“Mom?” My voice was already cracking, shaking words tearing at the seams as they fell in a slur from my mouth. I was in the tub soaking in hot water and I was shivering. “Mom…” I paused to catch my breath. “Mom, I don’t know how to do this mom thing. I’m doing it all wrong!”
I’d cried all day, the girl who doesn’t cry. I just couldn’t shake all that condemnation I’d been branded with by a doctor. I’d felt it from other women…other moms…but it’s a whole new level when it comes from the professional. I was tired, weary, haggard…up to my eyeballs and beyond in life and trying, praying, striving to be a good mom, a selfless mom, a perfect mom.
The story came tumbling out, with occasional gasps from my incredulous mother. Incredulous gasps from my mom basically means that my story was just as terrible as I thought.
“You’re a good mom, Renee,” She soothed. “You won’t get it all right, none of us do, but you are a good mom.”
It wasn’t a pity-party; I’m not one for those. This was a struggle with the heavy weight of condemnation.
The Sunday school class we talked about condemnation, everyone wanted a chance to talk. There wasn’t enough time, and since when do we run out of time in Sunday school? But this condemnation thing? We know all about this one.
Maybe too much?
I always knew that women were infuriatingly competitive. Me too. (I think it’s one of the reasons I have almost always said I just wanted boys. Way too much drama.)
Then I became a mom and I discovered that moms were a whole new level of competitive, a level I didn’t imagine existed. And I quickly discovered how easy it was to condemn or be condemned in the mommy world.
In the short time I’ve been a mom, I’ve wrestled heavy with the competition, the measuring-up, and the condemnation that comes with the mom shoes. I don’t get it, how so much of everything becomes a touchy subject, and then I find myself reflecting on how my own spirit cast a shadow of condemnation over someone else.
Sigh. Will I ever get this right, God? Satan even uses our realization of the condemnation we inflict to condemn us.
I’m a young momma and I sure don’t have it all figured out. Most days I’m wondering if I have anything figured out. It sure doesn’t help either, that I’m kind of not your run-of-the-mill person. You know, I’m one of those radicals who don’t dig vaccinations, one of the young generation who still holds to a more archaic view of child-training, strongly opinionated about not using formula (unless you have to…)…stuff like that.
But the day I came home from the doctor’s office, deeply wounded and feeling like a total flop? That day set some things to rights in my mommy world. My woman world.
Whatever opinions I have about vaccinations, breastfeeding vs. formula, or hey, anything else…mommy-related or not…share them with grace. I am only called to raise my children, no one else.
However frustrating it can be to be a mommy in the minority group, live that mommy role with grace. I don’t have to hide my point of view because I know it might step on someone’s toes, but my view won’t become more accepted by continuously shouting it from the rooftop either.
This mommy thing is a wild, infuriating, amazing adventure of grace. Learning to give grace, to express grace, to be grace.
Condemnation will always come calling, whether you’re a mom or not. But there is grace.
Amazing, sufficient, saving grace.
I don’t know one mom who has got it all right, and I’m light-years away from getting that medal.
But I’ve got grace.
And by that grace, I will give grace and be grace and live grace.
If there was one thing I could say, from my mommy shoes to yours?
God doesn’t ask you or equip you to be perfect. He fills you with grace.
Good moms have messy houses, imperfect hair, children with sin natures and varying viewpoints.
Contrary to my doctor’s opinion, a good mom will not always sleep her baby on their back, might just rock their baby to sleep…you fill in the blank. Regardless…
The mark of a good mom is a mom full of grace.