Somebody recently asked my daughter to tell what her favorite Bible verse was. She said, and I quote, “Whatever that one about God knowing all about you, and loving you anyway. You know, that one that is on my mom’s tattoo on her foot.” (Ps. 139) Not exactly the Sunday school answer you expect from the minister’s kid.
I accepted long ago that I am more of a “Laurelai Gilmore” than a “June Cleaver”. I have the pearls, but I would rather wear the red high heels. I am a minister’s wife who loves Jesus, but I have never really fit into the model of what society says that should look like. My mom has jokingly said, “She doesn’t fit in a box, I am not sure if she can even find it.”
I can’t cook. I don’t sew. My children should be in forever detention over the times I have forgotten to sign that Conduct Calendar. I would rather mow the grass, than do the laundry. I will choose to play basketball over Barbies any day. Sadly, as of this typing, the dog has more food than the people at my house. Oh, and one more thing–my kids refer to me as “Psycho-Billy-Ninja” when I get mad.
This is just not a great set up for my ego. We hear all about the attributes of a good mom. All the stories of homemaking, culinary accolades, costume making, sacrificial doing, car pooling and scrap booking. I smile sweetly and think, “My poor girls.”
What are we doing to ourselves? Who made the standard that we are killing ourselves to achieve? Who came up with “Super Mom” anyway? The one who can do it all, be it all, and make it all. I find myself, and other mothers, disappointed at our inability to be perfect. Just typing that sentence makes me stop and think. When did I get this idea that perfection could be attained? Jesus had an imperfect mother. What makes me think I am going to do better than the mother of God? At least her kid did what she said, every time, the first time, with no death threats involved.
Last time I checked, God didn’t have a check-off sheet for the qualifications of a good mother. It has always been more like: Love Me first. Love Me best … Then love them.
I looked up the role of “mother” in the dictionary (sorry, but I am a teacher) and I found something:
“Because of the complexity and differences of a mother’s social, cultural, and religious definitions and roles, it is challenging to define a mother to suit a universally accepted definition.”
I LOVE THAT! What a relief! It is a role that cannot be defined!
Maybe, my girls aren’t in as much trouble as I first thought. God knew what He was doing when He gave me these little girls. It is no accident that I am the mother that was chosen for them. I like that. I can rest in it. I may not be the text book model for motherhood, but I have arrived at the simple place that God knows me, God loves me, (Psalm 139) and He knew the mother I would be. He leads me, and all my faults, to project His image to my children. I think it is time, as mothers, that we give ourselves a break, or at least a chance … Not apathy, because God wants OUR best. Just know that OUR best is not supposed to be dictated by others’ expectations of who we need to be.
My kitchen may very well be used as a dance floor before a restaurant. My car is not clean. I order Cracker Barrel on holidays. We have counted playing outside in the sprinkler as a bath. We watch way too much TV. We could make a new reality show out of the events inside our home. Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” could be the answer if you asked one of my kids what her favorite praise and worship song is. And yes, I have accepted the idea that Chic-Fil-A is now a food group in our family. Honestly, I am okay with that. My kids know I am not perfect, but they know I love them with all my heart.
and really, their opinion is the only one that counts anyway.
So Secretly, I have one small request: Could somebody please kill “Super Mom?” This whole mom thing would be so much easier if she just wasn’t around.
What are your thoughts about cultural standards for modern mothers?