Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mommy guilt

I love to read inspirational stories. Stories about people who have overcome obstacles or who make mistakes and recover from them. I like stories where people find themselves in unexpected situations that turn out to be blessings-in-disguise. I see a lot of these going around facebook and I sometimes get them in my e-mail  They encourage and inspire me. I especially love stories that are written from a mom's perspective to other mom's to lift them up. A favorite that I have seen lately and even shared the link on my facebook page is this one from Short Stop. Check it out, it's a good read.

But, as much as I like those, there are some others that make me cringe. They're written with the intent of being encouraging, of reminding moms about the important things in life. They talk about stopping to smell the roses, about enjoying your children while they're young, about valuing people over things. All good things that we DO need to be reminded of from time to time. But beneath the pretty words and the sweet pictures they paint, they all say the same thing to me-"You're not doing it right." If I don't immediately drop everything to look at the watercolor rainbow my child painted, I've wasted a precious moment that I can never get back. If I don't allow my child as much time as she needs to pick an outfit for church even if it causes us to be late, I've rushed her and taken away her joy.If I put my child to bed and without reading the 10th "just one more story", I'm gong to regret it because someday they won't want me to read them bedtime stories anymore...

I read through these stories and poems looking for encouragement, but all I feel by the end is guilt. I remember all the things I didn't do right and I feel guilty because I can't change them. I don't get a do-over. I've messed up my kids and there's nothing I can do about it. I can try to do better tomorrow, but I'll probably just mess it up again.

 Instead of feeling inspired and uplifted, I feel used up and worn out. Am I the only one?

Some of my friends have lovingly teased me about being "super mom" or the "model parent". Believe me, I am FAR from being either of those. I mess up. I yell (*gasp*). I'm impatient, I don't always want to have the kids with me 24/7. I don't always listen to their stories or love when they bring me a handful of dandelions to put in a plastic cup on the windowsill. I'M NOT SUPERMOM.

But there's good news for me (and for you). God didn't call me to be supermom. He knew that I would have shortcomings and failures. He knew I would mess it up. He knew that I would never be able to do it right. But, it's okay.I don't have to do it all right because where my weaknesses lie, God's power takes over.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, " But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

What a relief! I don't have to strive to be the perfect mother with the perfect children anymore. I don't have to pretend to be strong and to have it all together when I don't. All I have to do is the best I can and let God take care of the rest. 

So, I'm off to turn in my Supermom cape. I don't need it anymore. Who's coming with me?


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