There are some things I do well as a mom. Not perfectly, but well. I talk to my kids about Jesus and make God part of our everyday life. Easter morning, when I stumbled over some words while saying the breakfast blessing, my 4 year old said, "Mama, you made a mistake, but that's ok. Jesus died on the cross so even when we make mistakes we can still go to heaven". In that moment, I figured I'd done my job as a mom. I listen to my kids' stories and point out things they do well. I encourage them to problem solve and let them participate in real-life experiences like writing a grocery list, cooking, and folding clothes without going behind them to "fix" it. We laugh together, play games (I don't let them win!), and read a lot.
*Whew!* Y'all, that was hard. Really, really hard. Making a list of things we do well without qualifiers or jokes doesn't come easy to us, does it? It's so easy to see the ways we don't measure up. The rest of this article is about things I don't do well and how that's absolutely ok. But before that, I want you to stop. You are not allowed to finish reading until you make a list of things that you do well as a mom. Everyone's list will be different - maintaining a tidy or organized house, feeding them healthy meals, being active with them, spending individual time with each child, reminding them daily that they are loved, having a chore system so they learn independence, patiently helping with homework, establishing consistent routines and bedtimes, supporting your children in their activities, protecting family time in your schedule, being involved in their schools, sports, or activities... there are many things that you do well, so stop. Write them down, say them out loud, tell me if you want! I'll wait.
Ok, you did that, right? I hope so.
On the other hand, there are things that I legitimately need to work on as a mom. For instance, my inability to keep up with laundry hinders my home running as effectively as it should. I could use some serious work on patience and consistent discipline (I imagine about 90% of moms would say they should work on this).
So there are a handful of "mom things" that we're either doing well or need to work on. Most of it, though, falls in the middle. This is where I believe we need to be ok with being a "good enough" mom.
We all have different areas where we have to embrace the "good enough" - mine is any activity that involves making things pretty. The only thing I've ever made that came out beautiful was my daughter ;) I'm a walking #PinterestFail meme.
Take, for instance, when my oldest son was little and I thought I would make rainbow bubbles.
Pinterest does it like this.
I do it like this.
Or a year or so later when I attempted cloud dough - on Pinterest, it looked like this.
When I did it, it looked like this.
When Pinterest does Bible memory verses for kids, it looks like this.
But when I do it, it looks like this.
And let's not forget the time I received a train mold pan for Christmas and my children asked for a train cake. "Of course!", I said "No problem! What kind of cake do you like?" They answered chocolate, of course...
Yeah. So there's that.
But here's the thing. My kids don't care. They LOVE it when I do pretty much anything with them. My son enjoyed his rainbow-colored wipes, the cake was delicious, and my kids are actually learning Bible verses. The only person who cares that it doesn't look amazing is me. In all my years with kids, first as a kindergarten teacher and now as a mom, I've learned that most of the "extra mile" we do is for us, not them (which is ok if you love it!). Not only will our kids be ok if we are a "good enough" mom, they will thrive because they have a mom who has more time to be with them - listening, talking, and really getting to know them. I can 100% guarantee you that your kids would rather have a mom who gets things done "well enough" rather than one who is constantly stressed and busy trying to do everything perfectly.
Mama, I wish you could see yourself through your child's eyes. You would see a magical superhero princess.
When you play basketball, they see Michael Jordan.
When you do crafts, they see Martha Stewart.
When you sing, they hear Aretha Franklin.
When you cook together, they see Julia Child.
When you hang a picture, they see Joanna Gaines.
When you play pretend, they see Tom Hanks.
When you answer their questions, they see Albert Einstein.
Every time you just show up to be with them, they feel loved, secure, and important.
So keep showing up, Mama. "Good enough" is more than enough. It's everything to your kids.
Sarah O’Dell spends her days taking care of her four small people (3 boys and 1 spoiled rotten baby girl) and trying to come up with creative responses to “You sure have your hands full!” As an extrovert who spends most of her time at home with little people, she is frequently found on Facebook sharing the details of her less-than-Pinterest-worthy days to make other moms feel a little more normal.