Thank God for grace in parenting.
I’m a perfectionist. In everything I do, I want to be perfect – perfect at my job, perfect as a wife, be the perfect mom. Sounds easy, right?
Let’s just say, I put way too much stress on myself at times and forget to just be in the moment and give myself a break. This is especially true when it comes to parenting. I would love to say I am that mom who has it all together, with the clean house, perfectly obedient children, never loses her cool, etc. This is what I expected when I was pregnant with my first child. Every moment was going to be wonderful. Somehow, some way, everything was going to be perfect.
Everything is NOT perfect, and that’s OK.
My house is rarely ever perfectly clean. I have two big dogs that shed, a son who throws cereal and cars around the house, and never ending piles of laundry and dishes that need washing. Not to mention how few showers a mom gets to actually take. Though I have given it my best efforts, my son is not always obedient, and though I hate to say it, I don’t always keep my cool about it. There have been plenty of times I’ve had to just hide in the kitchen for a moment to regain my sanity while my son screamed in the living room about who knows what. Motherhood is a major test on sanity.
As much as I would love to be perfect in everything, especially as a mom, I’m not. And I can’t ever be. I will fail my kids sometimes. I will fail my husband sometimes. I’m human.
This realization of failure used to have me terrified. I was sure my kids would grow up to resent me because of the one time I lost my cool and yelled back at them, or the one time I gave them the wrong snack they wanted, or even weening them too late or too early or somewhere in between. Let’s just say, the more I read about parenting and the psychology of children, the more I was sure I was going to cause some trauma in my kids’ lives that would disqualify me from their love. I constantly felt disqualified as a parent.
This is where grace comes in.
After Preston was born, I had a bit of the postpartum blues. A dear friend reminded me that is was normal to have the emotions I was having. More than that, though, she spoke Truth into my situation. She reminded me that Satan is here to steal, kill, and destroy, and that he was fighting to steal that joy of motherhood in me by replacing it with fear. This fear of failure made it to where I couldn’t live in the joyful moments of just having a sweet baby who needs me. I remind myself of those words all the time, and actively speak against the lies that would tell me I am failing as a mom. I know that I won’t be perfect, but I know God is so much bigger than any failure I can ever commit. So, instead of focusing on all the fears I have, which are many, I just breathe and do my best to live in the moment and let God do the rest. His grace is covering my family and me, and I am so grateful.
For all you moms and mom-to-be…
It’s time we give ourselves a break. I’ve noticed our culture and social media has paved the way for extremely unrealistic expectations for moms. This is where many of my expectations began. But moms (and dads, siblings, grandparents, everyone), we aren’t perfect. We aren’t called to be perfect. So, instead of trying to have the perfect body, perfect house, perfect financial situation, and be the perfect person for everyone, let’s just chill out a bit. Let’s be ourselves in all our glory (even if it’s not so glorious) and focus on being present now. Be present with your spouse, your kids, your family and friends, and allow grace to cover the fears and failures. There is so much freedom and joy in grace.