and now the women (sorry)….aka Blue Like Jazz

by Matt MooneyMarch 17, 2010

Apparently, John Ortberg has a book out entitled, “The Me I Want to Be”- the same title I used on my previous post. This is disheartening due to the fact that I like to fancy myself as original, endlessly creative, and handsome.  Thus, my apology to John and all of you for unwittingly stealing his words.  At best it should be flattering & at worst, I’ve reached the point in writing where other people’s stuff sounds better than anything I’ve got.

In an attempt to continue my last post, in which I attempted to summarize the view from a thirty-ish father, and came to the conclusion that times such as these are dangerous, I will turn my typing to the mysterious ones- the women.  Complete disclosure would include a line detailing how I have since wondered if my coffee was spiked when I forecasted that I would write about women.  Contrary to a lifetime of friends’ comments- I am not a woman.  Thus, whereas, I can burrow down into the male perspective, I come more as a witness to the women- able to tell what I have seen and heard.  All of this disclaimer language to say- I am entering dangerous waters here, and I know it.  If you don’t agree with me, there are plenty of other blogs out there, feel free to go find one, and please accept my advance apology.  I do welcome your comments whether you agree or not- as I am always wanting to have a better understanding of the other gender; however, just know I will only nod in approval with ones who disagree- admittedly, an interested outsider at best.

The conversations with gals in the season of thirty-ish child chasers- the precious few where both parties do the hard work of pushing past discussions of calendars, kids, and curtains- seem to have a script something like this:

Gals:  Talk to me.  I haven’t had a conversation with anyone who can speak over two syllables in quite some time.  Guess what, So & So peed in the potty today.  Yeah- sorry that’s all I’ve got for you.

I am tired.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing.  I love my kids.  They require all of me.  My husband?  He’s good, I think.  Yeah, I need to pursue our relationship a bit more.  And workout a bit more.  And probably should read the Bible more often.…..ohh, got to go, she’s crying.

With that accurate representation of conversations with the gals lately, I am left to infer quite a bit.  And my inference should sound familiar.

These are dangerous times.

It is in these days chocked full of children that small divergences from a sought destination are typically imperceptible and if, by chance, they manage to surface, then little energy is left to deal with what seems miniature.  When lives actually depend on you each moment of each day, it seems a little silly to focus on the new fear your heart fosters, the distance between your husband or the loss of a passion you had before offspring.

Through centimeter-sized variances years ago, women with more wrinkles are left embittered with the reality that they poured their lives into the kid who never seems to get around to returning their call.  In reality, the child, who is now an adult, seeks an identity- while the mother lost hers somewhere between diapers and graduation.

There is a season when children require a mother’s world to be small.

But seasons are not stationary, and pity is reserved for the woman that wears a heavy coat in July- stuck in a season meant to be fleeting.  This is not meant to be an interrogation, because I honestly have no idea how one releases to the world the one they brought into it.  But that day is coming.

What woman will you be when it comes?  Will your identity walk out the door with your child upon their exit?

There are symptoms associated with those who wear coats in July.  They include an obsession with safety; an attempt to control all things surrounding that which has become paramount in life.  A regretful attitude toward the numerous sacrifices made on behalf of the children, who rarely return the favor of making you the most important thing in their life.

When your world is small, perspective is hard to come by.  Thus, it really does seem that Lucy not making the team is the biggest problem in the world.  Because, it is in your world.  I have seen women effectively combat this unintended effect of being a great mom.  It comes through exposure to worlds not your own.

And so Ginny buys baked goods to take to a friend of ours with a young child.  She’s a widow.  Truth be told, she may not need the visit, but Ginny does.

My wife listens to music, reads a paragraph at a time between feedings, starts a conversation with me even though she would rather not, and takes opportunities to remember who she is.  Because she knows these ankle biters will grow and gauge the women whom they call mom.  And when they do, she wants them to see that her life has not told them the lie they are the most important things in the world.

Because when your world becomes small, your god cannot.

