Many years ago, when I had several young children at home and was lamenting about our homeschooling method (if you can call lack of structure, continual procrastination, total chaos, and disorganization a “method,”) a fellow mom said one of the most helpful and hopeful things I’ve ever heard:
“You are not horrible. You are what God needs you to be for your kids. Did you ever try to stop fighting what is natural for you and just go with it?”
This was the most freeing thing I’d ever been told. And now that my kids are older and I can look back at the past with a great deal more perspective, I share her words with you:
Moms, you are what God needs you to be for your kids.
You have specific talents and strengths and abilities that are unique to you – given by God to equip you to raise these children—your children. I know there are a thousand ways in which you feel you’re doing things wrong, a thousand ways you feel you don’t “measure up,” but the the truth is that there are a thousand ways in which you’re doing things right that are unique to you and the people God loves with His whole heart, right there in your home.
You may be a horrible history teacher, but your kids excel in art and science. You may never get down the floor to play cars or dolls with your children, but you’re out there for every soccer game, cheering them the loudest. You may never feed them meals from scratch, but you stay up till midnight hand sewing the ballet costume for the dance recital. And I know you get impatient and snippy and nag and yell and say things you don’t mean because we all do. We. All. Do. But we also let our kids know in a hundred different ways that we love them.
Your kids are going to grow up lacking in some things and excelling in others because you are their mom. They’re going to have strengths and weaknesses just like you do. We can’t all be great at everything. We’re not supposed to be great at “everything.” And it may be that those things you consider “weakness,” those things you think you’re doing “wrong,” those are the very things that are going to ensure your kids are the unique, amazing people God wants them to be. Your kids will grow up to be a little bit awkward, or irritating, or terrible at mathematics, or ignorant about cooking, or computer programming, or fixing their own vehicles. They’re also going to become the next government officials, or find the cure for cancer, or compose beautiful music, or cook delicious food, or enjoy nature with their whole hearts, or help their friends and neighbors. And they will pass on their own set of unique, amazing skills to the next generation because you raised them. YOU. With all your strengths and weaknesses, faults and virtues, successes and failures, holding tight to Jesus as you navigate these torrential waters of parenthood.
Take it from a mom who has come out the other side of this great parenting experiment, a mom who has successfully raised three daughters and (almost) a son into their teenage years and can finally—finally!—see the fruits of her labor:
You are not horrible.
You are exactly what God needs you to be for your kids.
And you’re doing much better than you think.