Dear mom,

There’s so much to thank you for—from raising me while you ran your own business to how you selflessly pour into your grandkids today. The list of things I’m grateful to you for is long and detailed—and will probably leave you ugly crying because you know we both share the same genes when it comes to this emo stuff.

But, today, I want to thank you for graciously sharing that you made mistakes in your parenting journey too. 

That’s, perhaps, a weird thing to be appreciative about, but while I’m in the trenches of mommyhood myself, your not always perfect track record actually gives me encouragement that I can do this too.

Thank you for confessing that you didn’t always have it together. That sometimes you snapped at my sister and me because you were tired and overworked. That sometimes you felt like you didn’t take us to enough after-school activities. That sometimes, you were the helicopter mom, hovering over us when you should have let us make decisions independently. That sometimes you worried excessively. Scratch that. That oftentimes you worried excessively.  

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While I do this parenting thing now, it’s easy to assume you always knew what to do, that you were always sure of yourself, that mom guilt was never a part of your parenting experience.

But thank you for sharing that you floundered your way through this too.

And that, like you, I’ll learn on the job.

Thank you for showing me when I drop the ball, it will bounce back up and I can pick it up again.

That when I lose it before I’ve even had my first sip of coffee in the morning, I can look my child in the eye and apologize for my sharp words. Because you did that too.

That when I feel like I’m not doing enough as a mom, I can turn to the One who says that in my weakness His strength is made perfect. You modeled that dependence on God for me.

I remember when people complimented you on how well you raised your children, you always responded, “It’s only God’s grace.”

Not because that was the thing to say as a Christian mom. But because you truly believed that.

And I see that now . . . it’s only God’s grace

This parenting gig is not about being perfect but leaning on the Perfect One who fills in all our mistakes with His grace. Even though I’m flawed, He is faithful. 

Meanwhile, I still believe you have all of the answers. At least most of the time.

You can continue to expect those middle-of-the-day phone calls, asking you about how to mix cornflour in my gravy, or what kind of garden scissors to buy, or how to deal with the friend who has iced me out.

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I’ll also have you on speed dial for your advice on how to handle my tween who is morphing into a young woman right in front of me.

But, because of you, I know I can show her I’m not a perfect mom. That I’m figuring out this mom thing on the job and making a truckload of mistakes on the way. But that’s OK—because it’s only God’s grace that will get us through.

With love,

Your daughter who imperfectly mothers her own child

Susan Narjala

Susan Narjala is a freelance writer who shares her faith with authenticity and humor, and has been published on leading Christian sites. You can find her at susannarjala.com and @susannarjalawrites.