12 Comments

  1. Amy Terral on March 17, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Oh Matt, I just love this! I have said this (in other words of course) for years and am so glad that I don’t still wear my coat in July. I have worked so hard to remember that I am a wife as well as a mother and my husband has also encouraged me to remember that I am also a child. A child of a Father who does believe that I am so important that he gave the life of his own child for me. As I enter a new season in my life remembering all the reasons I fell in love with my husband, I hope that my just about grown children see in me that my Lord and Savior has always come before all of them.

  2. Stef Lawson on March 17, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Great post, Matt! I love these words, because they remind me of what a great woman my own mom is. Even though she has been a stay-at-home-mom for 27 years (with 3 1/2 more years before the last one is out the door); I see so much abundance in her life. I’ve always known that we (her kids) are SO important to her … I mean, she’s dedicated decades of her life to raising us, but there’s always been more, too. She has always had others to minister to, deep conversations to be had, heavy books to read. She has made the conscious decision for nearly 30 years to not let her life become wrapped around the petty, either in her own life or in ours. As I enter my own motherhood journey, her example, echoed in your words, challenge me to keep the Jesus journey central.

  3. Joy on March 17, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Love it. Spot on, man. Great encouragement and challenge to keep a healthy perspective. Thanks for risking the danger to enter a woman’s mind and heart…great job.

  4. Amber@theRunaMuck on March 18, 2010 at 6:27 am

    I’m standing up and clapping like a house-bound lunatic. YES!

    Courageously done. Well written.

  5. beck on March 18, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Matt, I think what can be hard on mommys is that there is a looong season where you are responsible for your child – what they eat, wear, say, do, etc. I talk with the moms of many a teenager who is struggling to let go of that way of life: responsibility. Because by the time its “July” (sticking with your vernacular) the responsibility has turned into control, obsession…two things that intrinsically push a child away – not to mention a husband.

    Hold loosely. Those are my thoughts as I read this today. Hold loosely to the idea that life will stay the way it is now. I think as women we naturally wrestle with controlling our environment – possibly because we think of it as nurture rather than control.

    I’m also a big believer in letting your children know that Dad/Husband comes first. Children long to feel safe and one of the ways that a family can foster the notion of safety is to put the marriage at the top of the family pyramid. It’s like an umbrella that hangs over the kids – they look up, see Mom & Dad kissing or sharing an inside joke and think, “wow, I’m a part of something that is bigger than me.” Honestly I’ve also talked to many dads (hubs included) who have felt like low man on the totem pole at home. It’s been the precursor for many affairs.

    Hope I’m on target. Liked this post! Truthfully my favorite part was your confession at the beginning – love you humble Mooneys!

  6. melanie and mike on March 18, 2010 at 7:12 am

    i was just talking to my mom yesterday about how selfishly I would like for myself to always be the most important women in the world for my boys. But it is much more important for them to know how to be a wonderful husband, father and assume that role with dignity. Even at this time in my life (and theirs), I still need to envision their future and take the daily steps necessary to get there. Thanks

  7. Monica Hodges on March 18, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Matt…
    So very well said! I have had seasons of wearing my coat in July and am so glad that I am moving away from that. As a young widow with children, I am sure the widow needs the visit as much as Ginny does! Keep up the introspective and transparent writing, it is refreshing! Thanks!

  8. Heather on March 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Ok…here is my novella.
    I agree with much of what you have to say. This is my reply, based on my thoughts and life. I as a mom pour out everyday. If I’m really honest, usually the order is kids/hubby/God/me (the last two interchange quite a bit). As a mother, I know that my children need to understand that they are not the center of the universe and that they are but a blip in a VERY large picture. However, how many fully grown adults do we know that have grasped that concept perfectly?

    I struggle with what you’ve written quite a bit. We as mothers are called to give of ourselves, completely and wholly to our families. I feel that God wants me as a mother to give all of myself, to not hold any of it back. Now do I do it? Nope, not even close. Much of it I reserve, for various reasons. Mostly because I struggle with, “But what about me?” Truth be told, it’s not about me. God wants my life to be all about everyone else but me.

