Editor's note: This article was originally published on incourage.com. It has been republished here with permission.
I used to dream about being the perfect mom. Certainly, it didn't seem too unattainable … just raising a few kids, keeping life in order, everything running smoothly … and wonderful … and happy … and clean.
And suddenly the expectations seemed really steep. The dream of the perfect mom crashed amidst my own imperfections. Hard reality stared me right in the face.
Life is messy
You may relate. Some days, parenting is just hard. It doesn't always go as planned. You get tired. And when you're finally figuring out one stage, another begins.
We often look for validation from everyone around us of whether or not we're doing a good enough job. We even measure ourselves against other moms, striving to feel better about the job we're doing.
We listen to the accusing lies that we know are not from God, but play over and over in our minds, "a good mom would never do that, why can't you get it together, why can't you be more like …" We begin to swallow them down, accepting, believing it all to be truth, applying one big "fail" directly to our most valued role in life – motherhood.
The days go by, some seem especially long. The ones when you've had more than enough of playing constant referee between kids, or logging miles as taxi cab driver, or hearing "mom" every 4.3 seconds through the day. The feelings of "there's too much to do" overwhelm you, the awareness that you can't keep up with it all. You start to feel bothered that no one seems to care how their clothes get cleaned and back in their drawers, or how the food ends up in the pantry or a good meal on the table. And just when you find yourself thinking that the remote island you saw on Priceline this morning is looking really good about now, and wondering how much a one way ticket would be …
And take a deep breath, looking around at your mess.
And the dishes from last night's dinner still lingering in the sink.
And you realize that maybe the dream was wrong.
That dream of being a perfect mom.
Because when you look into the eyes of these treasures who call you Mom … who you love more than life itself … you suddenly realize how very blessed you are.
And you notice that not only the days have gone by, but some years have passed too.
And suddenly you long for it to slow down.
The "Aha" moment happens.
And you realize that maybe you are doing it … maybe you are living a dream … the dream that is the right one for you.
And you breathe in His grace … Again. Today.
Because life was never meant to be perfect
Life was just meant to be lived. Really lived. Hope rises.
You look at those high expectations … the ones still buried deep within your clenched fists … or in the secret crevices of your heart. The ones that lead you to think there's perfect bliss somewhere else.
And you let them go.
Life words were found in the mess one day, amidst the toys on the floor and fingerprints on the wall. Words quickly scribbled across a plain, white board in the playroom upstairs. Words of grace, straight from the heart of a sweet, joy-filled 6-year-old soul who knows what it is to live and to love.
Love God, love your family, love yourself. So simple. So true
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page or Twitter, for daily encouragement in living strong, hope-filled lives.