If These Walls Could Talk
Several years ago, a group text was created with my mom, my Aunt Mommy (my mom’s identical twin sister), their daughters, and daughters-in-law. When Apple’s update gave iPhones the option to name a group text, Momma named this one “Cool Group,” thinking she was the only one who could see it. We initially giggled at her originality, but it has stayed ever since and is an active text thread every day. Cool Group contains seven wives who have given birth to 19 children collectively, ranging in age from 42 to due in April. Each of us has either current or past careers in the real world, but we all agree the most important jobs we’ll ever have are the ones inside our homes. There truly is no cooler group I’ll ever know.
It is no secret the Flippo home is full of actual busy bodies with constant noise and sticky fingers. I’m almost certain my writings have a theme of imperfections we’ve learned to embrace and battles we chose not to pick. After all, I let one of the Brothers wear goggles to school last week, and I still have decorative metal pumpkins in the courtyard. It is what it is, y’all, because trying to balance having a job, a family, and all the laundry while striving to be the keeper of our home God has called wives and mothers to be is just exhausting. Please, for one second, don’t think my children don’t have an incredibly supportive and involved father, and I’m not married to a gentleman who treats me as his equal, if not on a higher pedestal, who loads and unloads the dishwasher like a champ. I know what God gave us in John Flippo, and I am incredibly thankful for who he is and how he loves us. I do, though, think many of us women, especially mothers, feel societal pressure to do all and be all. The enemy has a real way of sneaking in and feeding off our insecurities to feel less than. It is important we point out the lies and encourage each other because we have a job to do, sister.
Cool Group texts are full of funny stories, a lot of pictures, recipes, advice, prayer requests, and jokes no one would understand but us. They are not only my family by blood or marriage but also my friends who give the most wonderful advice. Here are some of my favorites…
- You are only as happy as your saddest child.
- Broccoli and peanuts are an acceptable dinner when mom is tired and groceries are low. It provides protein, fiber, and a fun story they’ll tell for years to come.
- Playing is when everyone enjoys it.
- Don’t trouble trouble ‘til trouble troubles you.
- Be intentional about not filling schedules with extras. There will come a time when nights are full of practices and events, so choose to keep it simple.
- Ain’t nobody got time to fold underwear.
- Lower your expectations. Don’t compare. No one family is the same—your spouse, kids, strengths, weaknesses—so what works for one family won’t work for all.
- Cereal Sunday, Make-It-Yourself Monday, Take-Out Tuesday, Whatever Wednesday, Think of Thursday, Fend-For-Yourself Friday, Serve-Yo’Self Saturday.
- What is balance? It’s like chasing a unicorn. Do whatever works for you as long as it helps get your family’s souls to heaven!
- It’s never right to do the wrong thing.
If your child is upset you’ve said no to letting them go somewhere or do something, tell them, “We get one shot to raise you. There are no re-do’s. We love you, and we have to make the best decision with what we’ve been given.” It may not change what they’re asking, but they usually know we are right.
Cool Group is pretty cool, isn’t it? Friends, I encourage you to find your cool group. Or you can join ours. Everyone is welcome. One Christmas, Momma invited a stranger she met at Dillard’s to come for family dinner, and she also invited Britney Spears, via Instagram comment for all the world to see, to become a member of our family during her conservatorship hearings. The support here is endless, I tell ya, and that’s how it should be. Women, mothers, wives, sisters, daughters—we are so important, but we can’t do it all, and we can’t do it alone. It takes a village to raise a child. Find your village, love on them, and to quote a Real Housewife of New York City and fellow mother, “Be cool. Don’t be all, like, uncool.”