A few mornings ago, my 5 year old was at the bathroom door asking for chocolates, a frequent request when any candy is around.
“Can I have a chocolate, Mommy?”
“There are only 3 left.”
“No, you may not have one.”
Ten seconds later…
“Oh I’m sorry, Mommy,” she said with a giggle, “I told you the wrong thing. There are only 2 left.”
“Did you eat one?”
“You can tell me; I won’t be mad.”
“No; I promise I didn’t eat one.”
“So are there still 3 left?”
“Yes,” said a quiet, disappointed voice, now unable to sneak a chocolate undetected!
Do you see what I’m dealing with here? Now I will give her credit, she is quite brilliant. She clearly thought this out, but at least she asked first, right? Ugh. I fear a little bit for her teenage years.
In all seriousness though, the task of parenting is such an enormous responsibility that, at times, feels incredibly terrifying. I will never forget the ride home from the hospital with Madelyn almost 6 years ago. I bawled, partly from the huge hormone shift but also out of fear. Was this really a good idea? Was I the best mom to be entrusted with this precious human being?
As a foster parent, it can be tempting to feel superior, to feel like you have it all together and the birth parents do not. While it is true that some parents are better supported, better equipped or better educated, there are many circumstances in which parents find themselves that they did not choose. Yes, parenthood brings with it a requirement to love and protect. Yes, there are parents who allow evil in and do unspeakable things to their children. The consequences are heartbreaking in those situations. However, I would be lying if I said that I have it all figured out or that I am somehow the best parent for every child. In foster care, I have the incredible opportunity to love a child who needs it, and to work for their very best. In ideal situations, this includes reunification with their families. I pray for the opportunities to be authentic and to show those families that parenting is scary for every mom and dad, regardless of circumstances.
What makes me the best parent for my girls is that God chose my husband and I to have that job. It is not that I am the most gifted, best prepared or even most patient. (Ha- I used to think I was patient. What happened? Seriously! I blame pregnancy.) He blessed us with our two precious daughters as incredible gifts. I have grown far more through the process of motherhood than I have during any other season in my life.
As if marriage wasn’t enough of a stretcher, we had to throw 2 imperfect and selfish miniature people in there who are precious and lovely and demanding, all at the same time! I was reminded recently of the verse, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Well let His grace be shown, because I often feel at my very weakest while mothering.
If nothing else, my goal of this post is to encourage other mamas. If you are feeling inadequate, it is ok. He is more than enough. If you are feeling scared, so am I! Let’s remember that we have been given our babies for a reason. They are ours, and we are the very best choice for them. If you are feeling stretched, be encouraged that this is only a season. This stretching will leave you in a different, but better and stronger, place than you are right now.
I think so often what us mamas need is to know we are not alone, and that no one has “it all together,” no matter how we want it to appear on the outside. (Whatever “it” is.) If I could, I’d have an enormous mama party where we could all get together and lament. As it stands, be encouraged for today. And please, feel share to your own mama stories! (Anyone else have a naughty little genius living with them?)