    I see parents who make the mistake of putting their children’s needs on a pedestal, every whim and want attended to. All decisions made with the child in mind. I don’t think that is the way to go. Kids absolutely need to understand that they are part of a family, not the only one in it.

    I see parents who make the mistake of putting their children’s needs on the back burner. Parents who take the “me time” thing to the extreme, teaching their children that personal wants and desires come before others. Parents who have a hard time closing the chapter of the “life before kids”. Again, kids need to be “along for the ride” but not at the expense of selfish wants.

    What I want for my family, what I truly struggle with is allowing GOD to be first. Not the kids, not hubby, not me, not others. Him. Allowing Him to speak to my heart, to guide my intentions and itinerary. Letting my children see what an intimate, dependant and co-existence looks like with God as center. I don’t do this, not even close. I let God look through the window, sometimes invite Him in for awhile, but to allow Him to be the leader of our family? Nope.

    Raising small children brings amazing amounts of work. Tiredness, frustration, exhaustion, questions and more. I have three kids six and under, I get that. However I know that God wants me to give of myself completely each and everyday, to not hold any of it back, even for myself. He wants me to fill my well so I can pour it out completely each and every day. He wants me to fill my well with Him, not just “me time”.

    I’m reminded of when Moses was leading the Israelites through the desert and God provided them Manna. He told them to take just what they needed each day, not more not less. To eat all they took, but just one day’s worth at a time. Then on the sixth day, He told them to take enough for two days so that they would have food for the Sabbath. Those that didn’t take it didn’t eat. Those that took more than two days worth saw their extra provisions rot. Those that followed His wishes and took enough for just two days and ate it all had no issues. God wants us to do it all, EVERY day. He wants us to depend on Him to give it all to us, each and every day. I try and store it up, knowing full well if I don’t use it all up it’s going to rot. It’s happened time and time again.

    I make the mistake of looking at the “big picture”. Focusing on what’s going to happen, not what’s right in front of me right now. Focusing on making the right “priorities” in the present will help to alleviate the scary uncertainty of the future. I know with all of my being that if I put God first, the rest of it’ll fall into place. Now it might not be the way I would picture it, but it’ll fall into place according to God’s will. My nature is to control, plan it out, make it work. If I let God be in charge of that and not worry about wether or not I’m prioritizing things properly it’ll all fall into place.

    It’s so hard to wrap my mind around the concept of giving of myself completely, not worrying about the “me” of it. But I’ve seen so many times how God has filled the broken, desperate and lost with more than they thought they could hold. If that is possible, then I know that if I put God as the priority in all of my roles then I don’t need to even worry about wether or not I’ll have the reserves to do it or what the future will look like once that season has passed.

  9. Rachell on March 18, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Love this!!!

  10. Cathy McKay on March 20, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Wonderful words, thankyou.

    It is tough territory to tread. Helping a husband and mothering children (in all the smallness), not as an end in itself, but because that is how some of us are called to serve Jesus now.

    Faithfully serving Jesus by caring for a family might, in many ways, look the same as idolising a family. That is, until time and failure and disappointment exposes reality.

    Jesus, let the smallness and weakness keep us near you, king who became small and weak, who died and who is dead no more!

  11. Jessica on March 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I have been doing that…..making them #1. I intend to change that.

  12. Julie on March 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Matt – I love this post. So much of what you said has spoken to me. As the mother of a 5 year old and 2 year old twins, and parenting after loss, the past 6 years have been a challenge for my husband and I. Challenging in both good and bad ways. It was just a couple months ago that we looked at each other and said “what about US?” Our children are so important – and making sure their needs are met, all while both my husband and I work outside the home is a constant battle. To be sure they have mom and dad time after being at daycare each day is so important. But in the midst of all that, we can’t lose who we are as their parents…as a husband and a wife…as children of God.

    I can’t even begin to put into words what you have done so well here already – I just wanted to say thank you for that. I continue to strive to not lose myself, to not lose my relationship…so that I can teach my boys how to be good husbands, loving fathers and know that their parents love each other. Very much.

