“Confident moms are unmoved by their children’s misbehavior” writes Jill Savage in chapter 3 of No More Perfect Moms. Dear friends, some days I am as easy to move as an empty cardboard box . My fuse is short and I yell or place blame.Then I turn around and realize I never taught my kids that expectation or that I threw my coat on the couch too.
This darn book is messing with my identity. You, you with the clean house, you were the perfectionist and I, well I had diabetes and low stamina but not that disease. Now I know I have perfectionist issues too. A few pages earlier I read, “Relationships are sometimes so complicated. Why? It’s because we are dealing with imperfect people. And what do we naturally want to do with imperfect people? We want to change them! However, if we work to change another person, it’s likely that we love ourselves more than we love that person. Ouch. ”
Let me tell you what I believe. I believe all kids are treasures, not because of what they can or can’t do, but because God made them. I believe mistakes help us learn. I believe trials strengthen faith and should not be avoided at all costs. I believe criticism, said with a harsh tone, is never helpful. I don’t believe the appearance of a child reflects on the strength of character of the mother (in fact I admire moms who can let their kids express themselves in unique clothing ensembles). When kids make mistakes, act rudely, or forget to say thank you, I do not assume the child is a barbarian or that their parents are failing. I want to be a mom who says yes to experiences and not avoids them because they are messy, inconvenient, or could, in 5% of cases, result in injury. I want to be the mom who plays with her kids. And when I die, I do not want to be remembered for my temper, my impatience, the 100 little rules I had regarding behavior. I want to be remembered as a lover of Jesus and of people.
That said, here’s the some times reality:
- I get mad at my kids and yell (with a harsh tone) when they fight too much. Because I don’t how to solve the issues. I never had siblings.
- I get grumpy when they call my name every 30 seconds for help but I get mad when they don’t do chores or school work “to the best of their ability” (sometimes the translation of this phrase is perfectly).
- I expect them to be neater and more organized than I am some days.
- Sometimes I feel embarrassed over their choice of outfits or bad hairdos some days. I work really hard to hold my tongue but then I still whisper an excuse to another mom or the cashier.
- Some nights I am so tired I don’t think I can stand to be around my kids for five more minutes.
- I’ve never agreed to play Barbies with my girls or almost any other pretend game with plastic things. I cannot stand playing Barbie.
- I rescue my kids instead of letting them learn. I’ve brought lunch to school (4 times) when it was forgotten. I’ve fixed poorly made beds. I’ve dabbed paint on school projects here and there after they went to bed and one time, before posting a picture of one my girls on my blog, I almost used a touch up feature on her skin (oh I do not want to send this message to her).
I will never be a perfect mom. Neither will you. I do not make these mistakes daily. Neither do you. But if we only post our successes and carefully posed photos of our kids, other moms might suspect we are perfect. If I share my imperfections, maybe you will know that you are not alone in your slip-ups. And we can hold hands and pray together instead of letting Satan tell us we are doing a bad job. Let’s grab hold of 1 Cor 13 and repeat it to ourselves the next time our children mess up: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs….It always protects, always hopes, always perseveres.” Let’s decide to give our mothering and children’s weaknesses to God, trust him, and rejoice in all the “brain growing” opportunities their lack of perfection creates.