Happy Mother’s Day to all of you beautiful, loving, precious mamas! Your kids are blessed to have you as their mama. The simple fact that you are reading this blog shows your desire to be the best mother you can be for your crew. It also shows your desire to use relational skills in parenting to raise loving, resilient, well adjusted adults (and it’s ok if you need a little encouragement to keep your sanity in the midst of chaos.)
I don’t know about you, but I frequently feel frustrated with myself for the ways I am falling short. That’s right, I have been intentionally practicing relational skills for 20+ years, and I still mess up (daily!) When learning and practicing relational skills, there is never going to be a moment when you have “arrived.” It is a lifelong journey – just like motherhood.
Sometimes I find myself comparing my parenting to those around me and thinking, “I wish I was more flexible like ___” or “Look at ___, she is such a playful mom, I wish I was more like her.” I am realizing we all have strengths and weaknesses, and often our strengths are related to our weaknesses. For instance, I am organized and enjoy having some structure to our routine as a family and feel satisfied when I have a plan. But this gift of organization and planning lends itself to a weakness: I am not good at being flexible and carefree. When I compare my weaknesses to another mom’s strengths, I will always feel like I am coming up short.
I wrestle with the idea that I am not enough for my family or enough for the ministry and someone else would be better at either of those jobs. I find myself pouring my heart out to Jesus during my quiet time and seeking His perspective because I have lost my peace. You might be surprised to know that the answer I get is, “I am not enough – because I am not supposed to be!”
As Moms we give our all to our family, but our all is not supposed to be enough. Our family is not designed to have all of their needs met by us! Hopefully, we have a supportive and loving husband parenting with us, but even as a couple we are not enough. Our job as parents is to bring other trusted influences into our kids’ lives who can love on them and teach them about growing up in a community of people who love them. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, caregivers, friends, mentors and spiritual family all play a crucial role in providing the joy, love, skills, time and attention our kids need. Above all, leading our children to know the God who is always with us will give them peace and relational connection they need – even in the times when no other person is available.
So on this Mother’s Day (and every day,) give yourselves some grace. We are loving our kids the best we can. And our imperfect examples and efforts to repair when things go wrong are preparing our kids to recover from whatever life throws at them in an imperfect world.