i think i’m yearning to be a kind of mother who doesn’t exist — the perfect one. sometimes a picture or story can make me think she actually exists, and since i’m not her, i begin to feel like i must be the only one who struggles to keep her cool. you know her — the mom who is always happy and never reluctant to sacrifice, who is never weary or frustrated, who doesn’t yell at the walls when she’s overwhelmed or slam doors when she can’t take it anymore. the one who doesn’t have tantrums right alongside her three year old. the one who can handle all the stress, crying, bad attitudes, sleeplessness, missed naps, bodily fluids, and high energy with a sparkle in her eye and a skip in her step. i bet she exists in your mind, too, and she’s always there, a rod against which you measure all your failures.
what a lie i’m telling myself, that i must be sinless to be a good mom. that i can never fail. certainly, my failures are ugly. they are sin, and sin is never good or productive. but the thought that God won’t be able to redeem my sin, especially those that affect my children, is a lie. as one who is easily overwhelmed by guilt and self-pity, i have recently been working on confessing when i feel guilty rather than just sitting in it and sulking. perhaps one of the hardest things to confess is when i feel annoyed by my child — i absolutely loathe that feeling, and it makes me feel like a really baaaaaad mom. what mom is annoyed by a little three year old? the imperfect one, i suppose — which, i’m discovering, just happens to be EVERY mom.
this job is rough. it shows me the things deep in my heart, the things i’d rather keep hidden. O Lord, help me to love the light — in it, my sins can be exposed and i can be made clean. You are my hiding place — don’t let me hide elsewhere.