Do you have a picture in your mind of who the perfect mom is? Perhaps she's a real person that you know. Maybe she's a proto-type that fits a list of characteristics and qualities. Have you found, over the years, that your image of what makes a perfect mom is changing?
Us women, we are all about perfection, aren't we? It's not okay to just be a good mom (or even a great mom). Nope, the goal is Super Mom! Unfortunately, when we fall short of our perfect goals, we carry around a big backpack of guilt. After all, if so-and-so can handle this and do it that way, why can't I?
I am here today to throw that monkey off my (and your) back! Get lost, guilt!
Here is my image of the Super Mom:
- She stays home with her children (probably a dozen of them).
- Her house is usually immaculate.
- She bakes yummy goodies for her family all the time.
- She provides colourful and well-balanced meals three times per day.
- She has a set snack time, where her children eat at the table.
- Her laundry is virtually always caught-up.
- She probably home-schools her children.
- Her kids are incredibly well-mannered.
- She leads the children in Bible study and prayer time every single morning (and/or evening).
- She dresses nicely and wears make-up every day.
- Her children are the recipients of utterly consistent discipline (though they rarely need it).
- She wears nice shoes.
- Her kids don't really fight with one another (not even at home).
- Her cupboards don't contain sugary cereals or potato chips.
- She is always patient with her children.
- She never raises her voice.
- Her husband is greeted with a hug, a kiss, and a hot meal the moment he walks in the door each day.
- She always has a smile on her face.
- Her children seldom watch television or play video games, unless there is educational or spiritual merit to it.
- She never swears, even if she stubs her toe really, really hard.
If you know me, and you're keeping score, I get 1 point for staying home with my children (but maybe it's only half a point, because there are only 5 of them...and I was in university and then worked until the birth of the third). I'm curious, what would be on your list and how many points would you get?
Here is something I think we all need to remember - there is an enemy, and his goal is bring death and destruction to our families. And he will start his nasty work right at the family's heart - the mother. He's got two dirty little strategies that manage to catch all of us at one time or another: the "I'm not good enough" and the "I've got it right."
I think that the enemy likes to lure us into the trap of "all-or-nothing" thinking. He wants us to believe that we must be everything on our list to be good enough. And if he can't wear us down with guilt, he'll fill our heads with a sense of superiority. If we are doing all (or many) of the things we think are right, we are certain that our way is the only way and those who don't do what we do are falling short.
Before we go one step further, I just want to name the devil's tricks for what they are - PRIDE. The latter is obvious, but keep in mind that thinking badly of yourself is still simply "thinking all about yourself." Whether we think we're awesome or pathetic, we are caught in the trap of being solely focused on ourselves (aka: prideful).
Here are some questions that wander through my mind (and maybe yours) a lot. Do I have to be a full-time stay at home mother to be a good mom? If I work outside of the home, am I a bad or neglectful mom? Must I homeschool my children in order to truly fulfill God's parenting requirements? Is sending my children to school a cop-out (or even detrimental)? Does every mom really bake and cook like Betty Crocker?!
This post is getting long. My four younger children are being cared for by the "electronic babysitter" and Hannah Montana. My eldest has been sent away for the week. My house is dirty. The laundry pile is enormous. And I haven't brushed my teeth yet. So given my multiple failings (according to my list of perfection), I better get to work! But tomorrow, I'd like to tackle the answers to some of those questions. (Said tongue in cheek.) ;)
Disclaimer: Lots of what I have to say on this here blog spot is solely my personal opinion. But I don't say much on here without hitting God's Word to see what He has to say on the matters I think about, and I seldom click the "publish" button without praying. I pray that my words will not offend, but will encourage (and I pray the same for your thoughts posted in the comments - so if you disagree, don't be mean, okay?! *grin).