I have had the privilege of living all over the country.
Each state I have lived holds a place in my heart.
I feel like I have "sisters" in each city where we've lived.
(and all over the country now that many of those sisters have moved to different places).
I've kept in touch with my sisters and, when I'm lucky, I get to catch up with them over the phone.
I've noticed recently that one thread seems to be common among all of these wonderful and talented mothers:
We beat ourselves up about our lack of perfection in the realm of motherhood.
Let's dissect this a little bit:
I know that I'm not expected to be the perfect cook.
Or the perfect writer.
Or the perfect Christian.
But for some reason,
often times when I fall short as a mother (which is on the daily),
I tend to beat myself up:
'My kids deserve better.'
'I can't believe I lost my temper (again)!'
'I'm not cut out for this.'
'I'll never figure this mothering thing out.'
Why do we do this?
I have a couple of theories:
First, our children are so near and dear to our hearts that we want to give them the best life possible and the thought of parenting them in a less-than-ideal way is painful.
we think our children shouldn't have to go through challenging experiences.
That they shouldn't have to suffer.
and that under no circumstances should I ever be the cause of their suffering.
But when we really and truly analyze that thought-----
it's kind of ridiculous.
Of course they should have trials.
Of course they should suffer.
That is how all of us learn and grow.
And guess what?
I'm going to be the reason for some of my children's suffering.
You are going to be the reason for some of your children's suffering.
In fact, it's part of the plan, mama.
Because none of us is perfect.
We aren't supposed to be.
If we were supposed to be perfect in order to become parents,
our species would have become extinct a long time ago.
God doesn't expect me to be perfect.
He doesn't expect you to be perfect.
So you shouldn't expect you to be perfect, either.
Our children will most certainly learn just as many life lessons from our weaknesses as they will from our strengths.
Somehow, that knowledge is comforting to me, not disheartening.
Knowing that I don't have to be perfect helps me let go of the guilt.
Because you know what feeling guilty makes me want to do?
Or blame someone.
Like my children.
Let's say I show up as a less-than-ideal mom.
then I feel guilty about it.
that leads me to find someone to blame.
So I blame my children ('If they'd just behave I wouldn't have to yell!'),
and I end up showing up once again as a less-than-ideal mom.
It's a nasty cycle.
But what if we took the mistakes that we make as moms,
and instead of feeling guilty about them,
we use them as data.
And drop the drama and guilt.
'I lost my temper today with my tween.'
'What was I thinking when I yelled at him?'
'Next time he acts that way, how do I want to feel instead?'
'How do I want to respond instead?'
Resisting the urge to spin out in guilt and shame can help you take control of your emotions and learn from your mistakes.
And then make a choice that feels more like love next time.
Drop the guilt, mama.
It's not helping you become the mom you want to be.