February 4: A Standard of Grace

Just about every single piece of silverware we own was dirty. The dishes were about the same. Laundry day was yesterday, and there's still a rumpled, smelly pile of clothes on the floor yet to be touched. It's now Tuesday, but I still haven't managed to shake my terrible case of "the Monday's."  

Can I blame it on the fact that we ran out of coffee?? I'm not sure about that, but I was kind of shocked at how much the lack of it affected my energy level respectively. According to the article I just read, I need to "address my diet & exercise, which is likely at the root of my fatigue." To which I responded, Exercise?? You mean I'm supposed to exercise? 

I'll be sure to get right on that. 

As I was half falling asleep on the couch this morning while Toby watched Batman, I thought about all the things I'd failed to do already this week as a mom, & it's only Tuesday. I'd completely blown off the routine & accomplished very little except snuggling on the couch with Toby & cooking meals. Believe me, I have all the dishes to prove it. They're still dirty. I just keep shoving the dirty pots over and get out a clean one. Hey, I can still get to one of the burners on the stove, & that's all you really need, right?

I glanced around at the mess of a family room with toys everywhere and piles of unfolded laundry, and I thought, why isn't it ok to have a "bad mom day" every once in a while? After all, we have bad hair days, sick days, fat days--what's the difference? Why does what I perceive to be a failure in my purview as a mother affect my very identity & worth?

It does because being a mother is not just something I do, it's who I am. In my mind I become a failure as a person. Someone who just can't live up to the standard of a "good mother." Someone who isn't creative enough, crafty enough, loving enough, tidy enough, efficient enough, Pinteresty enough, fun enough. Someone who isn't... Enough.

My failures in motherhood affect my very core, and suddenly, I'm not just having a bad day or a bad moment, but I'm a bad mom.

I just yelled and screamed at them AGAIN. I'm such a bad mom!

I forgot to put their lunch in their bookbag! What kind of mother doesn't remember to pack lunch?!?! I'm such a bad mom. 

I didn't notice that their shoes were too small, or that they had a rash, or that their toenails were ingrown, or or or... I'm such a bad mom!

I didn't get any of the laundry put away, AGAIN... I'm such a bad mom...

I snapped at them and corrected them harshly, and they were just being kids. I hurt their feelings. I'm such a bad mom...

The reality is, people mess up, every day. This includes moms, especially myself. Why I seem to hold myself to this illusionary standard of perfection is a mystery to me, but I'm sure I'm not the only one. I was able to acknowledge that impossible standard today, and I propose a standard of grace instead. 

Bad mom moments or bad mom days are just that--chunks of time that will come and go. They don't define who you are as a mother or a person any more then cheating on your diet nullifys all the weight you've lost. It's the process that counts, the journey as a whole. It's saying I'm sorry, it's getting up again tomorrow and by the grace of God, trying again. It's not living in the shadow of your mistakes but allowing them to help refine and shape the person you're becoming. 

Allow yourself a standard of grace today. You're doing a good job, mama!!