I walked over to the kitchen sink to get some water and saw all the dishes there. They rudely reminded me how crappy the day felt. How terrible I must be to not get the dishes done before my children were in bed. My children who were being loud in their bedroom while they should’ve been sound asleep. It’s the little things that make me feel terrible. In the big picture, I know I’m okay: my children are alive, no one is going hungry, and I haven’t lost my mind yet. It’s in the details, like hairline cracks in a vase, that make me feel like I’m crumbling little by little.
The truth is this, and I want you to hear it just like I need to hear it:
There is no comparison for me as the mother of my children. There is no one to compare myself to. There is only me. I am their mother. I am theirs. I was the one set to be fit for the job simply because I gave birth to them. In your case, it could be because you adopted them. Or because they are in your care, and there isn’t anyone else for them. Whatever the situation, we are the ones set for these children.
Comparing myself to the other mother I pass in Target serves no one. It serves the devil quite well, and he would do much to destroy me. But there is truth in that, too: I serve a God who already defeated the king of the world. I love a God who sentenced that king to a terrible death. I was bought by the King. So I have no reason to believe a liar because I was bought by the One who initiates Truth.
What makes a mom great, truly? Is it the home you make for them? The money you make while you’re away from them? The dinners you do or do not cook, the costumes you make, the playdates you have, the routines you establish? Friend, who established those standards for you?
The makings of a great mother…I don’t know what that means for you, because you aren’t me. Your children are not mine, my children are not yours. We cannot be the same because we have people at our feet who have different needs.
For me, it means hugging my 2-year-old when he throws a fit because I know scolding him only spirals him deeper into tears. It means correcting my 15-month-old for the millionth time because he needs to learn that remote controls are not toys. It means listening to the stories of my 4-year-old, because he will inevitably repeat himself until I listen. It means sometimes making PBJ for the third time in a week because of one simple fact: I know they will eat it. It means staying at my house all day because I cannot manage all three alone for too long in a public setting. It means writing on a blog or journaling when the day feels too long. It means cleaning so I can take my mind off of my frustrations. It means taking a moment to escape to my bedroom and shut the door so I can stop my own shouting. It means praying every chance I get that God will continue to be bigger, and I will only get better because of Him.
The makings of a great mother aren’t just in all the stuff, all the Pinterest-y things we believe, or the looks of our home, family and life. The makings of a great mother are what’s in her heart and soul. And if that’s it, then most, if not all, of us are among the greatest.
Love your kids. That’s what makes you great. Whatever comes next is a product of that love, and I pray it’s not coated with an angst to show off for other moms. You are good enough, just as you are, and there’s no one here to impress. God knows you’re good enough; He gave you these kids because He knew you were what they needed, just because you simply are. The hairline cracks may threaten your confidence in this, but here’s something you may have forgotten: we’re already broken. What’s better: we’re already covered in the blood of Jesus, and we’re already made whole. It’s good news. It’s the Good News. And if it’s your banner, then wave it wildly.
I am good enough. I don’t have to worry that something will threaten to break me, that all of the frustrating aspects of motherhood will pile up and crush me. The eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms (Deut. 33:27). How beautiful is that? He protects us and cradles us in His arms; we are never out of His reach, we are not out of His protection and comfort.
You are a good mom. I am a good mom. Every day is hard, every day I doubt it. But where there is doubt, I can overcome with truth. I’ve got everlasting arms to give me rest when I feel like I might cry because I can’t stand another minute of crying from someone else. I’ve got protection when I think that the devil is working too hard, and he seems to be winning. I’ve got a refuge when I only want to escape this call of motherhood, because some days, that’s just how it is.
It’s time we start believing the truth that God has already spoken over us. Sometimes the truth is simply found in the presence of our children. The children we have here, the children we have lost, whether here on earth or up in heaven. Their existence proves God’s belief in us: children make mothers out of us. And sisters, that’s just what we are.