Noelle Kirchner, M.Div., is a Presbyterian minister and mother of two boys. As they wrestle on the floor, she enjoys wrestling with her manuscripts. She writes for Huff Post Parents, the TODAY Show Parenting Team, and has been a repeat guest author at in(courage). You can find her on her blog, where she writes about faith and parenting, and on Twitter and Facebook.
I saw a commercial recently that makes the claim: "If you're not whitening, you're yellowing." Well, considering the regular intake of red wine and caffeinated beverages by many adults, that's probably true. But what a claim.
Yes, our mouths might be changing a little bit every time we take a sip of our morning coffees. I know that I cannot wake up without mine; my kids hit the ground running, and I need a little help to do so as well. And our mouths might be changing again when we have a glass of wine after our kids go to bed. Ah, that sometimes sacred glass of wine that we might enjoy with our husband once the sun goes down. We can relax, admire a certain stillness to our surroundings, and appreciate a day well done.
Could this subtle change in our mouths be the result of a mother's day wide awake and well lived? Why should we hide the effects of our lifestyle, when the seeds that we're planting are infinitely more important than any superficial observation of our appearance?
It is as if our culture wants us to revert back to youth, and that is the standard for assessing ourselves. Try to make your teeth look like your two-year old's. Pluck out that gray hair, which instead is revered as a sign of wisdom in some cultures. Try to "get your body back" so it looks like you've never had a baby.
Yet anyone who has ever had a child knows that nothing will ever be the same again - and that's a good thing. We have the privilege of living for another life, a life that we get to shape and love, and a life that can show us the beauty of the world all over again through sheer innocence. It's an immeasurable blessing that comes with age.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to look our best. And we shouldn't let living for another life keep us from taking care of ourselves. For when we burn the candle at both ends, it eventually catches up with us. But we also shouldn't be ashamed of the effects of caring on our bodies. Experiencing motherhood and it's journey has been what has added the most value to my life in Christ's service, and that is something that I wouldn't undo for the world.
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done..." (Proverbs 31:30-31, NIV).