This is not going to be one of those feel-good Mother’s Day posts. You know the ones: they read like a Hallmark card and bring tears to your eyes as you wish what it said was true, and not just written to make you feel good.
But I do want to tell you something important. Something true. You’re a good mom, and it’s time you started to believe it. I see you shaking your head. I did it too when someone recently told me I’m a good mom. You’re thinking of that time, you know the one, when you really screwed up. You’re thinking of all the things you aren’t providing your kids. You’re thinking of all your flaws and sinful behaviors. You’re thinking of ten moms who are better moms than you. I understand. I’ve been there. But it’s still true: YOU ARE A GOOD MOM.
When did we start to believe the Pinterest-Facebook version of motherhood that says we should be everything to our kids? That the only way to be a good mom is to be a great one–no, the BEST one? That our family should always look like our Christmas cards: color-coordinated, cleaned up and controlled?
Are there huge gaps in your mothering? There are in mine. Grand-Canyon-sized gaps. But you know what? That is exactly what God wants. His strength is made perfect in weakness, remember? You shouldn’t strive to be everything to your kids, nor to provide everything for them. (Even if you homeschool.) He wants to be everything to your kids. If you are everything to them instead, what a small god they will have. How sad for them to grow up and think they don’t need God the Father–yes, even if it’s because you are giving them so much of yourself that they don’t feel any lack.
And speaking of supermoms: Do you know a superstar mom? I know several. They are serious rock stars as mothers. I look at them and see what I would like to be. Patient, loving, supportive of their husbands, dependent on God, prayer warriors…plus they homeschool, and probably have homemade meals every night. Their kids love them intensely and their husbands are their biggest fans. What a blessing they are to their families, and to those of us who watch them from the sidelines. But I sometimes start to compare myself to them (OK, constantly), and find that I am nowhere near their caliber. I am lacking so many of those qualities, at least to the same level they have them, that I feel like I am on a different planet.
I realized as recently as last night that being a good mom is not the same thing as being a superstar mom, just like being a good scientist is not the same as being Einstein, being a good writer is not the same as being William Shakespeare, being a good missionary is not the same as being Mother Teresa, or being a good starship captain is not the same as being Jean-Luc Picard. (Sorry, my inner nerd got out there for a second.) The superstars are there as examples, as inspiration, as something to aim for. There will always be those who excel in the areas we work in, and we need them. But society is still built on the everyday–the good–writers, scientists, missionaries and…moms. The superstars can’t do the work you can do. They can’t mother your kids; they have their own. And they wouldn’t do a better job, either–I know where your mind just went. No one can love your kids like you do; I don’t care how good a mother they are to their own kids.
And if your family is messy, if it doesn’t look like the Christmas card picture, it’s because it’s made up of people. You are human, with human flaws, and so are your kids. Life is full of stresses, big and small, that keep us from being the best version of ourselves all the time. Things like puberty, menopause, depression, caring for elderly and aging family members, autism, big moves, money problems, job stress, sickness, the list goes on and on. The Curse is an ugly reality in our lives here on Earth. And guess what? It keeps us from being the perfect mom. And even if we were perfect, it wouldn’t guarantee our kids would make the right choices. God is the perfect Father and look how His kids, the Israelites, behaved!
I guess what I am getting at is that it is time to say “NO MORE!” to the false vision of perfection and greatness and embrace the fact that we are doing good work, however imperfect it is. Strive for greatness, but keep doing the hard, hard work of motherhood. Keep saying “no,” when “yes” would be so much easier. Keep loving and accepting the emotional and disrespectful kids who are learning to be their own people. Keep praying that God will supply the lack, that He will use every failure on our part to drive them into His arms. Keep begging God for the self-control not to slap the eye-roller, to modulate our tone when we’d rather throw up our hands and let them have it. Keep throwing ourselves and our kids on God’s grace, trusting it will be enough.
And keep telling ourselves we are good moms–until we believe it. Because when we believe it, we will discard the hesitation, the hang-ups, the insecurity that keep us from being even better. Imagine if you really believed you are a good mom: wouldn’t you have more confidence in loving and training your kids? Wouldn’t you have more energy to do the things you know you should be doing–because you wouldn’t be wasting it on mentally wringing your hands in the corner, and second-guessing your every decision? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to own it. You are a good mom. You are a good mom. YOU ARE A GOOD MOM.
If this post spoke to you, share it with a mom you love…and let me know! This is a barefaced, unashamed appeal to you: I need some feedback on the blog. I love sharing this space with you, but I need to know whether you love it, too. Am I doing a good job? Is there something you want more of? I’m putting myself out there for you, and I’m glad to do it, but I really need to hear that you’re getting something out of it, too. Please comment below or email me or text me or something. OK, now that we’re all embarrassed and feeling awkward, I’ll leave you till next time.