I love my kids. But—I don’t love everything about raising them.
“Mommy, will you build a tower with me?” My four-year-old sat on the carpet, surrounded by mega blocks. She looked up at me and grinned with her teeth clenched, pleading. “Please, Mommy?”
“A tower?” I stalled. I’d just settled on the couch with my iPad, investigating chicken recipes for dinner. I kind of wanted to stay there. But, instead, I drew a deep breath and flipped the iPad shut. “Sure, I can help you build a tower.”
Because good moms build towers with their kids. Right?
I have a running list of “good mom” expectations like that.
Good moms play Candy Land without going brain numb.
Good moms are never distracted by e-mail or Pinterest.
Good moms buy organic. They would rather die than feed their children Kraft mac ‘n cheese.
Trouble is, I don’t live up to my own standards. I stink at it, quite frankly.
Sure, I’ll play Candy Land. But I might reply to a text while I’m doing it. And then I’ll serve my kiddos a bowl of fluorescent orange noodles for lunch, which they love. Yum.
I am not proud of that.
But hey, I do other mom stuff really well! I do!
Tell me to bake a killer cupcake and I am ON it. Baking is my thing.
Dare me to hug my kids ten times a day and I’ll show you twenty. Affection and encouragement come naturally to me.
And if good moms take their kids to the library and the zoo and sign them up for piano lessons and soccer and karate, then I am AWESOME.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).
It’s taken me a while to learn that the “good mom” standards are a bunch of garbage. God made us all with different gifts for different purposes. Some moms love delving into a child’s world, building forts and stacking LEGOs, while others are better at listening or cooking or showing up on time to preschool. We each have our own strengths, and they’re all valuable. So instead of feeling guilty about the areas we lack, why not celebrate the areas for which we were built to excel?
Consider this. No woman is a superstar in every aspect of parenting. If we met a mom with my flair for baking and your energy for crafts, plus somebody’s else’s unshakeable patience and another mom’s passion for family fitness or serving in soup kitchens or finishing the baby book—if this woman had a piece of the best of everyone’s gifts—then she would be THE perfect mother.
And let’s be honest. We’d all hate her.
I find comfort in knowing other moms are just as challenged as I am when it comes to mastering or simply mustering enthusiasm for certain aspects of parenting, don’t you? Because our challenges make us genuine, vulnerable, and dependent on God. He already knew our gifts before he laid the first babe in our arms—these precious children, designed uniquely for our families by a purposeful, flawless God. Only he can fill in where we fall short.
So imagine a world teeming with openly imperfect women who need God and share a desire to encourage and not judge one another. Where we can all ditch the guilt over what we think we “should” be, and really embrace the moms God made us to be.
Wow. In my eyes? That’s as close to perfect as parenting will ever get. Will you join me?