Have you ever had those days where you feel like everything is working out? You slept well the night before. You woke up before your kids and actually got a hot cup of coffee down. Your hair falls exactly the right way and your favorite cracker barrel t-shirt is wearing just right (okay, that last one might be all me). But it’s amazing, right? I know those days are few and far between but aren’t they glorious? Of course they are! Those are the type of days when people without kids start to fantasize about what it would be like, saying things like, “Wouldn’t it be nice to start a family? Let’s have one boy and one girl, exactly 18 months apart so they always have a friend. It will be so nice and so perfect and we will be #blessed.” Bless their hearts, but they really have no idea what they are in for.
Anyone who has a child knows that most days are hard. Like watching a season finale of Grey’s Anatomy hard, and there is no sugar coating it ever. The truth is that although social media doesn’t show it, 95% of the time you won’t feel #blessed at all. In fact, you’ll probably feel #haventshoweredindays or #cantgetmycraptogether or maybe even #isitwinetimeyet. And guess what, that’s okay because I’ve come to realize that we’re not supposed to.
Don’t Believe the Lie
Don’t buy the lie.
Somewhere along the way, women were fed a lie that motherhood was supposed to be easy. That if you were doing it right you would be organized and patient, graceful and pretty, and that everything would just come naturally. That we were supposed to somehow look put together with perfectly behaved children in matching outfits and clean t-shirts. And that we would already know everything we were supposed to know and that would be that.
Don’t buy the lies, people. Sure, those are all amazing goals to have, but after having four children over the last 17 years, I am learning that motherhood is supposed to be messy. I don’t think it was ever meant to look neat and tidy. You won’t always have the answers you need or feel #blessed. Motherhood will pull you apart and put you back together all in the same day. It will exhaust you yet motivate you, and it will fill you up and empty you all at once. If you’re doing it right, you will be the teacher and the student all at once, but I promise you that you will both finish far greater than when you started.
Here’s the Truth
I mean, think about it for a minute. What if the goal was not perfection or to feel #blessed at all? What if all of a sudden being the perfect mom was completely off the table. How freeing would that be? How much weight would come off of your shoulders? What if I told you that there were no cookie cutter moms out there, but that you were exactly the type of mom that God knew your little baby would need. And that you in all your uniqueness and imperfections were the perfect one for the job. What if I told you that there was a larger story happening all around you, and that God was painting a picture far greater than us, but that you and I were chosen to take part in it. That each and every one of us was chosen to raise our child at a specific time and that even the most menial tasks were an important part of shaping them into the people they were created to be. What if I told you that not only were you molding these children but that God was using motherhood to mold you? Would you think differently?
See, for me, when I started to think about this, I began to view my job as a mom differently. No longer was the goal to be the most organized mom with the healthiest snacks. But I started to see that all the little things I did were more about shaping my kids into the world-changing adults that they were called to be than it was about being the perfect Mom. That these were the days they would look back on and would draw their strength from in their adult years. And that these years were the foundational blocks that they would one day build their families on. The lessons and love that they receive now will be the same lessons of love they will instill in their children and that not only would they be shaped into the men and women of the future, but they, in turn, would shape their children and that is a ripple that can sow amazing things into the lives of generations to come.
What Our Kids Really Need
I started to realize that it didn’t matter how clean the house was or how nice their shirts were if I wasn’t there with them. Not physically there for them (I know some of ya’ll gotta bring home the bacon) but emotionally and mentally engaged with them. That instead of letting mom guilt rule me and worrying about what other moms thought of me at the playground, I was more focused on interacting with my children. Playing and having fun. That they were loved and cherished and shown all the beautiful things that life and relationships have to offer. That instead of carrying the weight of perfection around all the time I was free and happy and fulfilled knowing that even though I may not see the fruits of my labor today, they mattered and that it’s all part of a bigger plan. I’d take a messy kid and sticky floors any day if it meant an afternoon eating Popsicles and running barefoot in the grass.
I am starting to learn that my kids need me just as I was created to be more than they need the picture-perfect, filtered moms we see on Instagram. They need every lesson and every mess, and even more than that they need to see me being the person I was created to be. They need to see me being molded and shaped and showing grace to myself. Because in the end, that’s all we want for them. To grow up and be happy and to embrace who God created them to be. To show themselves grace when they fail and to learn from their mistakes and move forward. We need to stop believing the lies so that in turn they will stop believing the lies and maybe, one day, children will grow up in a world where those lies don’t exist.
This is the way it’s supposed to be, and I think that if we can all embrace motherhood for all of its chaos and mess and stop buying the lies, we will see an amazing thing start to happen in the lives of women all across the world.
No other job can transform you quite like motherhood can. No other job will require you to give everything of yourself while expecting nothing in return, and no other job can have an effect on the world quite like motherhood can. But if we can learn let go of self-imposed expectations and our preconceived notions and learn to accept all that motherhood really is, then I think we may actually start to become #blessed.
Don’t miss these articles on letting go of mom guilt and living a #gritandgracelife:
To the Mom Who Feels Like It Never Ends
Dear SAHM: I See You and Want You to Know These 8 Things
Welcome to Holland. A Message Every Mom Needs
Is it Time to Stop Entertaining Your Kids?
A Little Encouragement When Motherhood is Disappointing
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