Her son whimpers and cries, but she handles it with patience and poise. I wish I could take notes. I wish I could remain level-headed like her. Is this one shining moment for her or simply a glimpse of the glory she displays at all times, even at home? I chalk it up to sheer perfection and mark myself down for falling short. She is a better mom than me.
While two of my children splash the water too wildly at the fire station booth and my youngest tries to escape to a different activity, I notice a mom adorned with jewelry, trendy boots, and a fish tail braid. A cup of expensive “joe” in one hand and her camera phone in the other, she embodies an image of beauty and confidence I long for. She navigates the sea of moms with confidence. I do not. She is pretty. I am not. At one point, she turns to me and makes a comment about how exhausting the job of motherhood is. I nod my head in agreement. “So true,” I say aloud. But the words in my heart speak judgment instead. “You have no idea. You think one toddler is hard; try three!”
After cleaning up our mess in the mock grocery store exhibit, I lead my kids into a side room to wash our hands. I notice a woman sitting at a toddler-sized table, doling out snacks to three children. Her teeth – a few missing and many crooked – coupled with her scraggly hair and tattooed arms cause me to slap the label “druggie” on her so fast I nearly overlook the love for her boys evident in her eyes. Am I better than her? How do I rank?
Another mom enters my thoughts, a mother of seven children, age nine and under. Though not at the museum, I admire her pictures on Facebook regularly. She appears organized and optimistic, patient and perfect. She trusts God to determine the size of her family, and I am scared to do that. She soars above me. Puts me to shame. Tips the scales in her direction. She is the mom I want to be.
Each mom takes her place on the misguided spectrum in my mind. I am better than this one, worse than that one, maybe similar to someone somewhere. The “work” of it all is tiring. And useless. It is saturated with selfishness and packed with pride. Even when I mark myself as lesser, pride wins. It is a false humility – one that focuses on self rather than seeking an accurate reflection of God’s thoughts toward me.
The sea of moms overtakes me. But these are not their waves; they are my own. With pride like this, I will never have a friend. Not the way Jesus intends. With pride like this, I will not love, will not fellowship, will not see.
I am in a sea of moms. And I am all alone.
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