In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring each other that our costumes of identity are on straight. ~Ram Dass

This past Monday marked the first day of summer vacation for Beckett. By 11:00 a.m. I was ready for him to go back to school.  I have set a goal to be active and intentional this summer to avoid multiple levels of mommy breakdown, so we put on shoes, changed out of PJs and headed to the mall to play in the germ infested play area.  (rainy day)

I was looking busted, and I mean that kindly; I was wearing grey stretch pants (jeans) that had maxed out the stretch the day before so were saggy in the knee area and a bright orange t-shirt that said CR Knicks on the front (honey-what is this shirt anyway?) My ensemble was topped off with moccasins, the never-ending ponytail and sunglasses.  No make-up to be found. Not even lip gloss.

The boys were ok-but we had skipped baths the night before so fingers and toes were questionable. Nevertheless, we were there-no one was crying-and the place was fairly quiet.

Shortly after settling into my corner on a bench I saw her. HER. Perfect Mom. She was effortlessly corralling her three beautiful daughters into the play area.  Her hair must have been recently highlighted, her day-time make-up was flawless and her sculpted arms were holding her youngest on display through a fashionable tank.  Of course she works out. She looked amazing.

As soon as Perfect Mom hit the scene, I shrunk into my loud orange t-shirt and my stretched out jeans. Everything about her illuminated everything wrong with me. If I could have applied a filter to myself I would have. I was suddenly aware of what I had chosen as attire that day, and frantically reached for wipes to clean my boy’s fingers and noses.  She must not think my children are the grimy children in the play area!  Red Alert! Clinging to my sunglasses as a form of disguise, I tried not to make eye contact.  This became impossible.  We were the only two moms there.

Perfect Mom was the first to speak. While she was talking, all I could think was “why didn’t I bring in my designer purse…WHY…” and I decided that my sunglasses would stay glued to my face no matter how awkward it became. Great..now I am also the chick that wears sunglasses inside. 

We made small talk about summer schedules, life with three small children, raising same gender littles and so on and then Perfect Mom recognized another mom walking towards the play area.  It was someone she knew. Perfect Mom Two.

And so…I politely excused myself to pretend like I was watching my children, but moved to a different area to fixate on their existence.  The Perfects laughed and chatted, talking about swim lessons and Elmcrest and busy summer schedules. Elmcrest. Yep. Perfect Mom turned into Country Club Mom.  A whole new level.  I can’t even imagine that zone. She’s untouchable.

As our time was winding down all the kids wanted to ride on a carousel that was close by. The carousel had three chairs ( you know like a train, a dog, etc..) so kids were taking turns to ride the overpriced ridiculous ride.  Liam, my goofy, fun loving, aggressive-loud, child was sneaking in on other people’s dime.  If there was a chair open- he was in it. Regardless of who had paid for the ride.

By this time Perfect Country Club Mom had paid her fair share for everyone to ride, so I told Liam and the other kids to hold on because I had a dollar for the last ride.  Except I only had $.75. Why-WHY had I given Beckett a quarter to get a gum ball that he almost choked on anyway! Fail. I nervously smiled and shrugged my shoulders and apologized that I was short, but much to our children’s excitement, Perfect Country Club Mom Two had the much desired quarter. All is well. Alms to the poor. Thank you. Agghh..do you know I have $10 worth of quarters stuck in the cup holder of my car!! I promise we are not poor!!

The ride ended and we packed up our bags and exchanged goodbyes.  In the car I was irritated with the way I looked and the way my children looked.  Simultaneously I was irritated with allowing myself to feel so insignificant. For wanting to be someone that I’m not. I’m not Perfect Country Club Mom. That’s not me. 


My thoughts were flooded with her all afternoon.  Is she just like me when her hair is pulled back and her face make-up free? Does she ever feel insecure in her decisions as a parent or a wife? Does she fight with her husband, or stand in the kitchen and cry when no one is looking? Are her hands calloused from scrubbing floors, and walls, and counters and children? Does she look in the mirror and wonder where her youth, and her body went? OR is she filled with joy and hope like she seemed…does she really have it all together? I don’t know. I should have asked.

