I’m not sure when it happened exactly . . . the day I stopped being afraid I wasn’t good enough to raise you.
And maybe it wasn’t even one moment, but a series of moments that stacked on top of each other slowly over time, eventually amassing enough weight to break through my wall of fear.
Whenever it was, I remember the difference between now and then.
I was so prepared. I read the books. I took the classes. I knew that on day one of life, a newborn’s stomach is about the size of a cherry.
I left nothing to chance.
But somewhere between the nesting and excitement, the baby showers and the folding of teeny tiny socks, I had a realization that scared me to death:
I knew how to care for a newborn, but I had no idea how to raise a child—and there’s a big difference.
I mean, I knew how to give a newborn a bath, and I’d read about respectful parenting, but there was a pressure I felt in being someone’s primary role model that I didn’t expect.
How was I supposed to raise you to be the best person you could be when I had so many flaws myself? How could someone as messy as me teach you everything you need to know about life? Did I really want you to end up just like me?
I chased that perfection for what felt like a really long time. Maybe if I could just be together enough—good enough—you wouldn’t notice all my shortcomings, and you’d become the person you were meant to be.
A couple years in, I was tired—so tired—of the pressure and the image.
I remember the day I let it drop. The day I embraced my weakness and stopped trying to brush past it hoping no one, especially you, would notice.
I realized that apologizing to you when I’m wrong teaches a greater lesson than acting like I don’t make mistakes.
I learned that brokenness can be as good a teacher as perfection—maybe even more so.
I realized that flawless people don’t exist, and that despite anyone’s best efforts, it’s impossible to raise a flawless child in a fallen world.
But maybe most importantly of all, I learned that you’re my charge, my responsibility to guide and love and shape . . . but you’re not mine.
And as hard as that initially was to wrap my mind around, it was also freeing.
I love you more than you know, sweet one. And I will continue to read all the books and do the best I possibly can as your mama.
But I’m not perfect. I’m going to make mistakes in how I raise you, in what I model for you.
And it doesn’t scare me anymore because I know there is grace enough to cover my mistakes.
I might not be good enough. But there’s One who is, and you’re His anyway.
Originally published on the author’s Facebook page