Thursday, February 17, 2005


I am the amazing supermom. You may have seen me at the zoo the other day. I was the one with a kid strapped on my back, and a kid in a stroller being pushed by another kid, and holding a kid, with a few kids whining that they were not in said stroller. There were moments I felt like an actual superhero, for taking my offspring out for an educational venture on such a pleasant day. We discussed what a great job God did, making the hippo so wonderfully for living in its mostly underwater environment. I kept my babies in their cloth diapers, saving the earth and money, don't you know. And I fed the whole crew for around $22, which is saying something for zoo prices. I didn't fly or rescue any endangered species, but I was doing good.
But there were several moments, several, where I didn't feel very super. The fountains were turned off, so I had to keep telling my kids not to go where water would normally have kept them from going. My almost two year old was in danger of his life or of separation more than a few times. The biggest kid was pretty sure she would die of exhaustion at times. And the looks we got . . .
Making a scene used to not bother me. In fact, in my early days of motherhood, with three under three, I got quite a kick out of it. Then it changed, and I was out with three little ones and a big round belly. After number four, I didn't go out as much alone with them. And since then, the more kids I have, the more stares and comments there are. I forget sometimes that it's not normal to have so many treasures. In a way I feel like I did back in grade school on book fair day, with more money than I had ever carried around, kind of showing it off, a little cocky. I am so blessed to have all of them. I love the children God has given me. It doesn't dawn on me, in my day to day life, that other people don't see it that way.

Until I leave the house. And as the day wears on, at the zoo, store, doctor's office, I remember that not everyone knows that children are a good thing, and that the 7th child is as much a treasure as the first and second. And it starts to wear down my confidence. And I become more and more aware of my shortcomings.
And I start to wonder if maybe they're right. Maybe I am in over my head. My house is a mess. I don't know what to do about the toys. I need about two hours just to put laundry away. I live on a survival level. Are there clean spoons? Clean underwear? Diapers, cereal, milk? When did the kids last have a bath? Where are the toothbrushes? Why is the floor wet? Who left a cup of water there? Where are your socks? Where are your pants?
These questions and many others plague my daily existence. But the real question is this: am I doing a good enough job? There are so many areas in which I need improvement - which one should I focus on? I'm the chinese acrobat spinning plates on top of sticks. If I add another, will I drop one? If I try to lose weight, will homeschooling suffer? I got the living room cleaned up, but it's time for dinner, can you stop by Taco Bell? Well, I had the living room cleaned up when I called you.
Then, in the midst of the voices of my critics, some of them quite loud, I hear the Giver of Life speak silently to my aching heart, "If the only thing that qualifies you is that you said yes to ME, and that I have given them to you, is that enough?" Oh, I want it to be. But there's mold growing on our science project (which was not to grow mold) and I am behind on my logs, and am ironing on a shirt a day basis, and I'm so hungry the baby food smells good. There are kinex EVERYWHERE, I don't know where the broom is, the vacuum is broken, and the three year old has turned the upstairs sink into a hot tub for little toy cheetahs and giraffes.
On the other hand, if I am living my life for an audience of one, one who numbers my days and the hairs on my head, one who measures eternally and not by appearances, one who shed his own blood to cover my weaknesses, shortcomings and utter failures, well, maybe that one's approval is enough. Maybe that and a cup of good coffee.

Sunday, February 13, 2005


I have a confession to make. I'm overweight. I can blame this in part on having been pregnant or nursing for nearly a decade. But the truth is that I just frankly eat too much. Here's the problem. I know how to lose weight. But I don't want to have to maintain my weight after I lose weight. I like overeating. I like to eat.
My life is a little crazy, not as hard as some, but it's somewhat self sacrificial. As I sit here, my 4 year old is asking me for breakfast, "I'm really starving now," she says. My 22 month old is saying the same thing, except without the use of consonants. Most of my day will be spent taking care of what someone else's needs.
Eating what I want when I want it is my little way of treating myself, doing something for me. Of course the reality is, and I know this, that I'm not actually helping me when I eat more than I need. When I eat what I need and no more, I feel strong, capable, confident. When I eat because of other reasons, I am a slave to my whim, I feel sluggish, weak, and tired. I can almost hear my body groaning, like someone packing a car when people keep bringing more and more luggage, as if to say, where are we going to put all this stuff - we're running out of room?
Food is not my friend, my god or my master. Food is something provided by my Father in heaven to meet my physical needs. He is a good Father, and will not meet my emotional or spiritual needs with physical food. He will meet those needs appropriately as well. When I overeat, I am rejecting his appropriate provision.
I've never been much for meal time prayers. They always seemed a little ritualistic and superstitious to me. But I'm thinking now, what if I were to pause and give God sincere thanks for his provision each time I break bread, both for bodily needs, heart needs and spiritual needs. Might I be less likely to get them mixed up?

Saturday, February 12, 2005


Hello. I've wanted to do this, blogging, but have been overwhelmed by the thought of an infinite, unknown audience. Of course, it's possible no one will read this, unless I call and put them up to it, but then again it's possible that people violently opposed to my entire way of thinking will, and comment. Am I ready to handle that? Ack, I don't know. But, here goes.

My name is Angela. I am the mother of 7 children under the age of 9, no multiples, all from the same father, to whom I have been married for 11 years (cause, you know, I haven't had time to meet anybody else).

I believe that the Bible (Christian Bible, Old Testament, New Testament) is true. Most anything about my life that I've given much thought to has been evaluated in that context. I may in a future entry talk about why I believe that it's true, but in this and other entries, it's a given.

The Amazing Supermom is a nickname I use for myself with my sarcasm light on (and flashing) and my tongue firmly in my cheek. I use it when I look at the 8 or so baskets of laundry waiting to be put away, or when I spend an hour in the pediatrician's office with all 7 kids in a room smaller than my closet waiting to find out that my 5 year old can hear just fine, except for the wad of wax he's accumulated, or when it's like 3 1/2 minutes before a meal and at least 4 children are pretty sure they're melting or about to be blown away by the wind because of starvation and the pipe coming from the sink where I just let out the dirty mop rinse water comes completely undone and floods the cabinet beneath and I think what I really need is "to reach for the shelter of mommy's little helper", a line which I think is from a Beatles song, but actually I reach for the shelter of this mommy's big helper.

A lot of people, some who don't know me very well and others who do, say things like, "I don't know how you do it - I have my hands full with just . . . " And my answer is that there are a lot of things that I don't do a very good job of, and a lot of things I just let go of. There are a lot of things that are important to some people that aren't that important to us. Like kids sleeping in pajamas. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't. We don't bathe as much as most Americans. But then again, people from other countries think Americans smell like hospitals. We don't. My kids don't have their hair cut or pictures taken professionally very often.

But there are things I think are pretty important that I work hard at. Like helping my 4 year old daughter understand that being pretty on the inside is way more important than being pretty on the outside. Or teaching my 7 year old the lesson Peter Pan gave at the end of Hook - take care of everybody smaller than you. I'm trying to raise my children with a bigger perspective than just the pursuit of the American Dream. I want to live simply so that others may simply live. I want to measure each undertaking by an eternal perspective - does what I'm putting my hand to really matter in the long run?

So that's a beginning. If my heart can handle this, I'll write again.

The Amazing Supermom