There are definitely moments in my days when I feel like a successful mom: The moments when all 4 kids are playing together and all I hear is laughter; the moments when the twins hold hands and walk together; the moments when they say, “Mommy, you are the best!” or when they say, “thank you,” as I hand them a bowl of macaroni and cheese, and I did not have to say, “What do you say?” first!
Then there are moments when I feel so completely lost in the mess of motherhood: When the tantrums start at 9:00 AM and don’t stop until bedtime. When the twins are climbing onto the dining room table AGAIN! When I think I am speaking a foreign language because I get blank stares after saying, “It is time to clean up.”
There are plenty of moments when I think I fail as a mom. Those moments make me think that I am an imperfect mother.
I always thought I would be a pretty good mom. My mom was a great example of sacrifice, perseverance, strength, and practicality. I had a great example to look up to. It was a realistic example.
Considering I have a teaching degree, many years of babysitting and working as a nanny, I was pretty confident I would figure the “mom thing” out.
[Tweet “I have a teaching degree…I was pretty confident I would figure the “mom thing” @Jaimi_SAHMSG #imperfectmom”]
When I had my first child, I was content with the day to day life of being a stay-at-home mom. I could complete my to do list for the most part each day. My oldest was such a good napper that I even had time for myself every single day to read, craft, or call a friend.
When we brought our second child home from the hospital, I was thrown off. She was beautiful and perfect and so strong, but juggling kids who were on two different schedules was tough. Despite my experience juggling classrooms of kids, for some reason in my own home it felt like a test I was failing.
It was the first time I started to doubt my parenting skills.
I couldn’t get my daughter to nap regularly or for longer than 45 minutes at a time–if that. Her separation anxiety was so strong I wore her in a backpack carrier even as a toddler just to cook dinner.
Combine that with my oldest going through the “defiant fours” stage, and I was having some tough motherhood moments.
I got stressed adjusting to life with 2 children, and then God gave me twins in response. (God has a sense of humor!) Talk about feeling overwhelmed, inadequate and humble. In my life it has always been the imperfection, the weakness, the despair, and the loneliness that has brought me to my one consistent escape: Jesus.
[Tweet “stressed adjusting to life with 2 children…then God gave me twins @Jaimi_SAHMSG #imperfectmom”]
You know what got better in my life as I was being challenged, feeling like I was failing as a mom? My prayer and my sense of God’s presence. I was forced to recognize my imperfections as a mother and need for God’s presence and guidance.
There are moments when I let worldly noise be my focus. Scrolling through my newsfeed of blog posts that tell me:
“All children need to sleep the same number of hours every night. Here’s how to do it.”
“In order to be a good mom you better make sure you set aside time for your me time-whether or not you have free hours in your day.”
“Never ever ever do this or that when parenting your children.”
I start buying into the idea that the good moms have houses that are clean and white and organized, they always set aside quiet time for just them, and they parent without ever getting frazzled…
It all becomes temptation. It turns into noise that clouds me from following God’s calling for my life as a mom and wife.
[Tweet “God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability @Jaimi_SAHMSG #imperfectmom”]
I think, in my life, “what everyone else does” just doesn’t often work for my family. Just because a blog post says I need to parent in a certain way, that does not mean it is relevant to my life. Many of us moms are realistic, and focused on our family’s needs. That is the definition of being a successful mother in my world.
My children are a joy in my life, and I often feel like a very successful mom–when I focus on gaining my strength from faith. There are times when we moms think we aren’t doing it right because the noise tells us we need to do something different.
There are only two things in my life that I need to do more of and that is pray, and follow Jesus’ example. The rest is just noise.
Jaimi Erickson is a mom of 4 (2+twins), military wife, former teacher and blogger at The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide. She hopes to motivate moms to find joy in motherhood by sharing encouragement, homemaking tips, and activities for infants, toddlers, preschool and school age kids on her blog. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.
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