Prevent parenting burn-out, step 2: Silence your inner critic.
I’m not doing enough.
I forgot to do a devotion this morning.
I’m not teaching my kids enough about God and the Bible every day.
My 5-year-old doesn’t know how to read yet.
I don’t feed my kids a perfect rainbow of organic vegetables.
I cook healthy food, but my kids don’t eat it; their favorite food is macaroni and cheese—the fake-cheese, preservative-full kind.
Whenever I see all those cute art projects that look so great on Pinterest, all I can think is, ‘That’s adorable, and maybe it would be fun and educational, but . . . I don’t really feel like making that mess in my house. Or spending all that money on art supplies. And what in the WORLD would the baby do while the other kids are sculpting vegetables in the style of Michelangelo?’
If anyone found out about all this, they’d kick me out of parenthood. I’m the Worst Mom Ever.
Sound familiar? Sometimes we see things other moms post on social media, about how they did some cool art project with their kids, or fed them all these perfect whole-food meals, and we sit there and think, “I’m the worst mom. Everyone else is doing this so much better than I am. God should fire me.”
But when I start thinking those things, I have to remind myself: I’m the only mom these kids have. I’m not perfect. But you know what? We laughed a lot today. We danced crazy dances today. And I think my kids like me the way I am. I think my husband likes me the way I am. I think God likes me the way I am. I’m not saying I shouldn’t try to learn from other people’s gifts, or that I won’t work to grow in my areas of weakness, but there’s no such thing as a perfect parent, so maybe we should stop trying to be perfect. I don’t care nearly so much about my kids learning to read early, or eating no sugar ever, or being well-rounded . . . as I care about loving them the best I can, and inspiring them to love God and know that he loves them, and me, even in our imperfection . . . If I do THOSE things well, then I’m doing a darn good job. I’m showing them grace, and they’re showing it back to me. And somehow, that’s going to be enough.
So tell your inner critic to be quiet. Grow where you need to grow, break out the art supplies and the healthy food cookbooks when you’re up for it, but ENJOY raising your kids in your own messy, disorganized, chocolate-eating, loving way. Quit taking this kid thing so seriously all the time. Live. Laugh. Love.
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Elizabeth works from home as a writer, editor, diaper changer, baby snuggler, laundry slayer, not-so-gourmet chef, kid chauffeur, floor mopper, dog groomer, and tantrum tamer. She is always tired, but it's mostly the good kind.