Our lives are filled with many people happy to tell us how we’re doing things wrong. Lord knows, I’m really great at getting things wrong. But, today – I want to tell you IT’S OKAY!! That’s right. I am sharing with you the joy of knowing that even if you’ve messed some things up – you are gonna be fine. I’ve noticed that we women are great at giving advice. And, we’re even better at pointing out how people could have done things better. But, do you know what I’ve found to be true? Jesus loves me. He loves me even if I didn’t do things just exactly how my friends all thought I should. And, he forgives me for my mistakes. It’s about time we forgive ourselves, don’t you think?
How is it possible we live in a society that is so judgmental about things that really have nothing to do with anyone else? When I got married I was young. So many people told me not to get married because I was ruining my life and I wouldn’t be able to have any fun at all if I wasted my time getting married instead of doing ‘college things’. The truth is I couldn’t imagine anything I wanted to do without my husband. I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d want to go without him. We’ve been married 18 years and I still can’t think of anything I’d want to do without him or anywhere I’d want to go without him. I really hope people have forgiven me for not making the choice they wanted. On the flip side my friends and family who got married later heard lots of advice and reasons why they should have married sooner. They should date more (or less). They should try to look nicer or maybe try different hang out spots. Really? I’m pretty sure most people who are waiting for the right someone are not just sitting there being hideous trolls and slumming it on creepy places. They are living their lives and trying to do their very best. How is that not good enough for everyone around us? You know what? Forgive yourself for not finding a mate sooner. You’re on God’s time. He has a plan and will bring you the person in His time.
When I had my first son everyone had advice on how I should teach him to sleep, eat, and really how do everything. My mom’s way was different than my mother in law’s way. But, amazingly between the two of them they raised several healthy (mostly) normal adults. But, even before we got to that I was told how I should birth him. My natural loving friends told me I should never have my children in a hospital because that’s where sick people go and he’d catch something and die (this literally happened and I was so shocked I didn’t even respond). My modern marvel medical people thought any home birth was a one way ticket to damaging my baby and more than likely a complication would happen that would kill him. I seriously considered both options. But, you know what? Here’s to the moms who had a birth plan and followed it to the T. Whether that birth plan was to have them with a midwife, in a bathtub, or with pain pills in a hospital bed. And, here’s to those moms who really wanted to follow their birth plan but had complications and they had to give up something that really wasn’t that big a deal and just be happy their babies were born healthy. That’s right. The goal is always a healthy baby. We all have our ideas on which way that should happen, but I can tell you nothing is more hurtful or annoying that those who hear what you’ve chosen and decided to inform you that you’re a terrible parent before you’ve even given birth. Feel free to forgive yourself for not following all the advice of everyone in your life on the birth of your child. It’s okay. You want the best for your kids and really that is more about prayer than it is about birthing choice.
To all the moms who struggled over whether they should work or not. Or, those who couldn’t even struggle over it because it really was the only option to support their family. I know you drove away from daycare the first day with tears running down your face. I know your heart felt like it was breaking when you put your sweet baby into someone else’s hands and went to your job. Forgive yourself for doing the best you can to support your family. That’s okay. To all the moms who chose to stay home and lost their place in the rat race – forgive yourself for sacrificing your dreams for your children’s well being. It’s great that you’re in a place to even have that decision.
To all the moms of toddlers – it’s okay that you cannot even consider reading Goodnight Moon one.more.time. It’s okay that you let everyone eat Goldfish crackers for lunch today. Forgive yourself for doing what you need to do to hold it together. Forgive yourself for pretending to be deaf in the car when your toddler is asking “why” for about the 456,928,345 time on the 5 minute ride somewhere. You know what else? Forgive yourself for that early bedtime and the delicious pre-made margarita you enjoyed while sitting alone on the couch for the first time all day.
To the mom of elementary students – realize it’s okay that you laughed directly at your child when they told you “Today we had a hardcore game of 4-square at school”. I’m positive they will forget that damaging moment in a mess of other moments of their childhood. And, it’s okay that when your child says “I’m the only kid in 5th grade without an iPhone” you do not immediately go buy them one. When your child says they are the only one who has to help with chores or pay for their own toys or whatever else, feel free to forgive yourself. You’re trying to instill real life experiences in them and that’s a good thing.
Moms of middle school students – when you can’t hear one more word from the conversation about ‘cute’ boys (or girls) in your child’s class and you tell them phone time is up, you know that’s okay. When you read every.single. text message just so your kids know when they get to high school that should be considered the norm and your kids are frustrated with you – it’s okay. You’re being the best mom you can be and that’s the job God gave you (not being the best friend your child can have).
When your high school student feels like the curfew you set is just not gonna work for them and you have to ground them from something they really want to do so they tell you they can’t wait to move out far away – forgive yourself for being so hard. When they tell their friends you’re mean and strict – forgive yourself. It’s okay to be known as the parent who sets boundaries. Seriously, Moms – let’s be MOMS.
You know those days when you set the entire schedule for the week, including doctors appointments, sport practices and games, family time, hangout time for kids, and everything else and then your husband says to your kids ‘No, we’re not doing that. I’ve planned something different”. Forgive yourself for the glare you give him. Or, even more – forgive yourself for saying “Oh, are you taking over the schedule now? Here’s the list of what needs to happen this week.” You are human. You are doing your best. And, above all – your heavenly Father forgives all these little moments.
It’s time we moms band together. No one, NO ONE is going to do it like we think they should. There isn’t a single person on earth who agrees with 100% of what we think. But. we do have forgiveness in Jesus. We have someone who loves despite our petty moments and sins. How awesome is that? Now, to work on letting go of our guilt and shame for doing our best.