Sunday, March 17, 2013

No more perfect moms

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I attended the Hearts at Home conference at Illinois State University this past Friday. Any day that begins before 5 AM makes me automatically grumpy, but driving over the prairie to Normal, IL while watching the sun come up made it a bit easier. And it didn't hurt that I was in a car full of fun ladies from my MOPS group.

This was my first time at the conference, so I had few expectations. Just getting away for the day was enough for me. But the keynote and breakout session speakers were outstanding. My mom cup was filled back up. I received words of encouragement that I am doing many things well and received practical suggestions to improve my weak areas.

The focus of this year's conference was No More Perfect Moms. This also happens to be a recent book title by Jill Savage, the founder of this event. She and the other speakers shared short anecdotes about embarrassing and funny things that have happened to them--the kinds of stories we only tell our closest girlfriends for fear of judgment. Stories about forgetting to pick up a child from practice, or absent-mindedly wearing a child's macaroni necklace out of the house, or getting dressed to run errands only to be asked by your kids, "why do you look so fancy?"

We all have those "funny" stories about how we were "one of those moms". And that's the point. What if we stopped judging ourselves and others about their worthiness as moms, wives, and women? What if we cut each other a little slack and instead gave grace? Motherhood is lonely enough without fearing judgment from our friends.

It's true that we're all just doing the best we can. But sometimes it's hard to admit it to ourselves and extend the same understanding to other moms. But we don't work for others. We don't work for our spouse, either. The only person we need to please is God.  As Jesus challenged the establishment, he also challenges us: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV)

If we can do as Jesus says, the rest will take care of itself.

So the next time your child lands in the ER for sticking a quarter up his nose, or your daughter walks out of the bathroom with a pantiliner on her forehead because she "needed a bigger Band-Aid", remember this: there are no perfect moms.

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