Last night I sat down to watch a movie I had DVR’d called Mom’s Night Out (2014). Honestly, I only recorded it because I knew that Sean Astin, who happens to be in our next audio drama, With Lee In Virginia, had a starring role. I didn’t know anything about the story and hadn’t heard any reviews on it. But, I finally had some peace and quiet from my own kids, so I sat down with a stack of work and turned it on.
The movie is about a stay-at-home mom of three young children, Allyson (Sarah Drew), and her often traveling husband, Sean (Sean Astin). It begins on Mother’s Day and instead of sleeping in and enjoying her special day, Allyson is freaking out about the mess all over the house, and her inadequacies as a mother. As an aspiring “mommy blogger” Allyson tries to document her quirks on her blog by saying, “I can actually feel the house getting dirty.”
The day is a disaster and by the time her husband makes it home, he finds her huddled in their bedroom closet, eating chocolate and watching an online eagle’s nest webcam. She finally admits she’s hiding … from the house … because it’s awful. And seriously, who hasn’t been there? Who hasn’t done that, or at least wanted to? I know I have. There are days when you just can’t take anymore and if one more person screams “Mom!”…you’re going to cry.
Allyson decides to plan a much-needed night out with her best friend, Izzy (Andrea Logan White) and the pastor’s wife, Sondra (Patricia Heaton). The only catch is that the men have to take care of the kids. Sean invites his long-time, video game playing, children hating friend over to “help.” Izzy’s husband and their twins also come over because Izzy’s husband is quite possibly more neurotic than Allyson and is terrified to take care of the kids alone.
After many twists, turns, and crazy events, Allyson finds herself sitting in the waiting room of the police station with Bones (Trace Adkins) – a motorcycle riding, leather wearing, owner of a tattoo parlor. She dejectedly tells him about her problems and that she just can’t get a handle on things and be the kind of wife and mother she’s supposed to be.
Bones tells her:
[quote_box name=””]“It’s beautiful to watch one of God’s creations just doing what it was made to do. Just being an eagle. And that’s enough. Ya’ll spend so much time beating yourselves up. Must be exhausting. I doubt the good Lord made a mistake giving your kiddos the mama he did. So you just be you. He’ll take care of the rest.”[/quote_box]
It truly hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m not a stay-at-home mom (though I was for a time), but I’ve certainly had my fair share of struggles with my kids and being happy with where my life has lead me. With a daughter in high school and an elementary age son, they are doing everything in their power to give me a full head of grey hair before I ever hit 40.
I’ve doubted myself as a mother, a wife, and sometimes just as a person, because I don’t know how to get it all done every day. There are days when my house is a wreck, my kids hate me, and the only thing I have energy to do is call the pizza place for delivery. I question God about what I’m doing wrong or what I’ve done that He’s now punishing me for. I question if I’m really able to be a good mother at all.
I cried when I heard Bones say it in the movie and I’m crying again just thinking about it. God doesn’t make mistakes. He is perfect. He knows everything and gave me these children for a reason. I don’t know why I have rough days, but He does. And He knows that, whether I think I can or not, I can handle everything that’s thrown at me. And I get stronger with every battle I have to fight.
Allyson came to realize, and I did as well, that we don’t have to be perfect – at least not the image of perfect we always hold ourselves to. We don’t have to have the spotless house. We don’t have to have the smartest, best-behaved kids. All we have to do is what we’re able to do, and let ourselves off the hook. We only make ourselves crazy by holding ourselves to a standard that most people could never meet.
When we relax and give ourselves some credit, give ourselves a break, and know that God has made things the way they are supposed to be, the days won’t seem so hard. They won’t seem insurmountable. Allyson sums it up best by saying, “I’m a mess. But I’m a beautiful mess. I’m His masterpiece and that’s enough.”