Sometimes I’m a really crappy mom.
Before some sweet soul rushes to my defense, or reminds me that we all have bad days, or worries I’m holding myself to the impossibly high standards that inundate our judgmental society, hear me out.
I am not lamenting the fact that I never do crafts with my kids, or that I probably let them watch too much TV, or that they have less-than-ideal diets. I don’t feel guilty that my home-management skills are sub par or that my kids only get un-Pinterest worthy birthday parties every other year. I’m not ashamed that I breathe a sigh of relief after corralling the kids into bed every night and have no aspirations to become some idealized version of “supermom.” I unabashedly admit that raising these three kids sometimes feels like drowning and that my daughter is making me go gray even though I’m only 31. None of these things make me a crappy mom.
But my sin sometimes does.
Sometimes, when the peace I crave is interrupted by sibling squabbles, I retaliate with a raised voice intended to startle rather than subdue.
Sometimes, when the same question is asked for the umpteenth time, I amplify my annoyance rather than helping them understand my answer.
Sometimes, when they accidentally spill their bowl of cereal on the floor, I scowl at them and swear under my breath instead of reminding them that it’s ok to make mistakes.
Sometimes, when they desperately need a hug to help them calm down after a tantrum, I brush their reaching arms away and withhold forgiveness and affection.
And sometimes, all these things happen on the same day. And I hate it. I don’t want to be a crappy mom. I don’t want my children growing up with the sound of yelling reverberating in their ears. I don’t want them filled with painful memories of my withdrawal. I don’t want them feeling like they need to earn my forgiveness and love. I want my children to experience unconditional love, unending grace, and unrelenting patience.
But even on these days that I fail so miserably, I have every reason to hope.
The same Savior who looked upon a storm and calmed the raging waves, has the power to calm my raging heart. When I am filled with anger, He can fill me with grace. When I am bitter, He can empower my forgiveness. When I am annoyed, He can make me patient. When I covet peace and quiet, He can help me be a peacemaker to my 3 little destroyers of quiet.
And when I fail in ALL of these things—and I will, probably tomorrow—I can remember the most glorious truth that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Every failure of my mothering has been covered by His grace. And it is this truth that helps me not wallow in self-pity, but look towards tomorrow in hope, knowing I already have victory in Him. And this isn’t just my hope for tomorrow, but my children’s hope as well.
Because even as Christ transforms me into a less-crappy mother, I can never love them in the fullness they need. But I can introduce them to Jesus, whose love, grace, and patience is infinite and unchanging. He is everything for them that I can’t be.