I read a book called ‘I was a good mom until I had kids’ or something like that. I was still pregnant at the time and loved it…a lot. It sounded spot on as far as how women work. Basically the premise was women in general tend to put on their happy face all the time; we pretend life is good even when it’s not and nothing changes when we have kids except the lies become more numerous; the kids are great, they never throw tantrums, always eat their vegetables and sleep through the night; our marriage is great, my husband and I spend lots of quality time together, never fight, and agree on everything; I’m great too, I feel rested and happy everyday, I love working and fixing dinner, doing the laundry, changing diapers, and running errands, all day, every day.  And yet….we all know life is not like that.

So instead of standing here and judging each other (she spoils her child too much. she’s too disciplined with her child. her husband would be happier if he was getting-you know what-more. she got take out tonight instead of cooking dinner?), why don’t we actually tell it like it is? Because we all know that life is not perfect, nor will it ever be.

My husband and I are blessed to be part of a small group through our church that is made up of families-moms and dads and kids. And you know what? That’s exactly what we are too! We get to hear, and share, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Also, this week I attended a Mom’s Bible Study and guess what? It was chock-full of mothers who were being real-telling it like it really is. One woman wants more attention from her husband. Another feels like a failure because her patience with her kids is running thin lately…all the time. Another gets distracted by facebook when she should be spending time with her family. Another is a stay at home mom and feels she should be able to do the awesomely amazing crafts with her kids she finds on pinterest because she (should) has the time and it’s spelled out for her step by step, and yet she can’t.

And me? Well, I struggle with self-confidence in my body. I sit and watch TV or a movie with my husband and it’s impossible to do so and not see some half naked woman. And then I look down and see a flabby belly from giving birth 2 months ago and I feel…well, I feel like crap. I convince myself that THAT woman on the TV is what my husband wants me to look like and I am far from it (did you know, this happened just the other day and what did my husband do? he turned and looked at me instead of that half naked woman on the TV. that’s my man.) Don’t even get me started on how many times this happened while I was pregnant and I had to run to the bathroom and cry after looking down at my very pregnant belly!

I don’t say all this because I want people to feel sorry for me, but because it’s REAL. This week at Bible Study God confirmed that I am not alone. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12 says: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!…Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” As the study book put it (paraphrased): “God chose us, despite all our inadequacies, to showcase His strength. In our weakness, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9)”. What does this mean? Duh! I needs friends! Friends that have been there, done that. Friends that will pick me up and encourage me when I fall down. Friends that know me, the real me, and I know them, the real them. Friends that know my life is not perfect: my baby cries…a lot; my husband and I have struggled to still be husband and wife and not just parents; even though I feel blessed to be able to stay at home with my baby most days, there are times I also resent it; my husband has done most of the grocery shopping and has had to cook his own dinners most days these first two months of parenthood; there are times when I sit and cry and feel like I am a failure…at everything.

Yet, I know that I am not alone. I am not the first woman and mother to go through all of this, nor will I be the last. Thank you Jesus that I have friends to pick me up and remind me that I am a strong, incredibly talented, hard working woman of God…and I have a husband who loves me just the way I am!