You're a good mom. And I should know- I'm a good mom too, so I'm qualified to judge.
Here's how I know that we are both good moms:
- I've yelled at my kids.
- I've criticized them.
- I can be impatient and distracted.
- I've overexpected.
- I've underestimated.
- I've failed to discipline them.
- I've disciplined them too rashly.
- I've packed up and left them for a whole weekend because I needed a break so badly.
- I've wondered what in the world I was thinking to have had so many.
- I've failed to know one of them had learning disabilities and criticized her for her "disobedience and laziness."
I've also felt shame, self-hatred, condemnation, overwhelming guilt, and humiliation over every single one of those things. If you can fail in some way as a parent- I've done it.
But, I'm still a good mom. And I'm going to assume that as you read that list of selfish, sin-soaked behaviors you may have seen yourself in a few of them. You may be able to add a few of your own. And you probably wondered how in the WORLD someone who behaves like that considers herself a "good mom" or is qualified to say what kind of mom YOU are.
How is anyone that screams, runs away, or regrets (however momentary) a GOOD MOM?
Because we love.
Because we deny ourselves.
Because we would lay down our lives, and we do- again and again.
Because we are willing to try harder tomorrow.
Because we work so hard to not make the same mistake ever again.
Because we kiss boo-boos, change diapers, go months without sleeping, and kiss their sweet little head even though our boobs are bleeding.
Because we wait up, praying without ceasing, until we hear that car roll into the driveway or receive the call that they've arrived safely.
Because we acknowledge our sin and failures and confess it to our children- modeling the Gospel of imperfect people needing a perfect Savior.
Because we are always looking to do BETTER, in spite of all our failures.
Because each of those failures is ultimately a drop in the bucket compared to the love we lavish upon them and serve them with every single day.
We are good moms even though we are so desperately busy trying to be a BETTER MOM that we don't even stop to consider that we ARE already GOOD MOMS.
Hear this sweet friend: You are not just a good mom, you're a good enough mom. Despite your failures and sins, your children love you without hesitation... Because you love them so well. Even when you fail.
YES. EVEN THOUGH YOU DID THAT (yes, even that), you are still a good enough mom. (Outside of outright physical or emotional abuse, which is a pattern of behavior- dear friend- not that one thing you said to your child 2 years ago.)
We all desire to be a better mom, and that is a blessed, God-honoring desire. But never let your desires to do better negate what you've already done or how wonderful of a mom you already are.
Never let your desires to work on YOU negate the power of what was already done on the cross FOR YOU. We've sinned before and we'll sin again, but we can always rest in the power of God to be magnified in our weaknesses, and his sufficiency to cover over all of our sins. Walking around shouldering overwhelming guilt, the burden of perfectionism (or read this too), or self-hatred is NOT what God has called you to and does NOT make for a "better mom."
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
So while you're reflecting on all you've done wrong, reflect on all you've done right and the FORGIVENESS that's already been poured out upon you for those mistakes.
You can rest in the freedom that you are already good enough. And when we fully, deeply, realize THAT, it makes that pressure to become better so much less suffocating... So much more bathed in grace. The heaviness of loving others well can be REALLY hard sometimes, but being loved is light.
When we can see all that we've done right, we can have the perspective that we aren't supposed to get it all "right" right now. Tomorrow is indeed another day, with fresh mercies from both our children and our God.
Own your mistakes, but also, own all that you're getting right. Celebrate that today, Mama. Because you rock.
You ARE a good mom.
6 Practical Take-Away Steps:
1. If you struggle with anger, know your Triggers and have an action plan for handling them.
2. Take care of yourself- body, mind, and soul. Get away when you need to.
3. Spend DAILY time in God's Word and in fellowship with women who love the Lord and are ahead of you in your parenting journey. Their perspective and encouragement can change everything for you. Ask God to bring women like this into your life.
4. KNOW God's Word and write it upon your heart. Enter your email below to subscribe and receive a printable one-page list of scripture that's worthy of memorizing and bringing to mind each time you are challenged with impatience, criticism, or unkind speech. Petitioning God for help when you feel angry, overwhelmed, depressed, frustrated, or ineffective is the GREATEST tool you have in stepping into freedom.
5. Read books that were written by women who LOVE Jesus, have been where you are, and are willing to transparently encourage you through it. These 3 are my current favorites.
6. If you believe that you are making unwise choices in a repetitive way that may have established a pattern of verbal or physically abusive behavior in your home, please seek help right away.