Here’s a great example.
My daughter was getting over a cold, and every time she got a cold, it meant unpredictable vomit. (Sorry, I keep writing about this. I don’t enjoy it any more than you do.)
At the time, I had no idea that Kai, my four-year-old, is a sympathetic vomiter. I was out at the store, no one was around, I used the few wipes I had in my diaper bag and needed more, and the bathroom wasn’t stocked with paper towels.
I was unprepared, I’d brought my daughter out of the house before she was over her cold, my bag was under-stocked, and we left for home not more than five minutes after arriving with nothing gained but the scent of my daughter’s stomach contents on our clothes.
It wasn’t a good day.
But it was kind of a funny day, now that I think about it.
And it will live on in the annals of my messy mom life with little ones, as a great example of a time I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. (When faced with that dilemma, always go with laugh.)
I don’t like my imperfections, or my many parenting flaws. But there’s no denying them. There’s just no way I can pretend I’ve got this motherhood thing down, or that I’m everything that my kids need. I’m a flawed person, and I’m not the perfect example my kids. I don’t have to be.
I don’t have to be supermom. And ladies, I’m relieved to know that. The kicker is that you don’t have to be supermom either.
Perfection in parenting is a burden that God never asked us to bear.
I can’t imagine a more heavy burden than perfection. We aren’t meant to carry it.
There are a lot of voices out there saying we can only secure our kids’ futures, their safety, their education, their faith, and their social lives, through our own effort. We’re supposed to get it right–all of it. I’m just going to call these ideas what they are: impossible standards.
We aren’t a huge embarrassing failure if we forget to bring enough wipes. We aren’t a big disappointment in God’s eyes when we don’t do it all with a perfect attitude.
God’s Got This
The truth is, God is our perfect father, and he’s our kids’ perfect father too. We’re covered in his grace, and if we reject it in favor of our own sheer will, we have zero hope for our parenting and our kids.
He’s our hope. He’s my kids’ Super Parent. I’m just blessed enough to be the human who shares them with Him.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
–1 John 3:1
It’s a bit too easy to hold up perfection as the standard in mothering. We want there to be an equation, a straightforward system on how exactly we’re supposed to do it.
And I get it, moms. We all just wish that if we did things right, our kids will be well behaved, caring, intelligent, healthy, and whole beings who wear an invisible halo and glittering wings.
We want to be good enough, and we hinge our mommy value and esteem on our the behavior of our kids and ourselves. It’s just that this is all backward.
If we go around bragging, “We have no sin,” then we are fooling ourselves and are strangers to the truth. But if we own up to our sins, God shows that He is faithful and just by forgiving us of our sins and purifying us from the pollution of all the bad things we have done. If we say, “We have not sinned,” then we depict God as a liar and show that we have not let His word find its way into our hearts.
1 John 1:8-10
I love that this whole faith thing works when we recognize that we’re not superheroes. Being our true, flawed, wonderful selves is all God asks of us. That’s all your kids need, too. You are the perfect mom for them, even though you’re not supermom.
You are awesome, in spite of all your imperfections. Here are some good things to remember about being a mom, so that we can let His word find its way in our hearts.
- You aren’t called to be the perfect mom.
- You’re covered in grace.
- Your mothering does not have to be perfect to be meaningful and powerful.
- No one has it all together.
- You can trust God with your children.
- Your kids will benefit from seeing how grace makes a difference in your life.
Mamas, your parenting is meaningful and you’re wonderful. You love those kids. You’re a good mom. But you don’t have to be perfect.
I hope that makes you feel as gleeful as I feel when I think about it. No matter what your day throws at you, no matter how you mess up or even if you sin in your parenting today, there’s hope and grace for you. And there are always washing machines, too.