Let’s face it, no matter how hard we try, no one is perfect at this thing called parenting, and I have to admit that is a hard pill to swallow for this overachieving mom. Why even this week, much to my dismay, I was reminded of the fact that despite all of my BEST efforts (I even bought a book, for crying out loud), I don’t have all the answers and never will. This is not a new lesson for me, but rather it is one that I have had to learn over and over.
When I became pregnant with Emma, only on rare occasions would you see me without my nose stuck in the book What to Expect When You are Expecting, and I think I even had the book Babywise just about memorized. I was determined to be the best mom that I could be, but Emma was anything but textbook–starting with the emergency C-section and most definitely including the 7 or 8 wakings every night until she was 3 due to severe reflux. I quickly learned that all the reading and preparing that I had done ahead of time was pretty much for nothing because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
Perhaps one of the worst mommy-fail moments was on a concert weekend when we took Emma with us. Thankfully, my sweet mother-in-law came along to help. On the way home, Emma was very fussy. Nothing would pacify her-which wasn’t like her at all. I tried feeding her throughout the day, but all she would do was cry. I became worried that she was ill and even gave her a little Tylenol to help her feel better. To make a long story short, at the end of the day my mother-in-law figured out that her bottle was clogged. I felt so terrible! The poor little thing was starving and once she had an unclogged bottle she sure guzzled it for all she was worth!
Then, there’s the time she was sick with a really bad cold. We had a vaporizer going in her bedroom to help with all of the congestion. About forty minutes after laying her down for her nap, Robb and I both went in to check on her. As we approached her bedroom, all we could see was steam pouring out from under her door. Robb quickly opened the door to find that the steam was so thick we literally couldn’t even see her crib. I don’t know if it was from my lack of sleep or my overzealousness in wanting to help her stuffy nose, but when I laid Emma down for her nap I guess I got a little crazy with the salt in the vaporizer. Let’s just say her hair was very curly and her skin was very hydrated after that nap!
I could go on and on with more stories of my imperfections as a mom, but I’m learning that it is a constant process of completely relying on God to help me as I teach and train her little heart. I also have found that just when I think I have things figured out, we enter a whole new stage with all kinds of new lessons for both of us. For example, the stage we are now entering of navigating through the social issues of our culture, explaining changes in her body, and dealing with rejection from other girls is probably the most daunting and overwhelming stage yet. But I am finding that God is using this whole process to TEACH ME and to DRAW ME close to Him. The last thing I ever want to do is to fail at the most important assignment God has given me. I only get one shot at this thing of being a mom, so the only way to do it well it to recognize that I can’t do it on my own. I need God every single day to lead me and guide me so that I can help my daughter learn to do the same.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And lean not unto your own understanding.
In all your ways, acknowledge Him
And He shall direct thy paths.
Lord Jesus, I don’t always get everything right being a mom. There are nights when I go to bed thinking through everything I have said or done, wondering if it could have been done better. Help me, Lord, to not be so obsessed with perfection, but rather to seek You every day and allow You to direct my words, my thoughts, and all my interactions with this precious gift you have given me. And may You continue to use even the imperfect moments to remind me that I may not have it all together, but You do and that is EVERYTHING we need.