    Thank you.

Leave a Comment





Apparently, John Ortberg has a book out entitled, “The Me I Want to Be”- the same title I used on my previous post. This is disheartening due to the fact that I like to fancy myself as original, endlessly creative, and handsome.  Thus, my apology to John and all of you for unwittingly stealing his words.  At best it should be flattering & at worst, I’ve reached the point in writing where other people’s stuff sounds better than anything I’ve got.

In an attempt to continue my last post, in which I attempted to summarize the view from a thirty-ish father, and came to the conclusion that times such as these are dangerous, I will turn my typing to the mysterious ones- the women.  Complete disclosure would include a line detailing how I have since wondered if my coffee was spiked when I forecasted that I would write about women.  Contrary to a lifetime of friends’ comments- I am not a woman.  Thus, whereas, I can burrow down into the male perspective, I come more as a witness to the women- able to tell what I have seen and heard.  All of this disclaimer language to say- I am entering dangerous waters here, and I know it.  If you don’t agree with me, there are plenty of other blogs out there, feel free to go find one, and please accept my advance apology.  I do welcome your comments whether you agree or not- as I am always wanting to have a better understanding of the other gender; however, just know I will only nod in approval with ones who disagree- admittedly, an interested outsider at best.

The conversations with gals in the season of thirty-ish child chasers- the precious few where both parties do the hard work of pushing past discussions of calendars, kids, and curtains- seem to have a script something like this:

Gals:  Talk to me.  I haven’t had a conversation with anyone who can speak over two syllables in quite some time.  Guess what, So & So peed in the potty today.  Yeah- sorry that’s all I’ve got for you.

I am tired.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing.  I love my kids.  They require all of me.  My husband?  He’s good, I think.  Yeah, I need to pursue our relationship a bit more.  And workout a bit more.  And probably should read the Bible more often.…..ohh, got to go, she’s crying.

With that accurate representation of conversations with the gals lately, I am left to infer quite a bit.  And my inference should sound familiar.

These are dangerous times.

It is in these days chocked full of children that small divergences from a sought destination are typically imperceptible and if, by chance, they manage to surface, then little energy is left to deal with what seems miniature.  When lives actually depend on you each moment of each day, it seems a little silly to focus on the new fear your heart fosters, the distance between your husband or the loss of a passion you had before offspring.

Through centimeter-sized variances years ago, women with more wrinkles are left embittered with the reality that they poured their lives into the kid who never seems to get around to returning their call.  In reality, the child, who is now an adult, seeks an identity- while the mother lost hers somewhere between diapers and graduation.

There is a season when children require a mother’s world to be small.

But seasons are not stationary, and pity is reserved for the woman that wears a heavy coat in July- stuck in a season meant to be fleeting.  This is not meant to be an interrogation, because I honestly have no idea how one releases to the world the one they brought into it.  But that day is coming.

What woman will you be when it comes?  Will your identity walk out the door with your child upon their exit?

There are symptoms associated with those who wear coats in July.  They include an obsession with safety; an attempt to control all things surrounding that which has become paramount in life.  A regretful attitude toward the numerous sacrifices made on behalf of the children, who rarely return the favor of making you the most important thing in their life.

When your world is small, perspective is hard to come by.  Thus, it really does seem that Lucy not making the team is the biggest problem in the world.  Because, it is in your world.  I have seen women effectively combat this unintended effect of being a great mom.  It comes through exposure to worlds not your own.

And so Ginny buys baked goods to take to a friend of ours with a young child.  She’s a widow.  Truth be told, she may not need the visit, but Ginny does.

My wife listens to music, reads a paragraph at a time between feedings, starts a conversation with me even though she would rather not, and takes opportunities to remember who she is.  Because she knows these ankle biters will grow and gauge the women whom they call mom.  And when they do, she wants them to see that her life has not told them the lie they are the most important things in the world.

Because when your world becomes small, your god cannot.

