I keep a parenting scorecard. Yes, I’m measuring myself daily. As in, how am I measuring up as a mom? The calculation determines whether I’m winning or losing the day. My mental scorecard looks sorta like this:
- Maintained patience for 45 minutes trying to convince my screaming 3-year-old to get dressed in the morning. SCORE: A+
- Same day, I lost my patience with the same 3-year-old trying to convince him to put pajamas on. Yelled at my son and made the situation worse. SCORE: F
- Bought all new spring clothes, shoes, pajamas, hats, for the boys super early this year. We are ready for warmer weather! SCORE A
- Still cannot convince either child that I’m not attacking them when brushing their hair. Boys went to school looking disheveled. SCORE D
THE TALLY: WINNING AND LOSING
As I walk through my day, there are moments I mentally pat myself on the back. The feeling I have is that “I’m winning the day as a mom.” I remembered to sign my child up for soccer and have all the gear he needs ready to go! I finally got my son to eat apples! My kids brushed their teeth without a fight! The new trick I used to get my son into the bath worked! I AM WINNING!
Then, of course, there are those days where all I do is beat myself up. I’m clearly “losing the day as a mom.” A great recent example… my son wouldn’t wear his PJs to bed. Thinking it wasn’t worth a battle, I let him pick out a regular shirt to wear to bed. What’s the harm, right? Well, the next morning, he refused to take the shirt off because he wanted to wear it to school. So, guess what… I gave up and he wore the shirt to school. Did I mention it was school picture day? Did I mention he wouldn’t let me brush his hair (see bullet point above regarding being attacked). I AM LOSING!
And because it’s so much easier to believe that I’m losing, I can quickly compound the situation by comparing myself to others. Yes, my child took his school photo in a rumpled, dirty shirt. Your child looks like he just stepped out of a catalog. You got him to wear a button-up shirt? And cute suspenders? Clearly YOU are winning.
WHEN I’M WEAK, CHRIST MAKES ME STRONG
I work really hard to comfort myself. My kids know they are loved. My kids are safe. They are well provided for. They live in a happy home.
But, but, but… I’ve always excelled at school, work, whatever I put my mind to. There is nothing like motherhood that seems to leave me feeling quite so defeated. That leaves me feeling weak. That leaves me feeling overwhelmed and uncertain. In this season, I find that I need to turn to God EVERY DAY because He tells us “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) So, yes - I am weak. But, Christ makes me strong.
I place my trust in God, because I know it’s His will that I’m a mother. He’s granted me the privilege of raising these two precious children. He appointed me to their care and He won’t let me fail.
Now, that clarity still doesn’t mean I’m always going to earn As…and maybe that’s the point. God wants me to turn to Him. God wants me to rely on him. God wants to lift me up and make me strong. He wants me to realize that I cannot and should not do this alone.
So, maybe I need to stop keeping score. Because even if my son takes his school photo in a dirty shirt, he still loves me and so does God. Turns out, I just need to love myself better.
For more reflections on motherhood, read these articles from some Liquid moms:
- Recovering Your Identity by Debi Fabrazzo
- Pursuing The Joy Of Being Present by Lauren Bercarich
- Dear Young Mom Me by Esther Goetz