I was chillin'. Flipping through the pages of my guilty pleasure. You know. The "People" magazine. It was the one with Jennifer Aniston on the front. Second time most beautiful Jennifer Aniston. I was not feeling the least bit insecure, when I started reading quotes from celebrity women about the best compliment they ever received from their mom. I guess the issue with the non-mom beautiful actress on the cover is also the Mother's Day issue. I digress. What struck me about the piece was how often the answer was, "When she told me I was a good mom." Now that I can relate to. I have an amazing mom. I didn't always think so. There were times when she disciplined me, and I thought she was mean. There were times when she fussed about my messy room or made me do chores when I thought she was nit-picky. There were times she wouldn't let me watch a movie or go to a party that everyone else was going to. I thought she was hopelessly out of touch. And there were moody teenage years when I thought she could never possibly understand me. But the truth is that my mom is a hard-working prayer warrior who gives of herself sacrificially and loves me like crazy. That might not be the most poetic description I could give for her, but it hits the high points! She is one of my best friends and I think the world of her. Any time she tells me that she thinks I am mothering well, it fills my heart from top to bottom, because I feel like it's coming from the expert.
Since I am a woman and I'm friends with a few, I think I can accurately say that feeling inadequate as a parent is pretty universal. There are, of course, days when everything is clicking along and our house is clean and our kids are pleasant and the birds are singing. Those are the days we feel like we have a handle on the thing. But I think all of us, because we are messed up humans, have moments we thank the Lord aren't being videoed for posterity. You know, those times we are pretty sure we're completely wrecking our kids. I have a recurring nightmare that I am the subject of years of future therapy. Does it help to know that EVERYONE feels that way at times? Do you know what gives me perspective? It's something my mom said several years ago and I've never forgotten. She told me that she prayed often for God to cover over her mistakes. She may not even remember she said it, but that bit of brilliance has become a regular part of my prayers for my children. And I think it's working. When Allie was 4, I threw a huge hormonal hissy fit and kicked a hole in our living room wall. She was terrified of me and I was sure I had scarred her for life. But guess what? She has no memory of it. More evidence of the grace God gives to us as mothers? Even though my childish mind focused on my mom's mistakes, all I can see now is her big heart and the love that covered everything she ever did.
Be comforted, imperfect mom. We are all in the same boat. And God equips, forgives, and covers over. Amen and amen.
"Her children arise and call her blessed..." Proverbs 31:28