12 Comments

  1. Amy Terral on March 17, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Oh Matt, I just love this! I have said this (in other words of course) for years and am so glad that I don’t still wear my coat in July. I have worked so hard to remember that I am a wife as well as a mother and my husband has also encouraged me to remember that I am also a child. A child of a Father who does believe that I am so important that he gave the life of his own child for me. As I enter a new season in my life remembering all the reasons I fell in love with my husband, I hope that my just about grown children see in me that my Lord and Savior has always come before all of them.

  2. Stef Lawson on March 17, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Great post, Matt! I love these words, because they remind me of what a great woman my own mom is. Even though she has been a stay-at-home-mom for 27 years (with 3 1/2 more years before the last one is out the door); I see so much abundance in her life. I’ve always known that we (her kids) are SO important to her … I mean, she’s dedicated decades of her life to raising us, but there’s always been more, too. She has always had others to minister to, deep conversations to be had, heavy books to read. She has made the conscious decision for nearly 30 years to not let her life become wrapped around the petty, either in her own life or in ours. As I enter my own motherhood journey, her example, echoed in your words, challenge me to keep the Jesus journey central.

  3. Joy on March 17, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Love it. Spot on, man. Great encouragement and challenge to keep a healthy perspective. Thanks for risking the danger to enter a woman’s mind and heart…great job.

  4. Amber@theRunaMuck on March 18, 2010 at 6:27 am

    I’m standing up and clapping like a house-bound lunatic. YES!

    Courageously done. Well written.

  5. beck on March 18, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Matt, I think what can be hard on mommys is that there is a looong season where you are responsible for your child – what they eat, wear, say, do, etc. I talk with the moms of many a teenager who is struggling to let go of that way of life: responsibility. Because by the time its “July” (sticking with your vernacular) the responsibility has turned into control, obsession…two things that intrinsically push a child away – not to mention a husband.

    Hold loosely. Those are my thoughts as I read this today. Hold loosely to the idea that life will stay the way it is now. I think as women we naturally wrestle with controlling our environment – possibly because we think of it as nurture rather than control.

    I’m also a big believer in letting your children know that Dad/Husband comes first. Children long to feel safe and one of the ways that a family can foster the notion of safety is to put the marriage at the top of the family pyramid. It’s like an umbrella that hangs over the kids – they look up, see Mom & Dad kissing or sharing an inside joke and think, “wow, I’m a part of something that is bigger than me.” Honestly I’ve also talked to many dads (hubs included) who have felt like low man on the totem pole at home. It’s been the precursor for many affairs.

    Hope I’m on target. Liked this post! Truthfully my favorite part was your confession at the beginning – love you humble Mooneys!

  6. melanie and mike on March 18, 2010 at 7:12 am

    i was just talking to my mom yesterday about how selfishly I would like for myself to always be the most important women in the world for my boys. But it is much more important for them to know how to be a wonderful husband, father and assume that role with dignity. Even at this time in my life (and theirs), I still need to envision their future and take the daily steps necessary to get there. Thanks

  7. Monica Hodges on March 18, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Matt…
    So very well said! I have had seasons of wearing my coat in July and am so glad that I am moving away from that. As a young widow with children, I am sure the widow needs the visit as much as Ginny does! Keep up the introspective and transparent writing, it is refreshing! Thanks!

  8. Heather on March 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Ok…here is my novella.
    I agree with much of what you have to say. This is my reply, based on my thoughts and life. I as a mom pour out everyday. If I’m really honest, usually the order is kids/hubby/God/me (the last two interchange quite a bit). As a mother, I know that my children need to understand that they are not the center of the universe and that they are but a blip in a VERY large picture. However, how many fully grown adults do we know that have grasped that concept perfectly?

    I struggle with what you’ve written quite a bit. We as mothers are called to give of ourselves, completely and wholly to our families. I feel that God wants me as a mother to give all of myself, to not hold any of it back. Now do I do it? Nope, not even close. Much of it I reserve, for various reasons. Mostly because I struggle with, “But what about me?” Truth be told, it’s not about me. God wants my life to be all about everyone else but me.

