Doing the Best I Can

June 19, 2013

I recently felt like my parenting skills were called into question. The person who made the comments is someone whose opinion I value, and although I knew in my heart that they had nothing but the best of intentions, my pride and ego and the insidious Mom Guilt we've talked about before rose up and swallowed me whole in a tidal wave of overwhelming, gasping hurt so painful that it took a few days to recover.

Ah, a true parent... ;)
Parenting is not easy. No one said it would be and I didn't expect it to be, but I didn't realize that there would be days when I would simply weep. I didn't realize that I would feel embarrassed by my children's actions, or that I would worry constantly about them. I didn't realize that some days, parenting could cause a soul-deep hurt.

(As a brief caveat, I should mention here that I think my children are wonderful and, despite or perhaps because of their imperfectness, I am SO THANKFUL that I have the opportunity to be their mom, so please don't think otherwise.)

But I recently met someone who helped me look outside myself. She's an amazing mom. She is calm. She does not yell to be heard. And she has that rare ability to let silence reign for a little while and not be uncomfortable, not feel a need to fill the space, but just let it breathe.

She's not a "perfect" parent. Her kids eat Pop Tarts in the morning (gasp!) and turn up their noses to fruit. They go to bed later than I do and sleep in longer and no, they are not teenagers.

And it could be easy for me to think disparagingly, Well, really, why isn't she making them eat veggies before they have that lollipop? If she doesn't wake them up soon, they're going to miss half the day! 

But I don't. Because she is a great mom. And, while her life is in transition, she is also homeless. 

On days when I have the freedom to spend 4-5 hours outside blowing bubbles with the girls or drawing with chalk, she has spent 4-5 hours calling to find a place to sleep at night. 

On days when I worry about making nutritious meals for my family or finishing the ever-expanding piles of laundry, she worries about having the money to buy a few snacks like Fruit Roll-Ups and popcorn that her children like and will feel comforted by.

In my downtime, I spend time writing and editing, but can also relax, read and take lazy baths. In her downtime, she scours online for job postings and works on craft items she can sell at local venues for extra cash.

At the end of the day, we are both good moms. And we are simply doing the best we can.

Their cuteness totally offsets their tantrums. Really.
It's ok that we're not perfect. In fact, our weaknesses, our foibles, our faults - they are simply opportunities for greater faith. If we had it all together, we wouldn't need grace. If we knew all the answers, there would be no need to ever look beyond ourselves. And if we could always stand alone, we would spend no time on our knees.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Cor. 12:9 (NIV) 

P.S. If you're looking for resources on parenting, here's a great list. I've read a few of these, and hope to get to the others.


  1. Love this! So powerful. Would love to read a post #2 on this : )

    1. Thanks, Sybil! I hadn't thought of writing one...I may have to revisit it. :)


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