Some parenting advice, on Mother's Day:
The reason I was compelled to write this, in the waning of the day, is that in the space of thirty minutes online, I read two blog posts: one from the male, another from the female perspective, one e-zine article [female], and two very high-profile pastors' sermons [both male] for Mother’s Day. Each covered the topic of how to be a BETTER parent!
Yeah, because mothers everywhere need more of that. More advice, more admonishing, more rebuking. More lectures on what she should be doing, what she shouldn’t be doing, what she’s never even considered, but is still doing wrong, or not enough, or entirely too much. More ways to wake up every morning, knowing that by the time she rests for the night, she will have failed her child in a million different, tiny ways. More ways to look in the mirror and fight the tears because she’s not the mom she wants so very much to be. More standards to which she should hold herself; more unattainable goals to reach for. More striving to become who she is not.
And I found myself asking, rather forcefully: When do we get to give ourselves a break? When do moms get to get off the guilt-go-round and recognize that God (Giver of all good and perfect things, Author of life, and the Creator who made you uniquely you, and Who delights in that very creation) gave us our kids for a purpose?
Because, as the omniscient, omnibenevolent, all-perfect being, God knows what You being their mom means: what gifts you'll give, what investments through sacrifice, what perspectives and lessons you'll teach. Not the mom in your bible study, who always has it together, not the mom who’s raised her kids so “successfully.” Not even the bloggess whose world, even though quasi-transparent, is so much more holy and perfect than your own could ever be.
God picked you to be the mom to your kids. You have been endowed with qualities that specifically make you, and only you, right for this very purpose. I can’t tell you the why; though I suspect, deep down, you already know that yourself. There is something about you, that will draw out of your children a light, a spark, an unflagging and singular character that is them. And no one else.
Not one of us is the perfect mom. If ever she existed, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die. But she, this Mom de Perfection, is a work of fiction. A lie bent on making us doubt, making us feel unworthy, making us work to change the very things about ourselves which cause us to be the best version of mom we can be.
Find that thing, that one which makes you that Mom. The woman specifically designed and chosen for your kids. And don’t let anyone, not anyone, take it away from you, or tell you that you’re doing the mom thing all wrong. Because when you inhabit the person you were made to be, and live all your life radiating out from that place, you’re glorifying the One who made you so.
This is a clip from the movie, Evening, in which Claire Danes, a young mother, striving to live the perfect-Mom life, sings a lullaby. I don't remember much else from the film [so this isn't a blanket endorsement], but I know that I re-played this scene over and over, finding comfort in her un-perfectness and how she abandoned the things-that-everyone-else-thinks-need-doing to be herself with her daughters.