    I see parents who make the mistake of putting their children’s needs on a pedestal, every whim and want attended to. All decisions made with the child in mind. I don’t think that is the way to go. Kids absolutely need to understand that they are part of a family, not the only one in it.

    I see parents who make the mistake of putting their children’s needs on the back burner. Parents who take the “me time” thing to the extreme, teaching their children that personal wants and desires come before others. Parents who have a hard time closing the chapter of the “life before kids”. Again, kids need to be “along for the ride” but not at the expense of selfish wants.

    What I want for my family, what I truly struggle with is allowing GOD to be first. Not the kids, not hubby, not me, not others. Him. Allowing Him to speak to my heart, to guide my intentions and itinerary. Letting my children see what an intimate, dependant and co-existence looks like with God as center. I don’t do this, not even close. I let God look through the window, sometimes invite Him in for awhile, but to allow Him to be the leader of our family? Nope.

    Raising small children brings amazing amounts of work. Tiredness, frustration, exhaustion, questions and more. I have three kids six and under, I get that. However I know that God wants me to give of myself completely each and everyday, to not hold any of it back, even for myself. He wants me to fill my well so I can pour it out completely each and every day. He wants me to fill my well with Him, not just “me time”.

    I’m reminded of when Moses was leading the Israelites through the desert and God provided them Manna. He told them to take just what they needed each day, not more not less. To eat all they took, but just one day’s worth at a time. Then on the sixth day, He told them to take enough for two days so that they would have food for the Sabbath. Those that didn’t take it didn’t eat. Those that took more than two days worth saw their extra provisions rot. Those that followed His wishes and took enough for just two days and ate it all had no issues. God wants us to do it all, EVERY day. He wants us to depend on Him to give it all to us, each and every day. I try and store it up, knowing full well if I don’t use it all up it’s going to rot. It’s happened time and time again.

    I make the mistake of looking at the “big picture”. Focusing on what’s going to happen, not what’s right in front of me right now. Focusing on making the right “priorities” in the present will help to alleviate the scary uncertainty of the future. I know with all of my being that if I put God first, the rest of it’ll fall into place. Now it might not be the way I would picture it, but it’ll fall into place according to God’s will. My nature is to control, plan it out, make it work. If I let God be in charge of that and not worry about wether or not I’m prioritizing things properly it’ll all fall into place.

    It’s so hard to wrap my mind around the concept of giving of myself completely, not worrying about the “me” of it. But I’ve seen so many times how God has filled the broken, desperate and lost with more than they thought they could hold. If that is possible, then I know that if I put God as the priority in all of my roles then I don’t need to even worry about wether or not I’ll have the reserves to do it or what the future will look like once that season has passed.

  9. Rachell on March 18, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Love this!!!

  10. Cathy McKay on March 20, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Wonderful words, thankyou.

    It is tough territory to tread. Helping a husband and mothering children (in all the smallness), not as an end in itself, but because that is how some of us are called to serve Jesus now.

    Faithfully serving Jesus by caring for a family might, in many ways, look the same as idolising a family. That is, until time and failure and disappointment exposes reality.

    Jesus, let the smallness and weakness keep us near you, king who became small and weak, who died and who is dead no more!

  11. Jessica on March 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I have been doing that…..making them #1. I intend to change that.

  12. Julie on March 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Matt – I love this post. So much of what you said has spoken to me. As the mother of a 5 year old and 2 year old twins, and parenting after loss, the past 6 years have been a challenge for my husband and I. Challenging in both good and bad ways. It was just a couple months ago that we looked at each other and said “what about US?” Our children are so important – and making sure their needs are met, all while both my husband and I work outside the home is a constant battle. To be sure they have mom and dad time after being at daycare each day is so important. But in the midst of all that, we can’t lose who we are as their parents…as a husband and a wife…as children of God.

    I can’t even begin to put into words what you have done so well here already – I just wanted to say thank you for that. I continue to strive to not lose myself, to not lose my relationship…so that I can teach my boys how to be good husbands, loving fathers and know that their parents love each other. Very much.

    Thank you.

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