When child number one threw a fit in the grocery store one day, screaming at the top of her lungs in that very public place, I was so embarrassed. I’d witnessed a scene like that before I had children, and I swore my kids would never do that. Since becoming a mom, I’ve found myself in all kinds of situations I never thought I’d be in.
I’m less patient than I thought I’d be. I weigh more than I want to. My children are more strong-willed than I expected. My kitchen counter seems to always be a mess. At times, my marriage isn’t the “happily ever after” I dreamed it would be.
Inside I think thoughts like: I don’t measure up. I’m failing as a mom. My kids don’t act like her kids. My house doesn’t look like her house. My body doesn’t look like her body. My husband doesn’t help like her husband does. What is wrong with me?
Have you ever felt that way? Have you wondered what is wrong with you, with your family, with your kids?
The truth is that nothing is uniquely wrong with you or your family—or me and my family. We are all normal. Our frustrations, disappointments, and struggles are normal.
When you and I compare our insides to other women’s outsides, we always come up short. We’re comparing our struggles to their masks.
There are no perfect moms (just women who make a good outward appearance). There are no perfect kids (just kids who are dressed well and behave well just when you see them). There are no perfect houses (just ones where the clutter is cleverly stored!). There are no perfect bodies (just ones who know the beauty of Spanx!).
Perfection doesn’t exist, but unfortunately we waste a lot of energy pursuing it, that elusive mirage we’re just sure we can grasp. While we’re pursuing perfection, we’re missing out on the most precious parts of life: the laughter of silliness, the joy of spontaneity, the lessons found in failure, and the freedom found in grace.
This Mother’s Day, let’s give ourselves the gift of grace to make mistakes. We can’t be perfect moms, but we are the perfect mom for our kids.