Friday evening I had another crazy-lady meltdown, listing the following failures...
- failing at taking care of our home
- failing at helping our boys get along
- failing at loving them well
- failing at teaching respect/obedience
I looked at my husband. Knowing he was just as sick as I was hearing this familiar rant. I asked him to tell me everything he thought I'm doing wrong as a mom. I told him I REALLY wanted to know. Because, in my mind, I assumed he was thinking all these things and just not telling me. So I'd rather he told me everything he was frustrated about and I could just start working harder on those things (I told you..."crazy lady rant"!).
He said, "Why should I tell you? You aren't going to believe me?"
I promised him I could handle it. I'd believe him.
He simply responded, "First you tell me 10 things you do well."
I stared at him blankly. I couldn't. I couldn't come up with even one good thing.
He says, "That's what I think is wrong. You are too hard on yourself. You are a wonderful mom. You work soooo hard to get it right."
(at this point I was in tears, mind you)
"Heather, NO ONE has it right. No matter what you read or what you think. There isn't some magical formula out there. You aren't going to ever get it right. So just relax. Chill out."
I bluntly replied, "I don't know how. I don't know how not to care. Not to try. Not to expect to pursue doing everything the best way possible. I don't know how to be okay with 'okay'."
Do you struggle with thinking one day you will have this parenting thing all figured out? Assuming you will finally learn the secret to keeping your home in exquisite order, while engaging your children in educational activities, training them to love & respect others, and enjoy the entire process?
If you are the type of woman who totally understands exactly what I just described, I want to give you a "get out of jail free" card. Because those expectations of perfection have imprisoned me and you.
Every day that I assume perfection in each area of my life is attainable, I am believing a lie. I'm trapped in an unattainable goal. I'm locked in a cell of my own creation. Frustrated. Desiring what everyone else has.
For today, take the "get out of jail free" card. Attempt to "chill out" with me. Instead of trying to do & be what you think every other mom is able to do and be, just rest in being the mom God created you to be. For today.
While reading "Practicing the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence, I thought of being a God-centered mom. Brother Lawrence discovered joy in the mundane by focusing on enjoying God's presence. It was him and God. Just him and God.
When my mind starts to create that jail cell and think of all the things I "should" be doing if I was a good mom and picturing other moms doing it perfectly, I want to stop myself. Instead I want to picture just me & God. Just be in His presence. Realize being fully present with God is all that matters.
In His presence is fullness of joy. In His presence I am free to love my children with His love. In His presence what other's think of me does not matter. In His presence I am perfect and free just as He intended me to be. Free.
"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1
As part of your "freedom" today, I give you full permission to sit on the couch with your kiddos (if they are over 2 years old) and watch the movie "Cars". To take away any "mommy guilt"...here is a discussion guide I wrote over at The MOB Society: "Cars" Discussion Guide (pride & humility of Lightning McQueen).
***note: after writing this post, we were at a pool and my 4-year-old son was playing on a railing. He fell on to the concrete hitting the back of his head. My husband took him to our new favorite emergency room, Highland Park ER, and checked him out. Seeing a picture of my son in a CT Scanner will shake you and bring you to your knees.
Fortunately the scan was normal. He was diagnosed with a concussion. He is hopefully going to be fine. In this moment, perfection seems so unimportant. Life. Being fully present in life and kisses those sweet babies. That's all that matters to me tonight.