For over 5 1/2 years now, I’ve been either pregnant or breastfeeding babies back-to-back.
Sometimes I wake up and think: “Wow! How did I go from a working wife to a stay-at-home mom of three–three!–children under five years old?”
It’s been a whirlwind–to say the least.
I started this site two years ago with intentions of chronicling my journey to becoming a better mom.
But I failed–miserably.
Oh, I’ve accomplished a lot of what I set out to do, but the biggest take-away I’ve had in this two-year venture is that there is no set formula to “perfect” motherhood. And propositioning yourself to attain such lofty goals just sets you up for disappointment.
Really? I’m just a humbled homemaker. Plain and simple.
So my new motto has become to take things one day at a time–and to give myself grace.
Grace when I lock my keys in the car.
Grace when I succumb to electronic Christmas cards instead of taking hours to address and stamp and mail the real things.
Grace when I forget my little girl’s preschool parent-teacher conference because I’d been up most of the night before.
Grace when I swing through the Chick-fil-A drive-through for lunch and order a pizza for dinner instead of cooking from scratch 100 percent of the time.
Grace when I diaper my babies in disposables instead of cloth because the laundry pile is already a mile high with clothes and linens, and I just don’t need more laundry this week.
Grace when the dirty dishes in the sink have been sitting there for two days.
Grace when I have to call off a playdate or a meeting because my home and family need me more.
Grace given to my kids when they whine and cry and “wake up on the wrong side of the bed”….because they’ve probably seen those same behaviors in their mommy.
I’m ditching the mommy guilt and embracing the mommy grace.
And maybe, just maybe, by focusing on grace, I’ll learn to be a better mother after all.
What are some ways you ditch mommy guilt and embrace mommy grace?
I originally wrote this for a January 2013 edition of the Mooresville Weekly newspaper.
I had 3 kids in 3 yrs. and 5 mos. Was done breastfeeding after a little less than 5 yrs. Probably needed this although I used cloth diapers, having 2 in those same cloth diapers twice, having just 4 doz. flat cloths. I didn’t go through drive thrus. Guess you do what you have to do. I gardened and preserved foods even being very pregnant or breastfeeding. I just kept going till I was done with my work for the day and then slept. Good post. Good thinking. Keep up the good work.
I actually told myself that I wasn’t reading emails today because they are full of blogs on parenting and eating whole/organically/from scratch. And a day after a stomach virus engulfed my home and laundry, I just don’t feel like being reminded of everything I “should” be doing and the impossibly high standards I hold myself to sometimes. I decided to read my Bible instead, and just rest in Christ and seek Him today. That’s it. And your email just caught my eye and I had to read, and I’m so glad that I did. I have 3 under four and I am expecting in July. I abandoned cloth diapers today because after cleaning bodily functions all day yesterday, I don’t feel like spraying poop into a toilet. I will probably turn on the TV today and leave it on for more than the 30 min a day I try to maintain. I probably won’t let the kids help me with housework today, I will probably tell then to please go play so that for one day, I can actually clean at a fast pace. Oh, for breakfast, I asked my husband to just let me sleep an extra hour and please just eat a frozen breakfast burrito (don’t worry, it’s organic ;)) instead of the usual breakfast spread I prepare. Today, this week, I need grace, because that’s what it’s about. God’s presence, God’s perfection, not my own.
Cheryl L. Stansberry
I have four children and over the course of the past ten years as a family we have struggled a lot with small things and mightly with larger things such as medical problems that my sweet kids have had to endure. We just found out last Monday that my 15-month-old son will probably require brain surgery in the next few months because it appears he, like his big brother, has hydrocephalus. Through everything God has been breaking me of my selfishness and impatience with the children. I do not feel guilty over the small things such as types of diapers or food or whatnot, but in how I relate to my children, teach them, and discipline them. There are two things that I view to be the most important in embracing grace. One is that God is Sovereign. The second is that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. His words, My grace is sufficient for you leads me to strive to be a better mom despite the circumstances.
I sometimes feel guilty for not wanting to spend more time with my kids. I work full-time, but I don’t want to spend all of my weekends going to playdates or taking them out somewhere. I’ve allowed myself to do things for myself on some weekends when I “should” be hanging out with my kids.
I loved this and really needed to hear it today as I feel “inadequate” as my laundry (approx 10 loads has overtaken my couch and the drive through has been the main source of our intake this month. I’m pregnant with #4 (14 wks along) and I’m just so tired! My other 3 being 1, 3 and 5 just want Mommy to play outside with them and honestly that route has been way more enjoyable this week than a spotless house…. seriously considering just hiring someone to come help me catch up. I love your blog, it’s the only one I subscribe to, because as others have said, I don’t want to be reminded of all the things I should be doing for my kids. I LOVE your pics of your laundry room floor as it reminds me that it really doesn’t matter as long as our kids are loved and know that Jesus Christ is their Lord and God has a special plan for their lives. KEEP BLOGGING, ALL THE GOOD, BAD AND UGLY!
Each and every day I have to give myself Grace. I have been where you are, or darn close to it. My boys are now 13,16, 17 and everyday there are things that happen that still make me say “aaahhhh”. For many years I would berate myself for not doing this or that or for actually doing this or that. It is a hard road we travel as mommies. We have to remember though that we are not super human we are only human. Not two days ago I forgot to pick my son up from track practice. The phone rings, caller ID is the school, still no bell ringing and then I answer…as soon as I heard his “Hi Mom”, I went into panic overdrive. There went the bells and whistles…how could I have forgotten. Well that was simple, to many things going on and not enough time, sleep, or paid help (that’s on my wish list). He harassed me, I apologized, we joked about and the very next day he forgot to even go to practice. Definitely comes by it naturally.
thank u!!! thank u for being so raw and real and open. i have 3 kids, ages 3, 1, and 6 months. and often i feel like i am failing. thank u for sharing just a little bit of ur life and helping me feel like im not so alone.
Thanks for this. It actually made me cry – which should tell you a lot.
I’ve had strep this week. I have a special needs kiddo whom I homeschool/therapize all week. And I’ve done a lousy job the past couple of days, between fever and exhaustion.
Grace. It’s hard!
I think it’s probably hardest to give ourselves grace. I pray the rest of this week goes better for you!
Wow! Totally trying to absorb this…on bedrest @ 8wks pregnant for low progesterone, large subchoironic hematoma, and random fever. Mom to 4 ages 10,7,4,2 and this morning was not graceful at all I totally lost it :(bad. I was so tired of stepping on things to walk anywhere. It’s like they know I’m not going to buzzing around checking on things, so they just go outside to play, making me walk outside to get them! Where is the line between needing grace and just plain disobedience?
I think that is hard! I think we know in our spirits. We can be angry/frustrated and not sin. It’s what we do with it that can become sin. I pray you feel better soon!
I’m a new mommy (4 months) and new blogger, and I was working on a post with the exact same theme when I got this one in my inbox. I hope it’s ok if I link to it in my post. Thanks for the great words of encouragement.
You can absolutely link to it. I would be honored. 🙂
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Such a great post. I completely agree. I would add mommy support too. Reaching out to our fellow struggling moms. It takes a community.
Thanks for sharing!