Confession time: I forgot it was spirit week at daycare.
Yep. In the craziness of a weekend that involved moving from our tiny townhouse to our first cozy home (that honestly isn’t much bigger than our previous place), I almost let my 19-month-old walk out the door in regular school clothes. He would have, no doubt, been shunned by his classmates for the foreseeable future, had I not yelled at his father to stop midway down the driveway and bring our son back inside so I could frantically search for something suitable for him to wear on pajama day.
Crisis barely averted.
But it’s not the first time it’s happened.
As much as I want to be the mom who holds it all together, I’m not.
I will never be the homeroom mom. I will never be a member of the PTA. I’m doing well if I remember Teacher Appreciation Week, not because I don’t appreciate his teachers, but simply because personalized gifts from Etsy aren’t my natural love language. And the day his school has “Dress Up In Your DIY Costume As Your Favorite Book Character” day? Lord, help us, because while I’m thankful my son enjoys his Bible stories, I don’t have a homemade toddler-size coat of many colors at the ready just so he can be Joseph.
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To be honest, it started when he was born. Now, I’ll preface this by saying I love my son more than life itself. Next to Jesus and my husband, there is no one more important to me. But immediately after delivery as I was lying in the hospital bed exhausted from pushing and the nurse placed him on my chest, my first thought was not . . . this is what I was made to do. I didn’t have a sense of completeness or that my life’s true mission was just beginning now that I was a mother.
No, my first thought was they just laid a human on my chest, and I’m not sure what to do with it.
The nurse even had to tell me it was OK if I wanted to cry. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her I didn’t feel the need to; I was more interested in his Apgar scores.
In the coming weeks, we determined I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. It was a relief, but it was also the beginning of feeling like somehow I wasn’t made to be a mom. Fast forward several months with my husband and I both working from home in the midst of COVID and raising an infant—I was beginning to long for more quiet time to myself, but that would mean daycare. I had solemnly sworn to myself and God that I would never do such a thing as put my child in daycare. Wasn’t a mom supposed to be the one to nurture and raise her child?
(Side note: Best decision ever. We love our childcare.)
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Thus, by the world’s standards, I’m a pretty mediocre mom.
I certainly don’t stand out as the perfectly put-together mother who brings brownies every month to school. As much as my heart wants to be admired by others for all I do for my child, the simple fact is God is more interested in my heart being pruned of self-reliance, pride, and the desire to impress others versus my ability to serve up two dozen gluten-free cupcakes for a classroom of 2-year-olds.
But as a person who has prided herself on personal achievements for most of her life, being a mother doesn’t lend itself to feeling much success. In fact, motherhood is teaching me, perhaps more than ever in my life, the need to ask for help. The necessity of admitting my limits. The daily humility of asking God to supply strength I do not possess on my own, as I lean into Him and others to do something I simply was not designed to do on my own: raise a tiny human.
I’m learning to yield to my limits. I’m learning to give grace to parents who I would have previously judged. And I’m learning to trust that God holds and loves my child more than I ever possibly could.
If that’s mediocre by the world’s standards, I’m OK with that.