My children are grown and gone. I now have adult grandchildren. And still that voice comes. We moms all know it. It’s that voice that says, “You can’t do it. You’ll never be a good mom. Your kids are going to grow up a mess.”
As Mother’s Day approached, I read a lot of posts about raising children, mothering, and being a good parent. Including this great, candid post, She Believed She Couldn’t, by Sarah E. Frazer. And the one thread that coming through was how widespread and active that lying voice is.
All throughout our motherhood days it shouts, “You can’t do it!” “You’re a bad mom,” it says. “You’re impatient, too hard (or too easy), too nagging,” it sneers. “And you even set a bad example half the time. You can’t do it!”
And you know what? That voice is right!
- We can’t ever be that Perfect Mom — because she DOESN’T EXIST.
- We can’t raise perfect kids — because THEY don’t exist.
No, my kids aren’t perfect, and I’m sure we could have done better. And I sometimes say,”If I could only go back and do it over again, these are the things I’d change.” I’d try to be more patient, for sure. I’d admit when wrong, and ask their forgiveness. I’d tell them more often “You’re great, and I love you so!” But you know, even though I didn’t get it all right, that voice speaks less and less as time goes by.
And that’s because I’ve learned how to answer it.
“You’re wrong,” I tell it, “because my husband and I did do it!”
And you can use the same replies, just changing them to the present continuous tense, and silence that incrimination once and for all!
- We raised good people. Responsible, law-abiding citizens that contribute to the greater good.
- We raised kind and loving human beings. People who care about others and try to help them.
- We raised wise and intelligent adults. People who know how to use their heads and make wise decisions.
- We raised two wonderful people that we would like to get to know, if we didn’t already.
- We raised two people we’d like to have as friends.
- And most of all, we raised two people who love the Lord with all their hearts, who walk in his ways, and are trying to lead their children in them.
No, I didn’t always have a perfectly clean house or fabulously prepared meals. I yelled when I shouldn’t have. I often expected too much from little people still learning and growing. I didn’t show as much love and approval as I should have.
But I taught them right from wrong. I taught them that people are more important than things. I taught them that rest and recreation is appreciated all the more after we do our duty. I showed them that there is an order to family, and they knew Dad was the head of the household. I tried to show them how to put others first. And most of all, I taught them that loving Christ and walking with him are worth more than all the world put together.
Moms, you’re right. You can’t be the Perfect (nonexistent) Mom. So stop beating yourself up over it.
And concentrate on what you’re doing well.
Not that you stop trying to improve. Not that you ignore failure. But make it right, and move on. And remind yourself once in awhile that you’re probably doing better than you think.
We can’t GIVE our kids everything. But then, they don’t need that anyway.
And we can’t BE everything for them. Because only ONE can do that.
But if we’re leading our kids to HIM then we’re really doing the most important thing.
Oh, and that voice?
When it tries to remind me of how impatient I was — I remind it of how patient I’ve become! When it brings out that I didn’t affirm my kids as much as I could have and should have — I remind it that it’s never too late to make up for lost time. And I have the rest of my life to do a better job and set those things right — both with my kids, and my grandkids!
Silence that voice — because you’re surely doing better than you think!