So, typically I am not a big fan of books about how to be a good mom because they usually make me feel guilty and seem too unrealistic anyhow. However, I have been reading this book called, Tender Mercy for a Mother's Soul, with a couple of friends, and I have actually been enjoying it. She has talked a lot about making sure you care for your soul because the care you give to your family overflows from that.
In one section, the author talks about how she had always tried to subscribe to this imaginary unspoken list in her head of what a good mother does. She goes on to list things like: always has a clean house, always has a healthy made-from-scratch meal on the table when dinnertime rolls around, does at least one craft per day with her children, has the patience of Job, etc... These things sound ridiculous when you read them in list form, though I find myself very guilty of making myself feel guilty with these weird standards of what a "good mother" does or doesn't do. I started to think as I went through my day about the things that would happen and what the apparent rules on my list were. Here are a few I came up with:
1. A good mother does not have a child who rolls around on the floor yelling in Ross.
2. A good mother doesn't have (or need) her kids to watch more than ____ amount of T.V.
3. A good mother doesn't have a child who demands a glass of milk before even attempting to simply ask for one.
4. A good mother definitely doesn't let her child have ____ amount of sugar (and she certainly doesn't let her child eat 5 mini-cupcakes in a day).
5. A good mother doesn't raise her voice to get her children to stop pouncing on each other.
6. A good mother can get tired, cranky kids to nap when they need to.
7. A good mother can keep the house clean without extreme efforts.
8. A good mother always has a fun, educational activity up her sleeve.
9. A good mother models patience and all that is good - even on mornings like this one....
As you may have guessed each one of those rules was violated by me in the recent past. And each time I violate one of those "rules" I hear in my head how very far I have to go as a mom and how I have probably ruined my children. And, as I see my faults, I get discouraged, because I have perfectionist, first-born tendencies I can't kick.
Then, I realize what I need to hear. I need to hear, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Cor. 12:9. And, I need to throw that list out the window for every other purpose than to remind myself that though there is MUCH weakness, there are that many more opportunities for his strength. I think I need to think a lot more about God and a lot less about me. And, hopefully, my kids will wear rose-colored glasses when they remember their childhood - maybe I will just order those now...