Grace received and grace given

Last week I took my one year old to the doctor for his yearly checkup. He had been fussy so I was eager to have his ears looked at as well. After checking his ears and finding nothing wrong she checked his throat. Red. Very red. Again. And once again, for the second time in a month my 1 year old has strep. Strep isn’t even supposed to hit youngsters that are younger than 3, but my child is on his second round with it and he’s barely a year old. And let me tell you, the second round is way worse. WAY worse. My poor baby would just look at me and cry. Over and over again. After a couple of days of no sleep, not being able to go to the restroom without him crying, no shower, and no eating on time, I was done. Exhausted. And I can’t imagine how exhausted he was. I repeated to myself over and over again, “You can do this. No, Summer you REALLY can do this. People do this EVERY single day. Suck it up.” But really, I didn’t feel like I could do it. In fact, I contemplated having a conversation with my husband about going back to work full time and getting child care for my children. As soon as the thought came out I immediately felt guilty. Not that working full time is bad by any means, but it’s not what God has called me to do in this season of my life and I’m so thankful I’m able to be at home with my children. But sometimes it is tempting.

Honestly, it wasn’t really the stressful week of strep that made me contemplate telling my husband I was done being a stay at home mom. I contemplate it a lot. Like a few days ago, I’m upstairs getting my oldest a pull up and some clothes to put on after giving him a bath and I hear a loud crash. I run as fast as I can downstairs afraid that my youngest had climbed on something he wasn’t supposed to and fallen. Only I find my three year old on the hard wood floor in a puddle of something. I look at him, and he looks back at me wide eyed. And then I did it, mommy fail. Instead of asking him if he was okay I said, “What did you do?” And when he responded with, “I peed in the floor.” All I could think about was how much work it took to give him a bath and now not only was I going to have to wash him back off, I was going to have to clean the play room. So I told him quite sternly to get back in the tub and that mommy was not happy. He sniffled as he walked to the bathroom clearly upset. I went back to him and apologized (eventually) and got him all washed back up. 

Later that night, I lay in bed and thought about the series of events and I cringed when I thought about how I responded to him. I do this a lot. I lay awake at night thinking of all the things I did wrong or the things I should’ve said to my children and done with them that I didn’t. Or wonder if I spent too much time cleaning the house and not enough playing with them. Did I feed them enough today? I should’ve taken them outside instead of being lazy and letting them watch TV watch today. Oh no, I forgot to brush their teeth and they are in bed. They are probably going to get cavities and it’s going to be all my fault. Speaking of cavities, I haven’t made them a dentist appointment. I am failing. Really failing. What kind of mom doesn’t already have their child at the dentist? I knew it. I knew I would fail at this whole mom thing… and the cycle goes on and on. I won’t even get started about how guilty I feel over some Pinterest. There’s no way I could ever keep up with those super cool things to do with your children. I barely got my kids dressed and fed today. Who has time for super awesome crafts? I. Am. The. Worst. Ever. 

As a mom, it’s so easy to beat ourselves up. I do it. All the time. And even when I tell myself not to, I still do it. The truth is, I want the best for my children. I love them with every ounce in me. But a lot of times, I don’t feel like I measure up. I have this idea of what I think the ideal mom looks like. The moms that have it all together. The ones that walk into the grocery store with their hair and makeup on point, their house is spotless and they fix a homemade meal every single night for their families AND they greet their husband at the door with a smile and a kiss. Those moms. Because those moms wouldn’t dare talk sternly to their child and make them “sniffle.” And those moms wouldn’t even think about giving their child a pop tart for breakfast with some milk as they watch a little bit of cartoons.

But really. What is the ideal mom? Everyone has a different idea of what a mom should or shouldn’t do. Don’t formula feed your baby because your child will be sick all the time. Don’t breastfeed because you aren’t allowing your family to bond with your child. Don’t rock your baby because you’ll spoil them. Don’t let your child put themselves to sleep because you’ll give them brain damage. Everyone is different. And every mom is different. What works for some does not work for others. I know lots of people with strict schedules for their household and it works well for them. And I know other people who have no schedule and their children are just as lovely as the family with a schedule. The crazy thing is, no matter how much I mess up, even on my worst days, my children still love me. And boy, do they really love. There’s something my children possess that I have yet to grasp hold of. Grace. They are full of it and they don’t even realize it. Those little ones see a person who loves them and cares for them and that’s all that matters to them.

Mommy friends, there are so many lessons we can learn from our children. Grace being one of them. Let’s stop beating ourselves up, comparing ourselves to other moms and trying to keep up with the latest Pinterest crafts. We are never going to be perfect. No one is. Even that mom who looks like she has it all together. She’s probably thinking the same thing we are. She’s probably had days where she felt like a failure. She’s probably wanted to give up. But she didn’t. And neither did you. Because we can’t and we won’t. It’s not what mommies do.

Grace. Go ahead, try it. For yourself and for others.

1 comment

  1. Great job as always Summer! And btw, you are an amazing mom. Embrace it, as you do those boys, before you know it they will be off to college and then the sleepless nights really begin.


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