“Whatever you are, be a good one.” This little quote is perched on my windowsill just above the kitchen sink. I consider it a daily challenge in the many roles I assume … mother, wife, daughter, teacher, writer, volunteer, Christian, friend … lately though (or maybe actually all of the years of my life), I feel like I am striving and aiming to be not just “a good one,” as the quote alludes, but “a perfect one.” And, of course, because I want to be a perfect everything, I consistently come up short, since what I’m aiming for is actually impossible.
I struggle daily with settling for “good” or “good enough” when it could be “excellent,” “great,” or maybe even “perfect.” In my struggle to be a perfect mom, which I am so clearly not, I think there’s value in coming to terms with the mom that I am …
I am the mom who struggles to ignore a mess.
I am the mom who is PRESENT with her children … but not all of the time.
I am the mom who gets grouchy sometimes (see Witching Hour).
I am the mom who listens to her children … but also catches herself walking away before a story is finished.
I am a responsible mom.
I am the mom who doesn’t always take the time to sit and pray, but speaks to God many times throughout the day.
I am the mom who sometimes rushes moments that should be savoured.
I am the mom who just puts the baby to bed, instead of reading her stories like I would have with the older two.
I am the mom who hates cooking, but I do it anyway.
I am the mom who recognizes people’s gifts and talents.
I am the mom who busies the baby so I can do what I’ve got (or want) to do.
I am the mom who delegates, making my children pitch in and help as they are able.
I bribe sometimes. And threaten other times.
I am the mom who procrastinates, and pays for it.
I am the mom who steals moments when the kids are occupied to pursue a passion or a dream.
I am the mom who struggles to keep it all together when it’s time to get everyone (and all of their stuff) out of the house.
I am the mom who does things for her kids that they should do for themselves.
I am the mom who volunteers.
I am the mom who’s completely clueless about how to address her oldest daughter’s misbehaviour.
I am the mom who pays someone to clean the house.
I am the mom who sometimes prepares multiple “dishes” at one meal to ensure EVERYONE is happy.
I am the mom who sometimes takes things personally.
I am the mom who savours baby snuggles, because they are basically non-existent.
I am NOT a crowd follower.
I am the mom who gets up at 5 … to be alone.
I am the mom who listens to audiobooks or podcasts while doing the dishes.
I am the mom who takes her kids to church on Sunday, even though their father does not go.
I am NOT the fun mom.
I am the mom who becomes irritated too easily.
I am the mom who gets anxious about crafts and baking and their potential messes.
I am the mom who reads to her children, but not quite enough.
I am the mom who doesn’t fit in.
I am the mom who sets fairly strict screen time limits.
I am the mom who cries sometimes.
I am the mom who rarely lets her kids stay up late.
I am the mom who hates playing, especially pretend (but I love watching and listening to my children play).
I keep my promises.
I am the mom who finds joy in music, and truly loves when her children do too.
I am the mom who makes things happen.
I am the mom who gets bored with routines.
I am the mom who believes in the importance and value of self-care, even though I don’t always make time for it.
I am the mom who is deeply in love with learning, reading, writing, creating, planning, and organizing.
I am the mom who lets her kids skip brushing their teeth the odd night.
I am the mom who needs breaks from her children.
I am the mom who is completely struck at times with her daughters’ beauty.
I am the mom who sets goals and crushes them.
I am also the mom who sets goals and fails to crush them.
I am the mom who fails to model the importance of being active and exercising daily.
I am the mom who finds hosting playdates stressful.
I am the mom who doesn’t ALWAYS choose her kids over a task.
I am so clearly NOT a perfect mom (I’m not even sure that those exist), but I am a GOOD mom, and I can bet that YOU are too.
Let’s come to terms with the mothers WE ARE (make your own list of all that you are), and quit beating ourselves up for everything that WE ARE NOT. Let’s quit comparing ourselves to other mothers. Yes, we must recognize our flaws and work on them, but let’s give ourselves the grace that God repeatedly grants us as humans, as mothers, wives, daughters … We are what we are … remember, all we have to be is “a good one.”