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20160517_160931I was invited to give the final address of the regular school year for the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group that meets throughout the year at my church. The group is comprised of women from both my congregation and the surrounding community – young mothers gathering together for mutual enlightenment and support.  My job was to encourage them.

To do this, I considered someone I know very well who has never stepped foot in a MOPS gathering – my wife, Jennifer. Here’s the gist of what I shared.

Jennifer checks in from time to time with a few of those “supermom” blogs. You know the blog type to which I am referring, yes? It’s the kind written by a woman who, in pretty much every way, appears to be the prototype for “perfection” in mom-land.

She’s the one who…

• is as skilled as a professional photographer, always finding and snapping photos of her children in scenarios worthy of magazine covers;

• always comes up with the most creative birthday cakes and party designs;

• should probably just be given a license to practice child psychology since she can diffuse conflict in any group of children;

• is an artist capable of sketching portraits of her little ones doing cutsie things – and she produces these images every day, putting them into her kids’ lunchboxes, right beside the intricately hand-crafted sandwiches that look like zoo animals;

• keeps all of the latest children’s books on the shelf, and never fails to read to her kids multiple times a day – once before school, maybe sneaking into the school lunchroom to do it again, and then one more time before bed;

• is the flawless home decorator, designing showcase rooms, namely the kids’ bedrooms – her son’s room being an impeccable replica of a NASA launch pad, and her daughter’s room being an unmatched, multihued landscape of unicorns and rare tropical flora;

• is the go-to volunteer for everything at her kids’ school, so “go-to” that when the Principal takes a personal day, the School Board president calls and asks her to fills in;

• keeps her kids’ clothes perfectly pressed and wrinkle free;

• and gives all that is required and more when it comes to helping the kids with homework. She prints out maps, and charts, and photos of foreign landscapes. And then once the assignments are done, she orchestrates fantastical projects in the kitchen to enhance the learning experience even further.

The woman is the mom that every other mom wants to be.

I can tell when Jennifer has been reading one of these blogs. She begins spontaneously unnecessary and very tangential tasks, projects like painting the kids’ rooms or organizing their toy cabinets and bookshelves.

Another clue is that she starts to get a little depressed.


Because she is a mother of four who works fulltime (not because she wants to, but because she has to) and is married to a pastor whose schedule often mandates that he be present elsewhere, essentially making her a single parent. She begins her day in the office at 7:30 am and typically arrives home each day between 4:30 and 5:00 pm, which means she has around fifty hours every week in which to gather up piles of guilt for missing nearly every field trip, every midday classroom holiday celebration, and so many other parts of her children’s lives.

When I see this process beginning, I try to be as quick to the draw as I can, being sure to encourage her not just to refrain from considering divorce, but to know that she is indeed a phenomenal woman precisely because she isn’t “Supermom.”

The world doesn’t need supermoms. It doesn’t need for every mother to be overly eloquent, superbly creative, abundantly energetic, full of charisma, or whatever. It needs moms who know and practice the rudiments for raising kids. It needs moms who will teach kids the difference between right and wrong. It needs moms who will raise their children to be kind, to be honest, to be respectful, to never sacrifice objective truth for subjective truth – no matter the cultural trends swirling around them. The world needs moms who will raise their kids to be considerate, to work hard, to take responsibility for their actions, to admit when they are wrong and labor to fix their mistakes, to stand strong in the face of evil, and to do what needs to be done to overcome it even if it means losing that which they hold dear, things like relationships, reputation, and so much more.

Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but I hope you can see that it is so much more substantive than fancy birthday parties and zoological peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Jennifer is all of these things, making her the remarkable Christian wife that I do not deserve, the loving friend only possible by way of Divine provision, and the diligent mother and careful mentor for our children.

Unarguably, she is a stellar mom.

And so, in order to celebrate the perfection that is my bride, I am raising a dram from one of my favorite distilleries – The GlenDronach – and the particular edition under consideration must be nothing less than something of the highest stature, thus, the Parliament 21-year-old.

The name certainly fits. The whisky is a sensual governess among so many other of the whiskies in my collection.

Her scent is that of toasted fruit, caramel-filled couverture, and a dry wine. These vapors collect at the still’s peak and come back down on the palate in a steady wash of saskatoons and a spoonful of dark chocolate shavings sprinkled into a cup of bitter coffee.

The finish holds a moment of spice at its inauguration, but then turns to become a medium-long twirl of ripely bruised honey crisp apples and warmed cream.

If only my dear Jennifer enjoyed whiskey, she would by way of The GlenDronach 21-year-old learn a little bit more the figuration of my love for her. And yet, I wonder if instead this is just another display of her fineness, choosing to refrain from drinking my whiskies as a calculative effort which allows for me to enjoy such things in abundance.

While I know that she loves me, I also know that’s probably not it.