Remember last week when I wrote about having one of those days? After I started to snap out of the blah mode, I have had some mini revelations. I think they may be life changing.
In my other life that seems so distant from my current life, I pursued education and I had a career. Post graduation, that career was quite short-lived because we had decided that I would be at home with our kids, especially for their early years, and we hoped that our family would grow early in our marriage. As we began the process of adopting shortly after our first anniversary, our family did begin to grow quite quickly.
“ How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe?”
- GK Chesterton
For many, they choose both career and children and are met with varying degrees of success. For me, for us, as we talked about our dreams, desires, and ideals for our family and as I acknowledged my own strengths and limitations, I knew that my passion was to be focus on my kids during their early years until…as long as our evaluation of our lives pointed that way. Although I have received my share of less than subtle hints to indicate that there are others who think contrary, I’ve never seen my role as a mama full-time with my kidlets to be less significant than my brief career as a teacher. I’m pretty convinced that these years with my little ones are crucial and that I can best provide them with what they need to prepare them for life.
That being said, there are many days where I really struggle with being a mama. I get tired of the repetition that consistency requires. I find it draining to be constantly needed and to be ever on duty. Even with an equally committed and a very present partner in crime, I find myself feeling like I have nothing left to give. It’s then that I start to question our decisions and the wisdom in my desire of the mostly every day, all day presence with our daughters.
Are you starting to wonder what my revelation was? My revelation was that in some ways, I am on the defensive regarding my role as “just a mom” and that in order to be legitimate, I need to do it perfectly or at least be striving for perfection. As I was mulling this revelation, it was timely that I read the following quote;
“I hear two main messages from our culture: first, that motherhood is a distraction, an interruption from what should be important to me – mainly myself and a career. Second, if a woman does choose motherhood, the only way for it to have meaning or value is to do it better than anyone else, to be a supermom who perfectly balances career, cooking, chauffeuring, cleaning, personal time, and date nights…a super mom who has a perfect house, perfect husband, perfect job, and perfect kids – because if you’re going to focus on motherhood, it is only worthwhile if everything is perfect.” Beyond Bath Time – Erin Davis
That quote struck me because I often find myself believing that i must justify my career choice of being a mother by doing it perfectly. After all, I can list so many other women who are great and committed mothers while still having another career. I also know plenty of other moms who, like me, are fighting the feelings of failure up against their own expectations and/or the expectations of others? Were we intended to be perfect mothers? And I mean perfect by both our standards or the standard of others. Is perfection what our children, spouses, or the world need from us?
I’ve no qualms about my aspirations to do well at whatever I set my hand to; I fully acknowledge and am glad for my ambitions and desire for excellence. I believe that I have been called to that. When I decided to become a teacher, it was because I wanted to impact the students that I taught with a thirst for learning, a quest for wisdom, and desire to know what it means to live abundantly. I have transferred that passion and conviction into my life as wife and mama but so often I get bogged down the elusive quest for perfection. I suspect that many of you do as well. How do we aim for greatness as mothers without aiming for perfection?
I don’t claim to have the answers but these are some of the points that have been coming to me as I’ve been pondering this.
- I don’t need to be perfect or the best to be a good mother.
- I can live the call for excellence without the pressure of unmet and unrealistic expectations.
- I’m not a better mother based on things like my ability to create a pretty, Pinterest worthy snack or by being the most playful mom on the block. However, my mothering can and should reflect my gifts, whatever they may be.
- I can acknowledge my weaknesses as a mother, if need be work on strengthening them, and be honest about them with my children.
- Repeat after me. I am not perfect and I will never be.
- Perfection isn’t required to go deep into the heart of my children.
- Finally, I need to remember that true grace can be made evident in the absence of my perfection.
So how about it dear mama friends? Can we agree together
that we are going to resolve to let go of the ideal of perfection in exchange
for an ideal of motherhood that lives within the beautiful messiness of grace? Can we accept the grace that doesn't deny our weakness but makes beauty within that?