“Mom, where is the toothpaste?” “Moooom, I can’t find my tennis shoes!” “MOM, my brother is in my room!” Mom, mom, mom… my name was cried over and over until I just couldn’t take it anymore. After the next bellow, I yelled back up the stairs, “I’ve changed my name!”
“What?” he asked, “What is it?”
“I’m not telling you,” I replied.
I know. It was a mom fail moment, and I’m not proud of it. (But tell me you’ve at least thought it too!)
Does your child think you know everything? You’re the head honcho, the expert, the all-understanding one. No matter who else is in the house (or even the same room), “Mom!” is likely the call when anything is needed—from a clean piece of laundry to advice on how to handle an angry friend. You may still be living in those days. As the parent of young adults, let me tell you, it doesn’t last forever!
Although it’s occasionally an irritant to be the source of all wisdom for our kids, there are lots of instances when it’s easy to buy into our own press release. It feels good for someone to think we’re perfect. It’s easier to act like we haven’t made any mistakes than to apologize. We figure it’s our turn to be the authority.
So we put on the façade of the perfect mom.
Then we try to sell it to our kids, our husbands and everyone else around us. I know I fell into the perfect mom pit when my boys were little. For me, and I’ll bet for you, it started with the best of intentions. This mom gig is important, and I wanted to do it right. It doesn’t take much, however, to veer away from a heart-felt desire to be a good mom into the dangerous pursuit of our own perfection.
I want to whisper a freeing truth to you today. Our kids don’t need a perfect mom. Instead, they desperately need an imperfect mom. Not a mom who embraces her imperfections, but a mom who recognizes her weaknesses and makes grace for theirs.
Because the world is more comfortable with masks…
The world has been speaking to your boys and girls since they were born, and the messages are loud and clear. “This is what it looks like to be beautiful.” “This is what it means to be successful.” “This is how you act to be accepted.” “This is what you believe if you’re smart.”
Kids learn early to wear a mask to follow the messages and fit in, but you don’t want them to wear a mask. You want them to be the fulfillment of every dream God had when He created them in His image. You want them unmasked and glorious!
There’s only one way to make sure our children don’t accumulate a stack of masks, and it’s a hard step as a mom. You have to take off your own masks and throw them away if you don’t want your kids to hide behind theirs.
We were crafted to live in God’s image, not to create our own, so masks, shape-shifting and measuring up have to go. We have to do some self-evaluation. What role do I hide behind? What “un-cool” gift do I suppress? Whose measuring stick do I use for my success as mom, wife, friend…?
Because she’s tired…
American children today are more scheduled than ever before. In addition to school and church, there are lessons, teams, and play dates. While it’s healthy for children to be challenged, many kids seem exhausted and overwhelmed. I know I feel the same way lots of days. Don’t you?
We need to constantly check our motivation. Is my busyness a sign of productivity or a symptom of perfection? As we value and prioritize rest rather than driving ourselves and our children, we’ll set an example that they’ll easily follow. As moms, let’s make time for worship, work, rest, and play so that our children will learn God’s rhythms for their lives.
Because she needs to know Jesus is the hero…
When we wear the perfect mom façade, then our kids think we’re perfect… for a time. What happens when they get older and the façade inevitably crumbles?
When we own up to our own imperfections instead of trying to hide them, it’s an easy introduction to Jesus, the true Perfect One. We can apologize to our children when we make parenting mistakes and explain God’s forgiveness toward us as we say we’re sorry. We can talk about our need and God’s provision of grace when we fail.
Only when we end our pursuit of perfection can God begin His perfecting work in us.
Our kids will see God’s power in us as we confess our weaknesses, and Jesus becomes the hero of our homes when we are truthful about our own sin and imperfections.
I’ve spent a year thinking of little else except the problems with perfectionism as I wrote Breaking Up with Perfect. Now that the book is released, I’m getting surprising feedback. Although I wrote the book for women, I’m getting lots and lots of comments from moms about how worried they are about their kids’ perfectionism and the devastating effects in their lives.
Imperfect moms can be the buffer between their children and the world that presents a pile of unrealistic expectations. What a relief it will be for our children when they’re allowed to see our imperfections. What a relief for us.
The winner of the giveaway is Jennifer Gann! Thank you all for commenting to enter and we encourage you to grab a copy of Amy’s book from Amazon or your local book retailer!
Giveaway: Today Amy is giving away a signed copy of “Breaking Up with Perfect”. Leave a comment about being an imperfect mom to enter or simply say “I’m breaking up with perfect!”
Amy also has a free series of spin-off thoughts from Breaking Up with Perfect called “Five Days to Himperfection” click here to subscribe.