To the Mom Who’s Not Perfect

Because I’m someone who holds myself to a high standard, I understand how you feel. Because I’ve failed again and again at important Mom-things, I get you. Because I’ve made being a Great Mom my highest priority and fallen short more days than not, I feel for you. And so I’m writing us both this letter.

A turning point in the Unbearable Guilt Battle happened when I’d been a mom for about two years. My oldest (poor, poor guinea pig that she is) had dumped a bottle of shampoo into the tub, and I’d screamed at her. Again. I was feeling sick with guilt and failure and self-hatred. And I wished SO MUCH that these perfect kids, who I loved more than anything, could have a better mom than the one they’d ended up with. As I prayed for forgiveness and direction about it, an Answer came.

The Answer was: “I didn’t plan for Emma and Gabe (and the rest of them waiting up here) to have a Perfect Mom. I didn’t expect it or want it that way. I wanted them to learn against your imperfection. They will not be wrecked because you make these mistakes.”

Oh my gosh. The relief that washed over me, as the truth of that statement sank into my heart, is indescribable. All of sudden I could see that God knew that I couldn’t do this perfectly MY FIRST TIME and He’d planned for it. He’d planned that my children would learn and grow BECAUSE of my failings and flaws, as well as because of my successes and strengths.

There have been many other incidents of failure and the guilt that accompanies it. I’ve continue to gain more offerings of comfort and wisdom during those times. I’ve learned from the scriptures that just as the man who was blind since birth wasn’t at fault, neither was I at fault because I couldn’t see how to parent perfectly. His failings were given him, so “that the works of God should be made manifest” (John 9:3); might my failings have a similar purpose? I’ve also had wise counsel instructing me that as my children watch me pick myself up, and try again, with hope and determination, they would learn more from those actions, than if I hadn’t had faults at all.

Oh please let it be true.

I know my kids will have their moments (years?) when they are frustrated with their mom. I know they will have habits that they hate, because of what they’ve learned from me. But I know that I can look them in the eye and with great love tell them: “There wasn’t a day that went by, as I raised you, that I didn’t plead to God to be better than I was. There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t pray for help in being the mother you deserve.” I will be able to bear my witness that He answered that prayer.

I am the mother that God wanted them to have.

jessica.jpg Jessica Romney lives in Spokane, Washington with her 4 kids and perfect husband. She loves to exercise, cook, blog, read, and be with friends. You can find her at Everyday Romneys.

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15 responses to “To the Mom Who’s Not Perfect

  1. And yet, aren’t there days that you do still wonder why God thinks you can handle all the stuff in your life? It seems, to me anyway, that the “not a good mom” days are the days I doubt everything and how to get it all done. Those are the days I am being asked to not get it all done. To step back and just be. Thank you for a great letter.

  2. Jessica, this was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. You are so inspiring. What you wrote just rang so true to my heart – probably because I’m the most imperfect mom out there. Thank you for sharing it with us. I can’t wait to meet you in real life, girlfriend. You are just amazing.

  3. Jessica, come over and make bows with me and we can talk about this further. I loved it. I especially love that you are able to incorporate your spirituality so seamlessly with your life.

  4. Thanks, Jessica. So so true. Being a mother is the most humbling experience ever. The ONLY way we can do it is with unfailing faith in the Lord and ourselves. You are a great example.

  5. I loved this letter, and although I know the message is true, that we are imperfect and can still be good mothers, I always struggle with this.

    Maybe the number of kids you have does not count, when you deal with this concept, but now I have five, sometimes I don’t feel any further down the line than when I was a young mother. I think I will always be hard on myself. Thanks for the reminder that the Lord loves us despite these feelings.

  6. “that the works of God should be made manifest” in each of us as parents. . . not in the perfect products we create of our children. That is a significant concept that is too easy to forget in our appearance-driven world. A good reminder.

  7. Wow. That really hits home for me too. What a blessing to have that answer that you are THE mom for your kids. I feel like I have learned so much about being a better parent from your blog. I am excited to meet you soon. Rock on girlfriend!

  8. Crud, I wrote this beautiful comment and it disappeared. Trust me it was very insightful and introspective.

    Anyway, the gist of it was that I am learning to appreciate and recognize my “good mom moments” because as flawed as I am, I only have moments rather than days or weeks. I am also infinitely grateful for the Lord blessing me with children who are quick to forgive their imperfect mom and eager to try once again.

  9. I once complained to my mom that I wish that my kids had come with some kind of manual, she replied that they did, the scriptures. I thought that was dumb until the year she gave me a list of scriptures that are parenting tips..among them, “Love one another”, “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these…” and many more. I am pretty sure that none of us are perfect and admitting that little fact is huge.
    I can tell you are a terrific mom, give yourself a little hug.

  10. I really needed this today. As always, you inspire me.

  11. Thank you so much. I don’t think I can even express how much I enjoyed and felt comforted by that. Tears came when I read the part about John 9:3 and how the blind man’s “failings were given him, so that the works of go should be made manifest”. I am so grateful you said that. This was a beautifully written letter.Thank you, again.

  12. What a gift “Letters to a parent” is…
    I love Jessica’s letter along with all the others. Whenever I need some therapy (like everday!) I will come back for a session.

  13. This was a beautifully written post. Thanks for sharing your imperfections with we fellow imperfect moms!

  14. I needed this today. Thank you. :)

  15. Pingback: monday - best of last week: link style « The Misadventures of Kelly and Kelly

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