By Amanda Idleman, Crosswalk.com
There are seasons of mom life that can feel pretty taxing. Mom’s desire to be always strong, already prepared, and always right. Being vulnerable enough to allow others in on our struggles can feel uncomfortable. Yet, the unfortunate side effect of our silence can be loneliness and isolation.
No matter what mothering looks like for you – if you are a working Mom, a stay-at-home Mom, or a little bit of both – the pressure to appear to have it all together is real. Just scroll through Instagram or search Pinterest for anything pertaining to mothering and you will find countless perfectly manicured photos of mothers from all walks of life to compare yourself to. Pictures of real life that include our messes, our stress, and the battles we sometimes encounter as we parent our kids are hard to find.
The myth of parenting perfection is pervasive in our culture. The reality is that we all are fumbling through this thing and we all are learning as we go. Motherhood does not actually come with a handbook for us to follow. We don’t have the perfect answer on how to navigate our unique family journey. The truth is that real Motherhood requires a continual reliance on God’s abundant grace!
What does it look like to embrace grace in a culture that shouts the idea that we need to be perfect? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Find a “Mom Tribe” you can be real with.
The best way to break the lie of perfection that can stop us from being sincere with the people around us is to cultivate genuine relationships with others in the same stage of life as yourself. When we really start connecting with others that share the same daily struggles, the walls that keep us guarded against being honest about our lives and experiences start to come down.
When we start to see that we aren’t the only ones in our circles that are stumped by potty training, are discouraged with our child’s slow progress in reading, or are overwhelmed by the pressures our teens face, we start to feel less alone in our journeys.
Sharing is a way to lighten our own loads and it’s also a chance to learn from others! There are so many parenting challenges that have left me stumped or discouraged that a simple suggestion from a friend was the clarity I needed to find progress. There are so many sides to every problem and having an extra impartial set of eyes to give input to your situation can provide the breakthrough you are searching for.
Invite God into your everyday.
Our lives are so full, so much so that our busyness can lead to us going to God as a last resort instead of inviting him into our everyday lives. A few months back I began starting my day with this simple prayer: God, please help me love my family well today.
My prayer isn’t anything eloquent, but it is real. I have begun to realize that I don’t have the power in myself to live my own life well. Believe me, I have tried! Every time I think I can muster up on my own all the patience I need to not ever yell at my kids, keep up with the housework, be a good wife, teach my kids, and keep up with my paid work… I fail.
God knows that we need him and that is why his Word gently reminds us that when we are in need, we should go to him! Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Taking time to pray a simple prayer of surrender and invitation is an important way we can begin to embrace grace over perfection in our daily lives.
Make space for grace.
Knowing your season of life and accommodating it through your lifestyle choices is what grace looks like. I did not have a good grasp on what this should look like at all when I became a Mom. My husband and I kept our same expectations, schedules, and goals, not realizing that we needed to make space for marriage and parenthood. Burnout is what happens when we keep our plates piled high during seasons of parenthood that demand more of us than we have budgeted for.
Making space for grace looks like allowing yourself a naptime while you are in a sleep-deprived state. It’s paying for a babysitter so you can connect to your husband when your kids reach the age that they won’t let you get a word in edgewise, or it’s letting go of the need for a perfectly manicured house when your home is overflowing with messy kids.
It could be embracing the idea of self-care and setting aside time in the week that is just for you to focus on your own health and well-being. It could be saying ‘no’ more than ‘yes’ to social and work opportunities in favor of more time to be invested in the running of your home.
Making space for grace is allowing yourself the room to not “do it all.” No one can actually “do it all” and this idea is a lie from the evil one. The Bible corrects this notion and lets us know we actually do all things through Jesus who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13), and even then God set in motion from the creation of the world a pattern for living that includes rest (Genesis 3:1-4).
Hear this truth: God’s grace is sufficient to meet your needs!
His love covers our many failures, and we can be so thankful that He is in charge of our lives, not us. If you feel guilt or shame because you haven’t perfected the “mom life,” I want to let you know you are in good company. Real motherhood is messy, taxing, and hard – but it’s also beautiful. When we embrace God’s grace as part of the lens we use to scrutinize our efforts, then we can better let go of the bad and embrace the many good gifts God gives us as we nurture and care for our precious children.
Photo Credit: GettyImages/grinvalds
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.