Tonight I was laying in bed thinking about something that had nagged at my heart for years. Recently my little girl turned seven. Seven was a big leap for us. She actually opened her presents at her birthday party with grace and patience telling each person thank you. Normally she bursts into our home ready to play games with me. This time, she went home and put them away and asked to play with her friend Zoe online.
I felt Mom guilt for not enjoying playing in the traditional sense…
Which brings me to tonight, reminiscing all those sweet days when day after day, hour after hour I heard those little words, “Mom, come play with me!!”. For her it was always My Little Pony or Barbie, and she never wanted to play really, more like order me around about pretend this or pretend that. But here’s the thing. I never really loved to sit down and play with her. Stick with me here before you think I’m a mean mom or a mom trying to lay the guilt on myself. I had to set timers for 15 minutes to sit still and play. I can’t explain it. I’ll never forget one day another mom I knew confessed to me she spent the whole day playing Legos with her son. I remember her saying she “got lost in the fun”. To be honest I was a little weirded out, then, yep, guilty. When was the last time I got lost in the fun of Legos with myyyyy kid?
How my mindset shifted…
But that’s ok and that’s where my mindset has shifted.
Because I can think of MANY times I’ve got lost in the fun with her baking. Or at the park. Or watching her piddle around the house. I can think of times reading her books and tearing up and times holding her little body at the doctor’s office and wanting SO bad to switch bodies for the day. I can think of moments I felt so proud my heart would jump out of my chest and moments I felt so much love I wanted to yell!
I’ve also had moments where I wanted to flee my home in the middle of tantrums. Moments when the dark closet looked like a better spot than standing in front of the piles of dishes from lunch. Or moments when I swore that if those clothes didn’t get picked up in five minutes I was bagging them up for Goodwill! I’ve yelled, I’ve made mistakes, I’ve disciplined wrong, I’ve wished for redo’s.
“I’m the person who brought her into this world, protected her and nourished her and kept her safe the first years, and am preparing her for adulthood. Every moment we’ve had is a storybook, a journey, this unfolding thing that is both terrifying at times and glorious.”
Recently, my daughter has started asking me how old I am. Why I’m getting wrinkles. What would happen if I died. I wondered about these things when it dawned on me. I’m her MOM. She’s my daughter. This is something profound. Something so simple and clear but something so mysterious and wild I cannot wrap my head around it. She doesn’t want me to die because I cannot be replaced. I’m the person who brought her into this world, protected her and nourished her and kept her safe the first years, and am preparing her for adulthood. Every moment we’ve had is a storybook, a journey, this unfolding thing that is both terrifying at times and glorious.
Through it all, and by God’s grace, I’ve come to realize God appointed ME to raise my kids. Not because I’m great or perfect. Not someone else better at playing Legos with five year olds. Me! With all my quirks and shortcomings and failures, me with all my love for adventure souch I struggle to stick with anything, busyness, and fear of missing out (FOMO for those of you who don’t know). Recovering helicopter mom, hot mess mom, lady who breastfeeds until my kids say “boobies”, Mom who never got her kids to sleep in their cribs until 18 months- ME! Mom with the temper who says the SH+& word here and there. Mom with occasional anxiety. Mom who sometimes stress eats. Yep, all of that. They adore their Mom and I freaking adore them.
To give myself a little credit here, I am pretty great at some things. Like I am decent at making sure these kids see the sunlight often, I could spend days and days playing with them at the museum or library, and nothing in the worlds beats a Saturday morning cuddle session with these girls for me. I make homemade pancakes sometimes and even have fun sandwich cutouts. And I actually love play-doh and slime. That’s fun stuff. One of my favorite things is reading to my kids. I could get lost in that.
“You are enough. Because God is enough.”
But that isn’t the point of this post. The point is that I want to encourage other moms like me that your gifts, your lacking, and your entire makeup is exactly what God had in mind when he picked you to be the mother of your children. You are enough. Because God is enough.
I’ll use some scripture to back up my post:
Psalm 139: 13-17
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand'” (1 Chronicles 29:14)
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:11-12).
God sees our unborn before we do, he knows them, knits them, gives them a plan, generously gives us our babies and the life in them, choses us, works out our lives, and gives us so much hope. It is glorious. I could go on and on right here even on the faith of our children, but that’s for another post.
What I’m trying to say is as a new mom I was ready to rock the Mom Life. I read books and blogs and articles and compared myself to other mom’s way more than I studied the above scriptures for motherhood. God used some dark times in my life to illuminate his goodness and sovereignty over my life… the loss of a baby, anxiety, and the grip of letting go of control.
“I felt compassion and a sense of belonging with and for other moms, not jealousy. Suddenly I was able to see myself in a more honest light.”
When I was able to let go and trust God, I stopped comparing as much. I looked vertically more than horizontally, at God more than my peers. I felt compassion and a sense of belonging with and for other moms, not jealousy. Suddenly I was able to see myself in a more honest light. In earnest I apologized a lot more to my kids and meant it. And most importantly, I felt less guilty about what I wasn’t doing and more joy about what I GOT to do. I finally could see what a gift this is, how God is enough to supply my needs as a parent to my children, and that when I fail he is sanctifying me for the benefit of my relationship with Christ and with my kids.
Parenting is not just something we do, not just a position to hit out of the park.
It’s a relationship. One that goes beyond the office hours and one that cannot and shouldn’t be marked only with accolades and stars.
I love my kids with all my heart. Yet I’m incredibly limited in my energy, thoughts, and abilities. It’s humbling and hopeful to remember that God has put me in this privileged role… he’s showing me the path to do this. The same God who ran to his beloved prodigal son, the God who is not lacking energy, thoughts, or affections, that God is my Father, and the Father of my children. If that doesn’t spring up great encouragement for me as a Mom I don’t know what will!
Mom’s, today be encouraged that in Christ you are enough, the perfect parent for your children, and exactly who God intended to raise them. Let the guilt go and let God fill you with joy and encouragement. You’ve got this because He’s got this!!
How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Psalm 139:17
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” – Psalm 127:3-5
“We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19