Your children do not need a perfect Mom, they need a happy one.Unknown
I hate to admit that there are more days that when my head hits the pillow, I feel inadequate, than days that I feel like I conquered the world! I, like most Moms I know, struggle to keep everything in balance… marriage, kids, home, work, church, family, friends, etc, etc. And most days when I achieve greatness in one area, it means that I have sacrificed time in another. Recently I had a conference that I spoke at which lasted a few days. Most of the guests stayed the night, but I drove back and forth in order to tuck the kids in at night and get them off to school in the morning. I wasn’t able to be with them all day (they were fine, and thrilled to be with family and friends!), but I wanted to finish and start each day telling them how much I loved them. So, for those few days I kept up with work, and stayed connected to the kids and their lives, but everything else was on hold. In fact, when I got home from the conference and looked around my house I felt anxiety creeping over me. I was exhausted from teaching and traveling, but I had laundry piled up…both to wash and to fold, the house needed to be cleaned, the fridge was empty and from the second I walked in the door, the kids just wanted my full attention.
I was tired. I mean really tired. So tired I felt a little bit like crying. And the more I walked around the house, the more I felt like crying. And I found myself walking around the house picking up dirty socks, and toys, and shoes, and dishes and mumbling to myself, “I have so much to do.” ,”There is so much to do.”, “There is so much to clean up.” And then I just stopped. I stopped picking things up. I stopped mumbling. I ordered pizza and I sat down at the table with the kids and asked them about their weekend. And I listened. And I shut off all the voices that kept telling me all their was to get done, and how tired I truly was and just focused on being present. And not just being present, but being joyful. Really joyful.
I guess I just looked around and saw not only my house, but also myself. I saw my messy house, but I also saw my grumbling. My tired face and my complaining. And I realized, I haven’t been home all weekend. My kids have not seen me much for a few days, and I am more stressed about everything being perfect…fixing a homemade dinner, having a clean house, catching up on everything that needs to get done, than I am about being joyful to be with them.
And not just to be with them…but just being joyful. Because the truth is that if I stop long enough to really think about it, I have a lot of reasons to be joyful. And that blessed my kids way more than everything around us being perfect. I can be joyful that the conference went well, I can be joyful to be home again, I can be joyful that I have the possibility to order pizza, that I got to see many dear people during the conference, that my children were safe and had a fun time over the weekend, for the sunshine, for our home, for laughter, for cuddles, for all the wonderful gifts that God has given me. And them. And us.
I didn’t need this reminder only that weekend. I need it regularly. I need to remind myself, that the kids are okay if the meal isn’t perfect, or even homemade, that they are okay finding clean socks from the ever growing pile of laundry on our living room arm chair, that they are even okay if I ask them to put away their own laundry. What is hard for them is when I am grumpy, and stressed and irritable because “I have a million things to get done”.
So, I may still have a million things to get done… I don’t know if that will ever change. But I also have a million things to be happy about. So for today I am going to choose to be a happy Mom instead of a perfect one.