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 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.