My children are grown and gone. I now have adult grandchildren. And still that voice so many mothers recognize accuses me. It’s that voice that shouts, “You weren’t a good mom, and you still aren’t.”
In my recent reading on parenting, one thread came through loud and clear. And to me, the following post title summed it up perfectly: She Believed She Couldn’t. It seems that we parents are great at convincing ourselves that we’re failing.
Because we listen to lies
The lies of a widespread and far too active voice. One that continues to shout throughout our parenting days, “You can’t do it!” “You’re a bad mom, too impatient, too hard (or too easy), too nagging, and you even set a bad example. You can’t do it! You’ll never be a good mom and your kids will be a mess.”
That false voice tries to convince us that we should – but never will – be the perfect mom. And you know what? It’s right!
Perfect moms don’t exist
We can’t ever be the Perfect Mom — because she doesn’t exist. And we can’t raise perfect kids — because they don’t exist.
I wasn’t and still am not a perfect mom. And I don’t have perfect kids either. I know I could have done better, and I often think, “If I could only go back and do it over again, how many 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 even though I didn’t get it all right, that deceitful 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 we did do it!”
And as you watch your kids grow into wonderful people, you can answer back too! Search for what you’re doing right. And shout out those truths to silence that incrimination once and for all!
Shout out truths like these:
- My kids are wonderful people to know.
- They are good friends to have.
- They’re wise and intelligent and try to make wise decisions.
- They’re responsible, law-abiding citizens who contribute to the greater good.
- And most of all, they’re kind loving human beings who care about others and try to help them.
Adapt these truths to your family and the ages of your children.
I didn’t always have an immaculate house or gourmet 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.
You can’t be the Perfect (nonexistent) Mom.
So stop beating yourself up over it. Concentrate on what you’re doing well. Not that you ignore failure or stop trying to improve. Make things right, and then move on. And remind yourself once in awhile of what you’re doing right!
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 God can do that. But we can try to always be there for them and to lead them in right ways.
Oh, and that voice?
When it reminds me of how impatient I was – I remind it of how patient I’ve become! When it points out that I didn’t affirm my kids as much as I should have – I remind it that I’m making up for lost time. And that I have the rest of my life to do a better job and set those things right – both with my kids and grandkids!
Silence that voice – because you’re surely doing better than you think!
We never know the love of a parent until we become parents ourselves.Henry Ward Beecher