For the Perfectly Imperfect Mom

As Mother's Day approaches this year, I am filled with a strange mixture of emotions. After living through the years of wanting to hide from the painful reminder of what I did not yet have, I now look forward to Mother's Day with an overwhelming sense of gratefulness and humility. I look upon my sweet child's face now and think... God knew exactly what He was doing the whole time and I must be the most blessed mommy on the face of the earth to get to raise this sweet angel. Then I immediately feel so incredibly under-qualified for the job that lies ahead! It's an immense blessing to get to be her Mommy and one I do not take lightly. In part, because I know what it's like to want this so badly and feel so empty on Mother's Day. I am keenly aware there are many women around me that are dreading this upcoming day, just as there are so many that deserve all the handmade cards, breakfasts in bed and flowers picked from the yard.  So with that jumble of emotions tearing at my heart, I have spent some time just thinking about Motherhood and what makes me so grateful to be playing this role now. 

Motherhood is wonderful and messy. It's a new challenging adventure everyday while being laughably mundane and repetitive all rolled up into one big package. It's full of screw-ups and better tomorrows that go hand-in-hand with all the snuggles, giggles and I love yous. Motherhood is the most natural thing in the world, yet simultaneously makes you feel completely clueless and totally helpless more than anything else in your life likely ever will. Above all, motherhood is a wonderful, magical love story full of grace, humility, acceptance, forgiveness and perseverance... both for my child and for myself.

The humor is we all hope to get the card that says #1 Mom or Best Mom Ever, yet none of us really have the slightest clue what we're doing! (Shhh... don't tell our secret.) Mother's Day really celebrates the perfectly imperfect Mom. You are likely very familiar with her, as I believe most of us fall into that description. I'm talking about that mom who does her best to plan the shopping trip after nap, goes armed with snacks and a game plan of how to attack the aisles to get everything on the list in the shortest time possible, yet still ends up with the toddler throwing a fit in the middle of the grocery store floor. (And here I would like to offer a sincere thank you to those friends of mine who witnessed one of these in the store a couple weeks ago and kept their judgement to themselves.) I'm talking about the mom who gets some craft days just right and ends up with a refrigerator adorned with museum worthy masterpieces, followed by a craft day that fails in epic proportions. I'm talking about the mom who plans a great play date yet still hasn't figured out a graceful way to get their toddler to leave the park after hours of fun without a scene that could win your dramatic child an Emmy before their third birthday. The perfectly imperfect mom is fantastic with putting on band-aids and giving magic healing kisses, all the while feeling guilty that if they had only reached for her hand a couple seconds earlier maybe she wouldn't have stumbled. She is human and gets tired at the end of a long day and sometimes her fuse runs a little shorter than it should.  But in all this, she is just that... perfectly imperfect.

As someone who struggles with holding myself to a standard of perfection, I have struggled with this notion that I cannot actually be the perfect mom to my little angel. Especially given how much I longed to be a Mommy, I want for my little girl to have the actual Best Mommy Ever. Recently, God has shown me that she does have exactly what she needs.  She has someone who is far from perfect, but that in my imperfection, can show her a real example of God's grace and forgiveness. As I raise her, I don't want to raise a perfect child. I want to raise a young lady that will always try her best, but will forgive herself when she makes an inevitable mistake and won't be held down by undue guilt. I want to raise someone that will keep fighting, even when it's hard and failure is an option, but that knows that you never really fail unless you give up. I want to raise someone who can humbly admit she made a mistake and try again without hesitation. The best way I can raise this young woman, is by being just that as I learn how to be her mother. So it's time for me to accept that this motherhood thing is designed to be perfectly imperfect. It's all part of God's design as our children learn as least as much from our reactions to our own shortcomings as they do from all the things we get right. It's a beautiful opportunity to teach them about God's grace.  His grace covers us in all our imperfections and mistakes like a warm, favorite snugly blanket on a cold winter's day. It shields us from the unnecessary misery and discomfort associated with not getting it right all the time and gives us hope that tomorrow can and will be better. All we have to do is accept it and snuggle up under God's beautiful blanket of grace. By showing her that God's grace gives me the opportunity every single day to try again, I get to teach her humility, forgiveness, acceptance, perseverance and unconditional love. 

There is nothing more important nor humbling than the opportunity to raise my baby to understand how much God loves her; to help her reach her full potential and live the life that God has already discovered for her to live. Every lesson she learns, every time she counts a little bit higher, discovers a new bug on a nature walk, dresses up as a princess, or makes up a silly song, is all a part of my sweet girl becoming exactly the young woman God intends for her to be. There is nothing more exciting in the world to me than watching her grow into her beautiful personality and discover the beauty in the world around her. The chance to hear her say her absolutely precious bedtime prayers and ask to read one more Bible story, or hear her say the blessing and sing "Jesus Loves Me" leaves me breathless. It's an opportunity I waited so long to have but had no idea how wonderful it would be. The only word that really describes how I feel on Mother's Day this year is... grateful.  

And with that, this Mother's Day, I will celebrate being perfectly imperfect and the opportunity that brings!

For those of you who are still waiting for your little ones, please know you are not alone. God has a beautiful plan for you that is playing out in His time just like it did for us. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, but they are good. Your story, like mine, is still unfolding and when the pieces start to fall into place, your story will be the perfect one for your family.