When was the last time you made a mistake when it comes to parenting? How did you treat yourself over it? I can pretty much guarantee you did not say, “Ah, well, things happen, no one is perfect,” and then simply move on. No no no. It usually looks more like this:
“I can’t BELIEVE I did that. What kind of mother am I? None of my mom friends would do something like this. I am a bad mom.”
Stop right there. Why do we do this to ourselves? I see it time and again with my friends, and I am most certainly guilty of it as well. The funny thing is, when a friend tells me she’s a “bad mom” for not making it to her son’s football games or for forgetting to feed her daughter before school, I don’t think they are bad moms. In fact, I think they are GREAT moms who happen to be human and cannot, in fact, be all things to all people at all times. But when I mess up, I do not think that way. I see myself as someone who just cannot keep it together. When I fall short regarding my kids, I question why God even trusted me with them as I am clearly not up for the challenge.
Recently, I started to notice the stark difference in the way I looked at other’s shortcomings versus my own. I was shocked at what I saw.
If a friend tells me she feels awful for having done or not done x, y or z. I build her up. I encourage her and assure her that she is a wonderful person handling all sorts of responsibilities, and that sometimes, things just happen. I point out how hard she works and how much of her life she dedicates to her family’s well being. Yet when I end up making a similar mistake, I am terribly harsh on myself, allowing no room for grace, which is exactly what my friends do, and what I imagine most moms do to themselves.
Moms, you deserve grace. You manage your house, your kids, your career. You are the cruise director, the kin keeper, the CFO, the housekeeper, the chef, the taxi driver, and the school mom. Sure, you have help and support from your husband, partner or loved ones, but let’s face it, most of the “life management” falls on you. Sometimes, the wheels will fall off. Sometimes, you will be late. Sometimes, you will forget snack day. Sometimes, you will say something unnecessarily hurtful to your child or your spouse. Sometimes, you will screw up at work. Sometimes, your kids will eat popcorn for dinner. Sometimes, you will have to do a sniff test to see if the clothes in the hamper are okay to wear – because you’ve fallen behind on laundry, again. Sometimes, you will fail. And often times, you may want to beat yourself up over these shortcomings, but you have to give yourself some grace.
Think about how you treat your friend when she confides in you that she made some epic mistake. You encourage her, you point out her good qualities. You would not judge her or tell her “Yes, you absolutely failed today.” You would offer her grace and understanding. Try extending that same grace to yourself. You are amazing. You handle so much; we are all going to drop the ball now and again. And that’s okay.