What makes me a good mother?
Have you asked yourself that question before? Or have you felt the shame & guilt creeping in. The images of the "bad" mother. You look into those little eyes and wonder how you could have been so harsh. You stamp FAILURE on yourself. Quickly trying to put the pieces together. Scrambling for meaning & semblance as your heart & mind race.
I have had many moments like this. I have the scenes in my head when I have acted out of anger, when I have been more concerned with what others think. When I have felt like the biggest failure of a mama. I've even turned "good things" into idols & used them as markers to define my "goodness."
I could say:
- that bearing my children into the world without an epidural makes me a good mama.
- that fighting through the difficult & stressful parts of nursing to feed my babies breastmilk makes me a good mama.
- that solids never came in the form of a jar makes me a good mama.
- that I stay at home makes me a good mama
- that trying to fulfill some mantra imposed by Proverbs 31 crowds, clothing my family, storing up goods, avoiding slothfulness & being industrious...makes me a good mama.
But truly, none of these inherently "good" things, make me a good mama.
It's not the things I do. It's not the canning food. It's not homeschooling or public educating. It's not doing craft time or circle time. It's not about nursing or bottle.
What makes me a good mama is loving my girls as unique individuals, created by the Most High God. What makes me a good mama is nurturing that hidden potential in them, in order for them to become who He created them to be. It's me giving them a voice to sing the melodies of mysteries awaiting to be unleashed.
It's learning to let go of my ideals & most of all, my idols for acclaim.
The mom who cooks from scratch, gives endlessly without regard for her own nourishment (physically, emotionally, spiritually, & mentally), subscribes to a June Cleaver meets Proverbs 31 21st century Christian mother, can be idols. And they're false.
Whenever I mother, based on my agenda or someone else's agenda--it is like Israel's golden calf. I'm constructing my mountain of falsehoods & coveted opportunities. In the 21st century, I believe motherhood is probably at it's hardest mentally. Our brains are literally on overload by all of the things & stuff we need to be GOOD mothers.
Do you ever feel like all the tasks & jobs you accomplish as a mother are an accumulation for a 'Good Mama Resume?' Yet, when we meet with the Good Father, he tells us we have nothing to prove. My self-imposed idols of falsehood on myself are not given to me by him. He whispers, "You don't need these to make your resume."
My Father is gentle. He reassures me that I'm valuable and add to my families life when I dance in the certainty of who he made me to be.
A good Mama learns the gracious dance of the King & teaches it to her children. And, as long as the children are stepping in time with the rhythms of grace, then what that dance looks like--isn't the point. Our dance is different, our song is different, our seat at the table is different. It's our jobs as mamas to lead the way to the table, to the courtyard or the stage.
Being a mother--not an idol--Proverbs 31 isn't actually about all the stuff this wife of noble character does. It's about fearing the Lord. So, when I make mothering about all of my accomplishments, I'm bound to be crushed when my children get in the way...and I for one want to dance the King's dance.