Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How to Be a Better Mom

Recognize that you are just a mess.  And so is almost every other mom.

I'm coming out of a busy, but wonderful week of coordinating VBS.  My house is a disaster area.  Toys are out of place.  Hampers are full.  Clean laundry awaits being put away (because that is the hardest part!).  I have stacks of curriculum to go through.  My desk is covered with piles of organized chaos.  Weeds with killer thorns have taken over half my garden and I can't seem to keep them under control myself.  My lawn needs to be mowed in the backyard.  My refrigerator needs to be cleaned.  Glaciers of ice have taken over the deep freezer in the garage.  Oh!  The garage!  We won't even go there...

With all this said, I have seen so many pins pinned and posts posted on how everyone does things just so cute, organized and creative.  "How to organize your homeschool room."  "How to organize your kitchen."  "10 steps to always have a clean home." "How to get perfect abs, butt, or arms." "How to conquer laundry once and for all."  "How to create the perfect routine."

All the pins and posts on how everyone is living their life perfectly can start to weigh on a woman.  The truth is, though, as moms, most of us are a hot mess, apart from the grace of God.  Or maybe I'm the only one who struggles with getting one area of her life "together" only for everything else to fall apart.  If I get all my workouts in the week, laundry starts to pile up.  If I spend more time with my kids outside of our home doing field trips and play dates, the dishes start to pile up.

Realize imperfection is okay.

I admit, since having kids, I am not the most organized person.  That may be an understatement.  I thrive on creativity.  I would rather make something cute and creative than clean my kitchen.  So, it is a challenge to me to ignore those beautiful posts on the most perfect, creative, absolutely beautiful ____(fill in the blank)____.  I'm on a few homeschool Facebook groups and in the last week everyone has been sharing their homeschool rooms.  I was glad to see another mother spoke up and basically said what I started thinking.  I am absolutely not there yet.  And that's okay.  I will get there by September 1st when I start school and my homeschool room won't look like the cover of  a magazine.  And that's okay.

Stay-at-home moms, homeschool moms, work-at-home moms, and working moms----MOMS!  Please, please, please, remember that you don't have to live up to those posts on Pinterest.  Your child doesn't have to have a cute chalkboard stating his/her name, grade, favorite book, and career choice every first and last day of school year.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it certainly isn't necessary.

You don't have to have a clean house all the time.  Your kitchen doesn't have to be the picture of perfect organization all of the time.  Order, cuteness, and cleanliness are nice, but it doesn't make you any better of a person.  Being organized may help the day go by in a more orderly fashion, but if you feel pressure to get organized, but never can seem to, and it absolutely stresses you out, find a way to live in your organized chaos.  It's okay not to be organized all the time.

You don't have to have the perfect ____(fill in the desirable body part here)___.  You don't have to strictly follow any certain big name workout program or diet to a "T."  Don't feel the pressure to have flat abs and a perfectly round rump.  Or to restrict yourself from sugar or bread for months.  Just be healthy.  Do what works for you.  Don't make excuses.  Still challenge yourself, but if you fail, don't beat yourself up.   If you don't fit in a workout today, that is okay.  Workout tomorrow.  It's okay to fail. It will happen.  And that's where you learn to grow and persevere.

Now when it comes to being imperfect, we still must address laziness.  Or being distracted.  I am challenged by being distracted throughout my day by many unnecessary things (i.e. all those creative Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram posts).  This makes me weary for unnecessary reasons, and then I feel my weary self start to feel a bit on the lazy side, perhaps discouraged by all the "perfection" out there.  Avoid laziness, but be mindful of weariness.

Realize your need for rest for your weary soul.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

And when you are weary, come to Jesus.  Pray for grace.  Pray for peace.  Pray for contentment.  Pray for perseverance, not perfection.   Pray.  Pray.  Pray.  I am constantly reminded how valuable prayer is.  It is a way we can remind ourselves and others that we are not in this alone.  We can stop and pray to the God of all the universe.  And, guess what, He hears His people's prayers!

Mothers, our burden can be so heavy.  Raising little people up can be such a difficult task, especially with the added pressures of all the cuteness and creativity bursting out of the seams of social media.  I admit, when I'm overwhelmed, I am tempted just to go on Pinterest and look at all the people who have it all together and wishfully hope that someday that would be me.   Instead of Pinterest, PRAY.  Pray for yourself and for other moms.  We all know we need prayer!

Realize you can't be a good mom apart from Christ. 

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins."
Romans 3:23-25 (ESV)

I love the verse above because it really is the Gospel in a nutshell.  We fall short of God's glory and perfection because of sin.  That is where Christ comes in and his sacrifice is the ultimate picture of perfect grace.

Now, I must apologize for the title of this post.  It's a little tongue-in-cheek.  I'm not really going to tell you how to become a better mom. I knew it may get your attention because the truth is we all want to be a better mom.  We all want to be better.  We can't be better apart from Christ.  And, even then, we will struggle with sin and imperfection.

NOTHING within ourselves can make us BETTER moms!  

But, there is good news!!!  Despite the imperfection we struggle with, Christ lived a perfect life, and died so we can be forgiven.   Once we embrace that, we can't be separated from God's love.  And that is the story of grace.  Perfect grace.  That is the truth I need to be reminded of daily.

Please know that there is nothing wrong with getting tips or hints for how to do things from the posts on social media, but if you find that they are burdening you, please try and back away from them.  You will benefit in knowing that Christ can take those burdens if you come to Him!

I hope this post encouraged you.  It was encouraging for me to write.  Do you struggle with the pressures of the creativity found on social media?  Please take rest in knowing that you can come to the God of all the universe and tell Him your struggles.  And He will listen.  Everyday.  All day long.

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