“The beauty of true love is always painted with tenacious tints of sacrifice and humble hues of surrender.” -Alicia Bruxvoort
I remember holding my brand new baby who constantly screamed and wondered if the saying “kids are hard but so worth it” was actually true. Being a new mom, ridden with anxiety, I loved my baby, but I honestly didn’t really like her. While I am way past the wondering of if kids are worth it, because hands down without a doubt they are, I am still plagued by mommy guilt and the questioning if I am messing up my kiddo. There are day’s I wonder what business I have as being mom to one, soon to be two kids. There are days the mommy guilt strikes so hard that I tell my husband at night “I have messed up so many times today, there isn’t a chance I am not messing up our daughter.”
I think mommy guilt is something all of us mom’s struggle with. Satan tells us lies whether it be:
“You are not spending enough time with them.”
“You spend too much time with them, don’t you know you will spoil them?”
“You are neglecting them.”
“You mess up too much, they will be ruined for life.”
“You don’t feed them healthy enough.”
“You must not love them if you don’t buy everything natural and organic, don’t you know you will make them sick?”
“You shouldn’t work away from home.”
“You should work away from home.”
“You have no clue how to do this mothering thing, you are a failure.”
I believe he attacks us in whatever weakness we have. He plants seeds of doubt in our head, and then we begin to look at other moms around us. What are they doing? They seem to know exactly what to do. Or they do it this way I should do it that way. The guilt only multiplies when we compare ourselves to others. The truth of the matter is, we are all trying to do the very best we can at this motherhood thing. The other truth is, what works for one family may not work for the next. To be stuck in the comparison trap only feeds the guilt we as mom’s place on ourselves. I have heard it said, “go with your gut in motherhood. You know as a mom what you need and you know your kids better than anyone else.” Sure we may feel absolutely clueless at what we are doing, but God has given us mothers intuition to know exactly how to raise our kids.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 10:24
What a promise I cling to each day. I feel so weak in the motherhood arena, but that is exactly where God can use us. We may feel weak and inadequate, like we are totally messing up our kids, but God steps in and says “no, in your weakness, my power will rest on you. Lean on me and I will help you.” Motherhood is messy, it takes work and effort. It’s hard and tiring no matter what stage you are in, but like the quote I started with, true love is painted with sacrifice and surrender. Each day in motherhood we sacrifice something whether is be time, money, energy, our dreams. We surrender our desires to the well being of our children. We surrender our pride and ask God and our children to forgive us….again. In that surrender and difficulty though, we find true love and beauty.
Yes, us moms, we mess up. Our kids mess up. We are all sinners in need of God’s grace and mercy. Our kids will misbehave and make us feel like we are failing at this parenting thing because they aren’t “perfect.” Instead of focusing on the misbehavior as a result of a parenting fail, because we all misbehave, I am trying to view my daughter’s imperfections and misbehaviors as a blessing because I can shine the gospel to her. I can lean on Christ’s strength in my weakness; to lift me out of the belief that I am a failure as a mom and into the likeness of him to shine God’s love to her. I can breathe easier because instead of blaming myself for falling short at being a mom, I can grasp the truth that we are all imperfect. I shouldn’t expect my kid to be perfect. It is not a reflection of who I am as a parent, but who we are as humans. I can choose to be the adult and cling to patience, unconditional love, and discipline to teach my kids who Christ is. I can refocus my goal on raising “perfect kids” that make me look good, to kids who proclaim God’s goodness in their lives.
I don’t know how to ever get past mommy guilt and the fact that we may feel completely clueless as mothers many times. I think satan will always be on our shoulder telling us we fail, or are not doing good enough. I do however think if we refocus our view and know our kids are not perfect, were never designed to be perfect, we can give ourself some grace. The greatest and most rewarding things in life are tough, hard, and require some serious effort and surrender. Motherhood is beautiful. Raising kids is such a blessing and incredible job. Let’s not let satan steal our joy and make us believe we aren’t doing good. Our kids don’t need to be perfect and neither do we. Christ’s strength rests upon us when we surrender to our imperfections and embrace his grace.
Photo credit: Kasey Roth Photography