At the risk of destroying all ‘good mama’ cred I may possess, I have to make a confession here. Being a mother did not come naturally to me. Feeling only a profound weariness at the birth of my firstborn, the first thing I wanted to do afterwards was eat. I was famished. The only tears I almost shed that day were for the hospital enchiladas they brought me. Never had institutional food tasted so good. Only after I had enjoyed my feast did I wonder where they’d taken my baby.
That stings to admit.
Due to a slight heartbeat issue my daughter had, we stayed in the hospital for five days. During that time, I looked at this little stranger in my arms and wondered, what in the heck was I supposed to do now? To cover up my ignorance, I rang for the nurse every time my baby girl needed a diaper change. Pleading exhaustion, I covered the embarrassing truth that I was utterly clueless as to how to do this motherhood gig.
Carefully observing how the experts did it, I eventually got the diaper thing down and that became my M.O. Watching other mamas, I tried to emulate them. Adopting their methods and parenting philosophies, I was disheartened that nothing seemed to work the same for me. Other women were so much better at this thing!
The next several years were a cycle of trial and error, trying on the skins of other mamas whom I admired. Inevitably, I would end up feeling inadequate, defeated, and depressed. But the God I serve is gracious and over the course of many years He brought me to a startling revelation.
I wasn’t designed to parent like someone else. I am called to live this life in alignment with the gifts, talents, and passions my Father has instilled in me.
Once I embraced my own style, my own strengths as a mama, well, then I was free to be my own *groovy self. I found freedom from the burden of unrealistic expectations and no longer felt the need to play the comparison game with others. What a weight was lifted!
At this point in the game, I’ve decided I have only one parenting philosophy. Be your own groovy self. The self that our marvelous Creator designed you to be. I could care less whether you use the breast or the bottle, wear your baby or let them cry it out, homeschool them or send them to public. I’ve learned that my way may not be your way.
We should all be willing to learn from each other and grow, but ultimately we must find our own groove, our own rhythm of mothering that enables us to do a bang-up job of it. Nifty, yes?
So remember mama, no one else can parent like you can. Our Father, in His infinite creativity, crafted you with a distinct personality type, temperament, and love language. Your life’s experiences and your own upbringing contribute as well to make you the lovely and complex person you are. You were gifted with a smashing set of talents and passions that your children need.
God chose YOU to be mama to your kids. In His omniscience, He knew all of the quirks and hangups you would have. He knew every single mistake you would make as a mother and yet He gave these little people to you anyway. Sit and chew on that for a moment, my friends. Humbling, isn’t it?
But wait, there’s more! Our Father is so gracious He also gives us access to His unlimited store of love, joy, peace, patience, and grace to draw from. That’s pretty swell, I’d say.
Being a mama is challenging enough without trying to be someone you’re not. Let us trust that our Lord knows what He is doing and just be our own groovy selves!
Grace and peace,
*WordWeb Dictionary: Groovy: very good
=band-up, bully, dandy, great, keen, lovely, neat, nifty, not bad, peachy, slap-up, smashing, swell
Featured image by bakharev at bigstockphoto.com