I do know I want to be done with the comparison game. I missed out on a perfectly great morning with my boys worrying about my t-shirt and jeans. I have learned that often the criticism we drum up about ourselves is far worse than what anyone is thinking. We can be brutal, and the game is exhausting.

I talked to Jesus about this; how I felt just gross that day, and the words KING FOR A SLAVE kept coming to mind.  Of course it’s a song..but the one that I share the ouchies of my life with reminded me that he traded kingship in Heaven to be treated and crucified like a slave on Earth. King for a slave Courtney, king for a slave. He didn’t care. He didn’t care about what he looked like, or how many friends he had, or the validity of his position in inner circles. He only cared about his father’s business.  In other words…his eyes were never self-focused.

Love, Peace, Faithfulness, Joy, Goodness, Gentleness, Patience, Self-Control, Kindness- that’s Jesus’s jam. Not self-loathing and self-condemnation.

You know what is so wonderful about this story? Perfect Country Club Mom was nice. Really nice.  She genuinely talked to me about our morning. Although I felt like we had nothing in common, we have tons in common.  She is a lot like me.  Just on that day, she was polished. She was brilliant. But I have brilliant days also. I hope I get to hang with her again soon, only this time I will actually listen to her instead of combing over all my imperfections.


A few weeks ago I posted an unfiltered picture of myself and asked to see all your beautiful faces unfiltered. I had over 50 pics! I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. You are all looking so good! I love real life. Thank you. No more comparing…ok? Look at these pictures-ALL of these faces I could tell you a story about, and something I love about each person. Something I LOVE. That means we all have good stuff to give, even unfiltered. Take off your masks friends-your filters-your disguises.  Aren’t you tired of squinting through the eye-peep holes in order to see clearly? I know I am.

Collage 1 Collage 2

King for a slave Courtney, King for a slave.. 

Avalanche~Hillsong United~


Beautiful God
Laying Your majesty aside
You reached out in love to show me life
Lifted from darkness into light, oh

King for a slave
Trading Your righteousness for shame
Despite all my pride and foolish ways
Caught in Your infinite embrace, oh

And I find myself here on my knees again
Caught up in grace like an avalanche
Nothing compares to this love, love, love
Burning in my heart

Savior and Friend
Breathing Your life into my heart
Your word is the lamp unto my path
Forever I’m humbled by Your love, oh

And I find myself here on my knees again
Caught up in grace like an avalanche
Nothing compares to this love, love, love
Burning in my heart

Take my life, take all that I am
With all that I am I will love You
Take my heart, take all that I have
Jesus, how I adore You

Take my life, take all that I am
With all that I am I will love You
Take my heart, take all that I have
Jesus, how I adore You

And I find myself here on my knees again
Caught up in grace like an avalanche
Nothing compares to this love, love, love

YOU LIKE THE NEW DESIGN? The designer will be posting on the blog soon so I will let her introduce herself…but I love it!

If you like what you have read like onelyric on FB! Thank you for hanging out here!!

Linking up this week with #TellHisStory over at http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com. Stop by and say hi!

9 thoughts on “Unfiltered.

  1. I am a therapist and blogger. I have seen folks from every walk of life in my practice-we’re all insecure on some level. It is completely possible that perfect mom’s envy you because you don’t have to put on a facade to take your kids to play. There’s something called the imaginary audience: it is self explanatory really, but basically people are too busy worrying about their won insecurities to notice you.
    Great Quote fro Ram Dass.

  2. Pingback: Masks | It's a Wonder Filled Life

  3. This is grrreat! And I mean Tony the Tiger Grrreeeaaatt!!!! Been there, live there, exist 98% of my life there. Meaning sacrificing my hotness for time with my babes, 5 more minutes of sleep, or just the occasional moment of nothing in a chair. So easy to compare myself to others. Sometimes I come out ahead, sometimes I don’t! At the end of the day I just have to realize that there are women who have it more together than me. They can do it all. And that’s cool…but this crazy hot mess of a life I have is mine, and God gave it to me, and I wouldn’t trade it, or me, or anyone in it for anything….
    Thanks for such a great read, us crazies take comfort in the masses….

  4. Pingback: Currently. - A Mama Collective

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