When a Good (Enough) Mom Is Great
I’m not a good mom.
You might disagree with me, but I know the truth. No matter what it may look like, I’m pretty sure I’m messing up as a mom. Not just a little bit, but constantly.
It’s the secret whisper of doubt that haunts me.
I feel like I’m not a good mom.
When my first child was born and I heard his tiny cries for the very first time, the only thing I could think was that he sounded exactly like a howler monkey. I’m pretty sure good moms don’t think that.
When I had two in diapers, we had more days than paychecks. I counted diapers and prayed we had enough. I’m pretty sure good moms keep an extra case on hand for just such an emergency.
When both kids were finally in school and I was finally “free” for a few hours, I celebrated. I didn’t shed a single tear at the boo-hoo breakfast. I’m pretty sure the good moms were the ones who cried the hardest.
If I listen to the doubts, then I can end up so filled with shame and fear that I just can’t function.
The truth is, that when I start thinking of myself as “not a good mom” then I quickly lose the capacity to BE a good mom. I end up focused on my own inner mess and have little room to focus on my kids.
When that happens, I have three different strategies that help…
Fake it. When I’m tempted to wallow in self-doubt, sometimes a little peer pressure can help. Some of my very best mothering has happened at the park where other moms are watching. I may be faking it on the inside, but it helps. Living up to that peer pressure can help you prove to yourself that you have the capacity to be a good mom.
Celebrate it. I have a treasure box of random objects. They aren’t much to look at, but each one has a story to go with it. Each story represents a mothering moment of awesomeness. Remembering past achievements can help balance out any lingering memory of those less than awesome moments.
Pray it. Ultimately, being a great mom requires more than me. It takes me plus God. Whether I’m seeking wisdom (or endurance), laying my worries on the altar, or asking for more spiritual fruit in my life, mothering takes prayer. When I’m overwhelmed with feelings of being a bad mom, it’s probably because I haven’t spent enough time in prayer. Tapping into God’s power is the secret to being the mom you want to be.
So what are my two most frequent prayers? I’m sharing the ones that help the most when I’m feeling like I’m not a good (enough) mom in hopes that they help you as much as they help me.
Lord, help me. I have no idea how to parent right now. Give me the words. Help me find the right balance of grace and consequence. Help me to see the difference between character and capacity.
Father, help me become the mother you would have me be to help my sons grow into the men you would have them become.
Contributed by by Susan Baker
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