Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Church Lady Adventures-Looks

Church ladies always look just right. no strings hanging from hems, hair in place, make up on, shoes match the outfit, no stains, children's hair combed, faces shining, ditto with the clothes.
*record skips, scratcheds*
What?
Oh, man-can I keep up with that? Appearance is somewhat important, after all, we live in the United States of America. We are expected to be overly concerned with hygene. And looks. Should that be pushed at church? The looks part. I'm all for the hygene!
Here it is, why is it so incredibly important for us to wear the latest fashions, ironed and with the right shoes, hair in place and make up on, all the children shining and perfectly coiffed and clean. I get that we don't want to appear dirty and disheveled all of the time. We need to show that we care for the gifts that God has given us. Okay. So, what if it's been a long day, I've been out with all of the children, and I have to stop in at the grocery store before I go home. It's illegal to leave the children in the vehicle while I shop, so, in come the kiddos.
They have various juice splotches on their shirts, crumbs stuck in their hair from snacks, possibly their socks actually match, and dirt and grass stains on their knees. My pony tail is coming out all over the place, my eye make up, if I bothered, is smudged terribly, and I have spit up and sticky hand prints from shoulder to knee. I have one pair of shoes left, so they go with everything, even if they don't 'go'.
No one says outright to my face that this is unacceptable. It's the looks -I promise, not perceived! And whispers, often combined with a pointing finger or gesturing hand.
pss.pss.pss "She could at least comb their hair.", "Does she ever bathe them?", "Poor children.", "What a group of little urchins." That's just at the grocery store!
At church, oh, my! I was taught as I was growing up that we bring our best to God on Sunday mornings. We are sparkling clean, we wear our best clothes, that's that. Not a bad thing to learn to do.
What happens when it's been a marathon week, sleep isn't entirely possible during the nights, something has happened to the matching shoe for at least three of the six children, and the baby has spit up on nearly every top that mom has. Mom puts a sweater over the one top that is still clean, hoping that a double layer will at least get her out the door. The children end up wearing their golashes, because they can find the mates. Make up may or may not have been applied, and again, the ponytail wins out.
We get to church to find that folks are in their sunday best. One of my boys runs by with his buzz cut grown out a bit too long and laying awkwardly on one side because he went to bed with it wet. My sweet little princess girl is somehow wearing pink and white cowboy boots that are three sizes too large and don't exactly go with the Christmas dress that she is still wearing in March. My sweater didn't make it, and my blouse has been doomed. My shirt and my shoes don't match. *sigh* I'm looking around. No one else appears to have this problem. People say they do, but I am sure they are just trying to help me feel better. Look at them! They don't look like this!
What about where we live? All kidding aside for the moment - I have actually had people say how surprised they are about where we live. After all, we have so many children that they just assumed we live in a very large house. Hmmm. We've lived in the same tiny house since we had one child. The other five showed up one right after the other and here we all live. Is there some sort of church standard about a person's dwelling? Are there particular neighborhoods that are acceptable? No, of course not, but do we think it anyway? And if so, then does that mean that people who live in less desirable areas should move when they choose to follow Christ?
Is it so impossible to believe that some of us choose to live in a means consistent with the income that has been provided to us? Is it wrong to steward what God has given us to use for his glory? Is it somehow against the grain of the body of Christ to ignore the pursuit of material wealth?
So I say, look great in your designer duds if you can afford them. Apply your make up with skill and keep it in place throughout the day if this is one of your talents. Work your magic that keeps your childrens hair in place and clothes clean all day long, if that's what you can do...but don't be harsh with me when my children play like children, then get dirty. When my nails aren't manicured and my clothes are all but worn out.
Do you have any idea how much pressure is on a mom to look good, the more children there are? It's almost like a contest. "Okay, I have four now. I can still put on make up and heels. People will still think I'm okay. ", "Number five. Going out with five children. Final coat of mascara, now the lipstick. Okay. I look like I have control over things." , "Six. I have six children. God, dear God, you have blessed me with six, but that means I have less time to get everyone out the door. I pray, dear Lord, matching shoes, with two socks per child or my hair and make up?"

***DISCLAIMER

If you look good, I don't hate you. I do make an effort now and then, because I feel good about being able to do it sometimes. We DO have a shoe tree - but, it is rarely in season. If we haven't invited you to our house, don't feel bad, it's just big enough for the eight of us and, in true American fashion, we have too much stuff so there isn't any room for you to sit.

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