I forgot her water bottle.
The first day of kindergarten, I had my daughter’s backpack stocked, her school supplied labeled, her lunch bag filled with her favorite food plus a special note using only words she could read—but!
I forgot the bleeping water bottle.
I am a terrible mother.
All summer long, I thought about this day, the first experience of navigating math and music and recess without Mom, without my steady presence to help her make choices and pull her socks up and open her yogurt lid. And here is it, kindergarten. We have officially grown. My baby must rely on her own courage now.
Because clearly she can’t rely on her mother.
Seriously, we had even talked that morning about the milk system at lunch time. “You have cold lunch today, so you can order milk for lunch. Mrs. L will ask you if you want white or chocolate. I don’t mind if you have chocolate.” I stood in the kitchen at eye level with my five-year-old, instructing her on the ways of the school lunch routine.
“But Mom, what if I just want water?”
“That’s fine,” I said. “You can say ‘no thank you’ to the milk and just bring your water bottle down to the lunch room with you. Sound like a plan?”
“Got it, Mom!”
Great. Except it’s kind of hard to follow through when your mother FORGETS TO PACK YOUR WATER BOTTLE, ARRRGHHHHH!!!
Yes, yes, I hear you. It’s only water. So what if a water bottle was on the school supply list and every child in the building besides mine had one. They have drinking fountains at school. They have a drinking fountain right in the kindergarten classroom, for crying out loud, just three feet from my daughter’s desk. No big deal, right? But she’s five. Little things are a big deal in kindergarten. I so wanted this day to go perfectly for her, and I certainly did not expect to be the cause of any insecurities.
Add it to the list of mom mess-ups.
Do you have them, too?
I’m not just talking about water bottle incidents, but bigger mess-ups, like blowing up at the kids, locking yourself in the bathroom, losing your gratitude or your perspective or your sanity.
Since the start of the school year I’ve been reflecting on my last eight years as a stay-at-home / work-from-home mom. God blessed me with the chance to love on my kids while they were small. But I wonder, did I do it well enough?
Did I appreciate them enough?
Did I hug them enough, read to them enough, hold my tongue enough?
Was I enough?
Like me, you can look down another school year and swear, I’m going to do it better this time. I’m going to stay on top of the crazy calendar, build in more time to live in the moment. I’m not going to bark at my kids to brush their teeth or do their homework. I’ll chaperone field trips, I’ll remember to sign the slips. I’ll plan date nights with my husband and my children, too. I’ll make organic meals, I’ll keep the house clean, and I won’t spit venom at my family when they mess it up again.
I will love my children for who they are, not comparing them to somebody else or expecting them to be someone other than the person God designed. I will train and nurture and love with intention.
I want to.
I wish so badly that I could.
And yet I know—tomorrow I will mess up again. You will mess up again. We’ll forget water bottles and backpacks. We’ll run late for school. We’ll snap and scold, we’ll get tired. We’ll turn our attention to Facebook instead of our children’s faces.
We will all continue parenting from this place of imperfection because we are human, not God.
And that’s not a bad thing.
Because our imperfection leads us to seek One who can do it better. One who is smarter and kinder and more full of grace. And the Bible says he will give us the power of his strength, his wisdom, his guidance and love. Imagine what we can do with that! With God, we can finally tackle those nasty women we become when we’re angry, worried, distracted, fatigued, selfish, perfectionist and discontent—those alter-egos of motherhood, the force behind all our mess-ups and mom guilt.
So you want to get it right this school year? Me, too! Me, too!
But we can’t.
“With your help I can run through a barricade; with my God I can scale a wall . . . It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect” (Psalm 18:29, 32).
My book, The SuperMom Myth: Conquering the Dirty Villains of Motherhood, explores our ugly emotions and strongholds as mothers and offers victory over them through faith in God. This is not a book about how to raise kids; it’s about raising moms. With relatable stories and careful application of scripture, I hope to encourage and inspire moms everywhere to rise up against the villains that beat us down, and to learn to love our families—and ourselves—the way God intended.
Today I’m happy to tell you that The SuperMom Myth is now available for pre-order on Amazon. The book will officially release in stores on December 1, but you can claim your copy now. In a few weeks I’ll announce some valuable bonus gifts and giveaways for anyone who pre-orders one or more copies, so be sure to save your Amazon e-mail receipt! You won’t be eligible for the bonus goodies without one.
Remember, we’re in this together, moms. You, me, and our Heavenly Father who would never leave a water bottle sitting on the kitchen counter. I confess that after my kinderbeaner got settled at her desk for the day, I ran back home for her bottle then sped back to school where the kind office ladies let me sneak it into my daughter’s lunch bag in the hallway. What can I say—I’m still a neurotic mother.
And of course afterwards, when I returned home for the second time that morning, guess what I saw hanging over a dining room chair?
Heaven help me. I think I need to read my own book.