I’m graduating this week. Sunday was a Baccalaureate service for our oldest child, and the week will wrap up with the commencement of her Class of 2013. While my long-ago-little girl takes exams and anticipates her diploma, I’m doing some evaluating of my own. I’ve been the best mom I could be, but I have not been a perfect mom. Is mommy guilt seeping in? A mom can’t help but ask herself if she did the right things, made too many mistakes, or gave her children a good example to follow.
Did my children see me?
- … read my Bible enough?
- … smile often?
- … hug their daddy?
- … ignore my phone while driving?
- … make dinner?
- … call my own mom?
- … drink 8 glasses of water a day?
- … be active instead of a couch potato?
- … make the bed most days?
- … read good books?
On this graduation week, I am keenly aware I was not meant to keep my children with me for a lifetime. I was supposed to graduate to a new season of mothering. And I will … whether or not I’m ready. Pulling out pictures of pre-school and braces and sleepovers (to decorate for our Open House) stirred up lots of joy and smiles and gratitude. How thankful I am for the daughter I see trying on her cap and gown in front of the mirror upstairs; she delights my heart. But from somewhere deep in my mom-heart, doubts and regrets arise, like wondering if I could’ve done extra credit before the semester was over. I laid a lot of “what if’s” and “wish I woulda’s” and “maybe I shoulda’s” on my myself.
And then I read Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray;we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
To a mom in any stage who wonders if she did well enough or even did enough, the perfect, heavenly Parent says, “I know you’ve been imperfect. You all have, and I knew you would. I never expected you to be a perfect mother. I have taken all of your parenting failures, moments of inadequacy, bad mommy-moments, and human habits, and I have laid that on top of my Son who took them away for you. Be free to celebrate the person I am making your child to be, because I am working in their life and in yours too. My Son the Lamb has carried off your blunders. Enjoy.”
Perfection is not a requirement for graduations from pre-school or high school or college … or seasons of motherhood. Let’s not let doubts or regrets rob us of the joy purchased for us by our heavenly Daddy who invites us to dance through our mothering journey with a free and confident heart.