When Being a Good Mom Rises Up Against You

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Remember that time I told you about how I successfully kept my house messy? That it was freeing because I was able to see my children and my family instead of focusing on the mess?

Well, I’ve been thinking more and more about that, because I think it’s but a small example of how the idea of perfectionism has grown wildly in regards to motherhood, and has infiltrated this little heart and home of mine.

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I had it all planned perfectly, but it came down to the dumb Truth or Dare game I found (thank you pinterest). I painstakingly cut each truth and dare out and ensured that I put each piece of paper in the proper jar. I focused on this and diligently did it perfectly.

Until my oldest love opened up the dumb dare jar and found some truths in it and basically asked me if I knew the difference between a truth or a dare.

I’m not gonna lie, this made my blood boil. On so many levels. First of all, 12 year old daughter, yes I know the difference, sassafras. But secondly, I was so mad at myself because I had literally sat there and made sure I did it right because I wanted everything to be perfect. And I still somehow messed it up. It hit me like a ton of bricks that I had failed, yet again, because of a silly mistake.

And so I exploded at my children for something that really did not deserve an explosion of anger. It flew in my face as a huge criticism after I had slaved over making everything perfect for this party, and I yelled at them in anger.

I surprised myself so much with that outburst, and immediately was guilty and ashamed. I walked out of the room and took a few minutes to regain my composure and then went back to apologize for my outburst.

We worked it all out, my sweet children being so quick to forgive me.

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But even though I knew I was forgiven, and I knew that Jesus died for that, for the anger that would all but swallow me up if it wasn’t for His sweet grace, I still puzzled over it and felt like I needed to get to the bottom of why I reacted in such a way–

What in the world would cause me to have such an immediate response of frustration and anger, at seemingly nothing?

After probing my heart, I think what I uncovered is that somewhere along the way I picked up on this notion about what it means to be a good mom, and I wear it as a banner sometimes, this philosophy that:

  1. Being a good mom means making sure your children are happy with you and everything you do.
  2. Being a good mom means making no mistakes ever.
  3. Being a good mom means others will think you are a good mom too.
  4. Being a good mom means being in control of all the details of everything in order to achieve perfection.

Well darn it, I fail, fail, fail, and fail.

Basically, being a good mom means being a control freak (according to that way of thinking).

It assumes that I am actually in control of everything, when I absolutely am not.

Oh man, I think this could be hashed out in a million ways, but for now, what it comes back to is this:

God is in control. Period. And I am not.

Yes, He’s given me a sphere of authority, a home to govern, and children to raise up. But the moment I start to think that it’s because of the tight grip I have on everything and because of my Good Mom status that all is well in our home, is the moment sin begins to reign and I forget what Christ really is to me…

He is my strength when I am weak (because I am weak). 2 Corinthians 12:9

He is my peace when I am anxious (so I need to pray my anxieties out to Him and be thankful) Philippians 4:6-7

He is the Head of all things (so I need to stop trying to re-gain control of my life when He’s the boss) Colossians 1:18

He covers me in His righteousness (so I need to stop trying to prove myself to Him, to my family, and to others). Isaiah 61:10

There is a giant battle against perfection going on, and I think we moms may all be in the middle of it. We can get into the why and the how and the when of it all another time, but remember this:

His burden is light and His yoke is easy. Rest in His Perfection and in His goodness, and not your own.

Matthew 11:28-30

 

 

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  • mrsds

    I so appreciate this post. I think we all find ourselves doubting ourselves, comparing ourselves, etc. I think for me the biggest struggle has at times been the fight of what other people think I need to be doing to be a good mom. There was a period of time in my life when it was implied or flat out told to me (by several people) over a period of months that I was not a good wife, mom, or housekeeper. Mind you, none of these people were my husband or my children. I felt like such a failure at everything. So what did I do? I read and studied Prov 31 and various other passages to see if the reasons I was being given as to why I didn’t measure up were biblical. (Some were simply ridiculous and Dennis and I could easily dismiss as such). I read the books of wise women. I sought advice from my husband and other wise women. I prayed. Guess what? The Bible gives no indication of how often or what method you should use to meal plan, clean your house, do laundry, bathe your children, etc. The Bible speaks of the character of the mom and how that is reflected in how she cares for her family. Were there some things I needed to change and improve on? Yes Was I completely missing the mark in everything and a complete failure? No I also came to realize anew that my goal must be to please Christ first and then Dennis. It doesn’t matter what the other people think about my worthiness.

    • Oh my goodness this is so good! Exactly! I love how you went straight back to Scripture, that’s what we have to do. Often it is the comparison of what it looks like for others, or what other people flat out tell you. For me one time when the kids were little and there was a period of sickness, an older woman, instead of encouraging me that I’m doing a good job caring for my family, told me we were getting sick because I wasn’t disinfecting and cleaning enough, and that shook me up. I had a newborn and I was really baffled that it could be all because of me. Luke of course said it was nonsense, but obviously it impacted me because I still remember it! And it makes me wonder what I’ve said to other moms to make them feel like a failure. It’s so true, God is looking for our character and our love for our littles. And yes we can grow and learn and try new things that might help our house function better, but not for the sole purpose of thinking it will mean I’m a better mom, a good mom. Thanks steph!