Do you ever feel like you just aren’t cutting it as a parent?
Deep in the back of my mind is a LONG list of the things I “should” be doing as a parent or ways I could parent better. My default is to see what I am not doing versus recognize all that I am doing. Over time I have learned to give myself more grace to be gentle toward myself in my weaknesses. But sometimes I encounter too many of my “shoulds” and “coulds” at once, and I feel myself buckling under the weight of not measuring up.
Last week was one of those times. I felt like I wasn’t being present enough with my children. I was concerned we weren’t helping them enough in their relationships with God. The list went on and grew throughout the day. Then, in the evening, my daughter shared some needs she had that we weren’t meeting, and my husband shared some things he was concerned about regarding the kids and our parenting. My mind and body felt heavy, discouraged, overwhelmed.
When these moments hit, I am so tempted to rise up, attempt to solve every problem that I see, and somehow perform my way into being a better parent. The problem with this is that often my solutions are not God-inspired and my efforts are more human striving than anything else. I have discovered that instead of trying to fix the problems, a more effective course of action is to connect with God, receive His comfort in my discouragement, and listen for what His perspective is on the situation.
The next morning I sat on my bed, put on some calming music, and just sat with the Lord. I started by thinking about a sweet memory I was thankful for, which helped get me to a good relational place where I could sense God’s presence. I stayed on the memory that had come to mind with Him by my side (this was super relaxing.) After quite some time of enjoying this moment with Him, I shared the things that were weighing on me, and I listened to what He had to say. As thoughts came into my mind, they were just what I needed, and they brought peace. God did bring some adjustment that I needed in order to continue growing as a parent, but there was hope in that adjustment and not the condemnation I had been feeling the night before.
I left my time with the Lord with a very different perspective on the situation – I left with God’s perspective. I was encouraged, I knew what was needed on my part to see some improvement with the areas where we were struggling with our kids, and I felt grace to make the adjustments He told me to. But, in truth, most of the things I was convinced I needed to do better the day before, I had totally forgotten about.
Parenting is hard, and I think it often leaves us all feeling out of our league and not fully competent. But the good news is that we are never alone in this journey. God is right by our side. He comforts us when we feel discouraged, He provides the perspective we need, and He gives us the guidance to move forward.
If you are in a season feeling like you aren’t enough or somehow you are making too many mistakes as a mama, I encourage you to draw near to Him, share your heart, and listen for His words of life, comfort, and guidance. If you could use help with this, check out our Encouragement for Maxed Out Moms series. In sessions 2 and 3 Jen guides you through an exercise that will help you to connect with God’s heart and hear his voice.