Due to the gift of being able to stay home with E most of the time, I have the awesome privilege of getting to hang out with a lot of amazing moms. E and I go to two play groups, and also are involved in several different adoption groups that meet once a month. I get a lot of “mommy chat” which I love. My life is filled with amazing, Godly women who I am so honored to be raising my child with. Recently, I have been hearing such a trend in these chats. From the things they say, to the e-cards they post on Facebook, to the articles they share or the topics they get emotional about, I have come to realize a few things...
We all wonder if we are doing a good job. All of us. There has been a slew of articles going viral on social media recently about this topic. Articles highlighting the fact that we are all worried if we are failing, and encouraging us that we are not. The insecurity in motherhood is as old as time, but exacerbated by social media in this day and age. From the constant update emails from BabyCenter or Pampers or Enfamil, to the Pinterest projects and mommy blogs (I know, I know. I am a Mommy Blog too...ironic, huh?), there seems to be this idea out there that every other mom is doing better than us. They are doing 101 craft ideas for toddlers all winter, and their kids never watch Calliou for an hour while mom cleans the kitchen. We think every other kid hit every milestone on time except our kid. We worry about how many words they say, what colors they know, how picky they are at mealtimes. Is our house messier than other moms, do we cook enough, are our kid well behaved enough....the list goes on and on. (Adoption throws a few more into the mix...are we too open? Not open enough? Will XYZ from the birth family affect our child? Will XYZ from the adoptive family affect our child?)
A friend without children yet recently expressed fears to me about if she was “ready” for motherhood. Will she do a good job? Will life change? How will she know what to do?
Did I have these fears? Absolutely. Despite our prayer, excitement, fundraising, and active pursuit of parenthood through adoption...I had fear. When we drove away from the hospital with E tucked into his infant seat, so terrifyingly small, I thought “Are they seriously letting us take this child home? They must not know that we have no idea what we are doing.”
And still, 16 months later, I worry every day if I am doing a good job or not. Am I on my phone too much? Is E being exposed to enough educational material? Will an episode of Thomas The Train affect his chances of a scholarship to college by deadening his brain cells? Does he eat too many goldfish and not enough organic homemade fish-shaped snacks? (I mean if you have time to make those, more power to you. The very idea makes me cringe.) On and on....
So I know we have all seen and read a million posts about this same topic recently online. But you know what’s been missing from most of them (especially the ones that go viral)? Christ. We are first and foremost followers of Christ. Before we are wives, before we are mothers. God is first. A friend recently told me that every day, all we can do is lift our children up to Christ with open hands. When we parent with Christ in the relationship, the million things that are up for debate in parenting don’t matter so much. I trust God with Eli. I trust Him to give me wisdom to parent, and I thank Him for grace when I screw up. Because some days, instead of matching colors and working on puzzles, Eli does this:
And despite all my nifty Ikea organization pieces and attempts to keep toys in their rightful places, some days my house looks like this:
And maybe I am typing this post right now instead of picking up toys or washing diapers...
And I thank God that Eli is going to turn out just as he is supposed to. Partly because of me, and partly in spite of me. And your kids will, too...if you invite Christ into the parenting relationship. Its not always easy but it's so worth it. To take all that insecurity as a mom and lay it at the cross? What a relief.
Some of my favorite “Are we good enough parents?” and parental debate posts: