I so badly want to be the perfect mom, but I’m far from it. Yesterday proved it—and it also proved another thing—I don’t have to be perfect in order for the kids to know they are perfectly loved.
They fought during school, and I had to keep giving consequences like “For your disrespect, I want you to go clean two bathrooms.”
Later, after checking his work and noticing he did a swift, unsatisfactory wipe-down, “I want you to scrub these bathrooms well, and for not doing a good job, I want you to clean the third bathroom.”
Another child called a friend in the middle of a chore I asked her to do (which was also a consequence, by the way), and when it was time to go I called (and called and called and called).
Definitely one of those days where I wondered where the training had disappeared to.
Three of the kids had dental work lined up, and I accidentally double booked one child for sealants and orthodontist work, in two separate offices miles apart. Cancel one, keep the other, drop her off in one office while I head to the next one with the other kids, hopefully on time.
The youngest boy has two cavities (which makes me feel horrible, of course). Why didn’t I floss those back teeth? But who can floss a child’s molars??
He’s happy, grinning from ear to ear as the assistant puts head phones on his ears for a movie and tells him he’s the boss today. Twenty-first century work vibes, for sure.
He doesn’t get all the movies he wants at home, and is never told he’s the boss. I soon discovered why they gave him all the props, as they put laughing gas tubes on his nose and covered his mouth in green plastic while the work began.
He cried out in pain periodically, and I winced, prayed, held his hands, and even plugged my ears. I’m that mom. Not brave at all when the kids are in pain and I can’t stop it.
By now the oldest child is waiting at her orthodontist’s office, ready to come home. The second child gets called in for sealants, and when he’s through we head for sister, who sighs and lets me know how long she’s been waiting. I head to the desk to book a consultation for the third child whose teeth are also needing attention.
I promise brave youngest child a milk shake, and also get one for oldest child whose mouth is throbbing from tightened braces. Good mom, or bad mom? Sugar, or no sugar? For now, I choose to block cavity concerns and create sweet memories instead.
The day goes on, and I spend time with the girls after dinner. We’re knee-deep in our favorite show, and Daddy comes home to join us. It’s a cozy time and we’re all laughing, relaxing together after a very full day.
I’m leaning against him on the couch when it hits me. The second child is at youth group, and I FORGOT TO PICK HIM UP.
Moms, have you ever done that? You know that feeling?
I’m panicking, running for my purse and the door at lightening speed. I bolt out the driveway and resist the urge to honk loudly at the very slow car ahead of me. In my distress, I miss the closest exit and have to move slowly through town, willing that gigantic truck ahead of me to move off the road.
The thought of my boy wondering where his mom is has me in near tears.
Sure enough, he’s standing outside waiting while the youth leader waits in his car. I scroll down the window and apologize profusely, giving lame explanations like “I was spending time with my daughters, and my husband came home……..”
He smiles and makes light of it. Good man. I know that he knows just how badly a mama feels in such a moment.
Ack. Just Ack.
My boy is gracious and accepts my apology. “Will you buy me a milk shake to make up for it?”
“Of course I will! Do you want a burger, too?”
He could ask me for about anything right now, and he knows it. I order a large chocolate shake piled high with whipped cream and hand it over. Never mind it’s bed time and kids shouldn’t have sugar before bed.
We nestle down on the couch and I wrap him up. He’s loved, and he knows it.
The dog poops on the carpet in the middle of the night, and again in the morning. I wake to piles of brown all over the living room and my office floor. We got the dog for this child when he was very small because we found him huddled under the trampoline praying for a dog.
Who wouldn’t buy a dog at that moment, even if large dogs were on the top of her dislike list?
The child who got left behind is still squeezing favors from last night’s mistake. I know I’ll keep hearing this, “Because you didn’t come on time last night, can you—–?”
He’s half joking, of course.
I’m grateful that with all of life, we can make big mistakes but still be covered by an even bigger God. That love wins and we get to accept the fact that we will fail, and those we love will fail, and God wraps all of us up in His Love that never fails.
Sister, you don’t have to be perfect. Allow Perfect Love to cover your weakness and wash your soul in grace. Allow your kids (and your man) to see you fail and get back up again. Allow yourself to breathe when you mess up.
Because God never does, and your kids will see Him cover you, and cover them, and His love to permeate all of your lives, together.
When you mess up big, love even bigger!