I was talking to another mom the other day and she was commenting on how parenting is just so darn hard. And that it doesn’t end when they walk out the door at eighteen. I silently nodded my head in agreement.
As a parent of two teens and one almost there but thinks she’s 32, I can honestly say that parenting has been the hardest job I’ve ever had (to which my 12-32 year old said, “It’s not really a job, mom, since you don’t get paid for it.” “Then why does it feel like so much work?” I retorted. Chuckles and a “good one” from her.
It’s not because of who my kids are that make parenting so hard–they are wonderful people who I am proud to call my children, but because of the fact that they are human beings who my husband and I are in charge of raising and launching into the world as confident, independent, spiritually grounded, kind, loving, merciful, generous, responsible, serving, educated, and oh, did I mention full of self-control and the ability to respond maturely in all situations?
Yet, if I examine what I wake up each day wanting to instill and teach in my children, this is the list. Even as I write it out I realize that this is why I go to bed some nights feeling discouraged as a mom. Why do I have such high expectations? Because as Moms, we just do. We feel incredibly responsible for raising these little people who have it all together. The more my children grow, the more I realize that they are imperfect people and I am an imperfect mom.
Not that I didn’t know about the imperfection on both ends. It’s just a short trip down memory lane to remember the exhaustion and the crying and the fits and the “mine!” of three children under the age of five. And the “holding it together” as a mom as long as I could and then either doing deep breathing exercises in my closet or just throwing all self-control out the window and yelling “Stop pulling your sister’s hair!!!!!” But what I didn’t know then, was that I wasn’t going to yell or calmly speak them into perfect children, ever. I know that now.
And I am never going to be a perfect mom.
Perfection is for one person, Jesus Christ. The rest of us are on journey to grow, fail, succeed, fail again, learn, un-learn, and more growing. Can we embrace that truth for ourselves and for our children?
I believe that God says to me, “Amy, you are my child. And while I teach you and move you to be a better person every day, it is a life long journey. Just remember yesterday when you made a judgment about someone (in your head, thank goodness)? Life-long-journey. It is the same for your children. I have entrusted you to raise them, teach them, love them, and give them everything you have while they are under your roof, but their journey as my child is also life-long. I have GRACE for you, Mom. You can have GRACE for them.”
Grace for me. Grace for them. Grace for me. (I can throw an extra one in for me (and you) since it’s Mother’s day).
Can we walk in grace Moms? Can we stay true to the boundaries we give our children, teach them in the way they should go, invest countless amounts of time and energy into correction and guidance, but at the end of the day, know the list, the character journey for our children, is life long. Letting our children make mistakes and learn from them is not a reflection of bad-parenting, but quite the opposite. And we can be at the other end with open arms of grace and love.
And we can give ourselves grace and love when we mess up too.
Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there, who tirelessly sacrifice themselves for their children. Press onward in this amazing journey!