Beth and Priscilla’s conversation about motherhood yesterday was wonderful. Beth’s words were so encouraging and real, and I bet every mama out there breathed a little breath of thankfulness for what she shared. Yes, “parenting by faith” strikes a chord when you feel like a failure in this motherhood business. I still need that word, even at this stage of my parenting journey.
Beth’s words about being “real” reminded me of a time when I ran across a diary from years ago that I’d tucked away. I was having one of those kinds of days when I found it. I’d pretty much blown it as a mother that day and was feeling very low.
One entry in particular caught my eye. It was dated August 19, 1997. Our son, Grayson, was only three and a half, and our girls were still in grade school.
It read . . .
“Today as I pulled Gray in the wagon to meet Lauren after school, he said to me, “Ya know, Mom, you’re da goodest mom I evah seen!”
I laid the diary down and pictured that boy as he used to be in his little denim overalls, with wispy blonde hair, blue eyes and pudgy fingers hanging on to the sides of the red Radio Flyer. I instantly got a lump in my throat. Not just for the sweetness of that time in life, but for the journey that has been Motherhood for me.
When I started out as a new mother, I was filled with awe and a sense of destiny in being Someone’s Mom. And while I’ve never really lost that awe, the reality of raising children amidst the stresses of life has sometimes knocked the stuffing out of me. There have been days, like the day I found the old diary, that I’ve felt failure closing in around me. I couldn’t seem to do anything right, and I’ve wanted to give up on the whole business of parenting.
But those simple words from long ago made me remember what it means to be a Mom. I’m never going to get the prize for “Bestest Mom.” I rarely get ahead of the laundry and my meals are one-skillet-wonders, not gourmet creations. I’m often forgetful and impatient, distracted and disorganized. My kids know what it’s like to wear mismatched socks and eat breakfast cereal for dinner.
But “Goodest Mom.” Now, that’s something, there. Goodest Mom means that even if you’re not June Cleaver, you’re still just the kind of Mom your kids need. It means that God knew what He was doing when He put your family together. It means that your kids feel loved and that they know they belong to this little operation you’ve got going on. There’s something warm and accepting about the Goodest Mom label.
Maybe it helps not to be called the “Worstest Mom,” but being in the Goodest category means that a Mom doesn’t have to be perfect to raise great kids. The passing of time has given me perspective on those years of hard work, family fun and even the self-doubt. I’ve experienced the mystery of prayer, the challenge of working things out and the beauty of grace in an imperfect family.
I’d love to go back in time for just a moment, so I could tell myself to lighten up a little bit. To stop worrying about being the Bestest, and just work on being the Goodest. Our kids haven’t needed Perfection, they’ve just needed Real. And maybe in the end, that’s what being the best kind of Mom is all about.
Today I’m going to celebrate the good things that have happened in our family, and I’m going to embrace the imperfections that keep us dependent on a faithful God. I’m going to enjoy knowing that, in spite of everything, my kids still think I’m the Goodest Mom./p
pI’m grateful for the journey and awed by the privilege.
How about you? Will you embrace the imperfections and grace that today will bring? Listen, God didn’t make any mistakes when He put your family together . . . YOU are the Mom your kids need. Enjoy being “Goodest” and leave the rest to Him.