Motherhood of Mistakes
Sometimes, I feel like motherhood is a sadistic exercise in conscious incompetence. Yes, I know that it’s joyful. And I love my kids, but does everyone make this many mistakes? Is everyone naturally good at lunches and bedtime and bath time and puberty talks? Really? My mom wasn’t perfect either, and we all turned out pretty great. I asked her the secret and her answer was pretty simple: choose your mistakes.
Okay, she didn’t actually say it that way. She said choose your priorities and stick with them, but in my world that also means choosing the things that might slide. So, choose your mistakes.
My mom determined we would (1) know the Bible and (2) have a love for people (including each other). She also focused on skills like reading and music. She didn’t stress when we didn’t have perfectly matching outfits, nightly baths, or exact change for the lunchroom. She focused us on serving others, not expecting to be served. She raised us to be happy and independent. And she raised us to love each other and cheer for each other. She might have let a B in math slide, but a mean comment was going to call down the thunder. She knew her priorities and let them choose her mistakes.
In a world of Pinterest and social media and a million articles on the perfect way to take first day of school pictures, it’s easy to get frustrated. It’s easy to know how incompetent you are in so many areas. It’s easy to get caught up in what we do for our kids instead of what we teach them to do for themselves and others. There is nothing wrong with picture perfect rooms and stunningly organized pantries and matching kids in pinafores. They are far from the point. Choose your mistakes. Be the mom you want to be. And start making that decision with who you want your kids to be when they grow up.
A friend of mine who is equally inept at some of the things that make up motherhood, like ensuring your child’s shoes are on the correct feet and they always wear underwear to kindergarten, formed a club called the Good Mommy Club. We’d share our misadventures via text and laugh at our failures, together. Together is the operative word. When I raise my child in community, when I raise my child around other brave and loyal and kind women, I raise them in an environment where others can fill in the gaps. And I can fill in the gaps for others.
Yes, I want to be better, but I want to have joy along the way. And I believe God will use my motherhood of mistakes to build a stronger and better woman who will one day leave my house knowing that persistence is not optional, and perfection isn’t the point.