About a year ago, I was in my room trying on clothes trying to figure out what I was going to wear on a date with my husband that evening. I was discouraged because a lot of my clothes didn’t fit the way I would like, and I just felt ugly. I think we all feel that way from time to time.
My youngest daughter, Charity, wondered into my room. She is number five in our line-up of children. She saw the array of dresses and shoes that I had dragged out of my closet, and her eyes got wide. My makeup was scattered across the top of my vanity and I had hot rollers in my hair, but she looked at me and all of my mess with fascination. “Mom, can I have a make-over?” she asked. I had given up trying to make myself feel pretty so I agreed.
I arranged her soft ringlets on the top of her head and placed a flower in her hair. I let her pick out a necklace to try on. She grabbed my red high heels which are her favorites and slipped her tiny feet in them. She looked proudly in the mirror, put her finger on her chin, and said, “Hmmm, just one more thing.” She stumbled over to my vanity nearly falling in my shoes and grabbed a tube of very bright lipstick that I let my girls play dress-up with from time to time. She smeared it all over her lips. I laughed because she looked like she had a clown face. Charity went back to the full-length mirror to observe her finishing touch. She smiled and just stared at herself in silence. I could tell she was extremely pleased, and she felt so beautiful.
“Charity, you look just like a princess!” I exclaimed. She quickly corrected me. “No, not a princess.” She shook her head without taking her eyes off of her reflection. “I look like a mom.” It was the way she said “mom” that made me feel so amazed. She said “mom” like it was the most beautiful thing she could be. She didn’t want to be a princess; she wanted to be me. I think that is the most beautiful and special I have ever felt in my life.
Now fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I had been having a very busy morning. My husband had taken my son to a game, and I had been getting ready for two family functions that were happening that afternoon. I had baked two pies from scratch and prepared some other side dishes. The next day was Resurrection Sunday, so I was also cleaning and getting outfits together since we would not be home again until late that evening. Time was ticking away, and nothing seemed to get done on time. I pulled my pies out of the oven and dashed to my room to change my flour covered clothes. I put my hair up and began to apply my makeup using the full-length mirror behind my bedroom door. I rubbed in my foundation and began to brush on some eye shadow. I was almost done.
Vivien, my witty redhead, peeked in and asked how much longer until we could leave. The kids were antsy and had been waiting on the couch until I gave the word to climb in the vehicle. I told her I was doing my makeup, was just about finished, and then we could leave.
She left and I heard her call to the other kids. “I’ve got bad news, guys. Mom is playing Frankenstein again, so we can’t leave yet.”
I didn’t know if I was mad or if I wanted to laugh! I still do not know how she came up with that… if she heard it somewhere or made it up on her own. Either way, it caught me off guard. “I’m not Frankenstein,” I thought. “I do not look like Frankenstein!” I came out of my room with half done makeup to her giggling waiting on me to catch her joke. I know she was trying to make me laugh, but she was also making a point that she wanted to leave and saw little value in my makeup.
It has been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. How different these two opinions of me were! These stories have been brought to my mind a lot over the past few days. Not just concerning the topic of beauty (inner vs. outer), but also concerning my job as a wife and a mother. Some days I feel like I have everything under control. I feel like I am doing a good job as a mom. Other days, are more trying. I feel like no matter how hard I try to juggle all of the tasks thrown at me, I am still just playing Frankenstein: piecing together a mess, but never feeling whole.
It can be exhausting trying to be perfect and please everyone. Not everyone you meet will share all of your same values or mesh well with your personality. Glean what you can, and grow, but remember, none of us are perfect. No matter what you do or what state you are in, there will be likely someone who thinks you are prettier than a princess, and someone who thinks you are a Frankenstein. Don’t get discouraged or devalue the job God has given you. Learn to laugh at being called a Frankenstein. It will make life so much easier.
“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised,” Proverbs 31:30.