In this age of Pinterest boards, mommy blogs and social media comparison, the mantra “Do your best and forget the rest” is something young mothers need to be reminded of. Obviously since I’m posting this to my mommy blog I have nothing against them, but many days your personal best as a mom doesn’t involve sensory learning activities and a gluten-free meal plan.
During a particularly rough day, my mommy guilt-o-meter was at terror-alert red and I wondered through a gallon of tears how I was going to make it through another day as a work-at-home mom. A friend said something so profoundly encouraging to me that I think every mother needs to hear.
Out of all the little souls in the world, God gave you these particular ones to love and raise. Even with all your brokenness you are His choice for the job.
This made me do some thinking. Do I strive to do my best every day? Of course I do. Then my best in enough. It has to be. What else is there?
If you haven’t read Goodbye Is Not Forever, I highly recommend it. You’ll cry..a lot. Imagine your personal best as a mother is locking your toddler in the house and leaving her completely alone all day because your husband has been sent to a labor camp in Siberia. Your government demands that you are to work 12 hours in a coal mine in his place or you’ll be sent away too and your kids will starve. You come home to your baby asleep on the floor, her face streaked with tears where she’s cried by the door for you all day.
That baby grew up to write a testament of God’s faithfulness and of her love for the mother who did the best she possibly could. Do you think her mother might have been discouraged if she’d had access to the American mom blogs written today?
I read a lot of Christian homemaking blogs. Sometimes they’re an amazing source of encouragement. Other times they make me feel as if I don’t measure up. Recently I read a post about how to be a better wife and stay-at-home mom. I’m not going to link to it since I don’t want to make the author feel like a heel for writing what she thought was helpful. Instead I’m going to remind other imperfect mothers like me of a few realities:
1. Proverbs 31 is a portrait of a lifetime, not a blueprint for daily living.
2. We live in fallen, sinful world in which a perfect home life is impossible to attain.
3. Comparing ourselves to other mothers (while easier than ever before thanks to the internet) is unwise (2 Corinthians 10:12)
Do your best and forget the rest! Are you a single mom? In debt? In poor health? Did you husband lose his job, take a cut in pay, or have an accident? Do you have a child in the NICU? Do you live 400 miles from your closest relative? Is your husband deployed for the next six months? Did you just move to a new city and haven’t established connections yet? Are your parents in poor health? Are you struggling with depression or in debt up to your eyeballs due to poor decisions?
That’s life in this world. In light of that, here’s what your personal best as a wife and mother might look like at the moment:
- Eating a dinner of fast food for the third night in a row because pre-menstrual fatique barely allowed you the energy to keep the baby’s diaper changed, much less meal plan.
- Going to work for 8 hours while your children stay in daycare because if you don’t, your will loose your house
- Missing church for the third Sunday in a row because you can’t risk your child picking up his third respiratory infection of the season in the church nursery
- Strapping your one-year old in his stroller and allowing the TV to entertain him for 6 hours because you are on bed rest and have no one to help
- Staying in your pajamas all day because two of your children have the stomach virus
- Staying in your pajamas the next day too because all you can do is laundry in the aftermath of that stomach virus
- Skipping a shower because your teething baby needed to be held all day
- Forumula-feeding your newborn because if you don’t focus on beating your post-partum depression, you may not survive to raise that baby
- Sending your children to public school even though you don’t want to because if you quit your job to homeschool them you’ll have to go deeper into debt
- Allowing your 4 year-old to keep his pacifier and training pants for one more night because your husband has to sleep well tonight in order to work with dangerous machinery on-the-job tomorrow
In always striving to do your best, you’re going to have days where you have a full face of makeup on by 7 AM and manage to all do a family service project together after enjoying the nutritious, home-cooked meal you prepared. During those days, hop on Pinterest and plan some family fun or a new organization project
On those other days…
Hug your children and tell them you love them. Pray for God’s grace. You’re going to do your best today and that’s going to be enough.