There was a mother of a new baby sitting in front of me at church tonight. I know her and know that this is her first baby. Every time the baby fussed or whimpered, she knew just how to hold and shush her to contentment. While JD was elbowing me and ooing and ahhing over how sweet it all was, it made me feel really insecure. I wasn't as seemingly calm as my friend was when I was a new mother. I was clumsy and unsure and awkward. And I never dared to bring my newborn to church without my mom because I didn't have what my friend has: confidence in my mothering and the ability to meet my children's needs.
I have always compared myself to other mothers. The way they nurture, the way they comfort, the way they teach, the way they dress, I torture myself with the comparisons. And it's always the same analysis: they are different than me. Sometimes this is good, but often I feel like I don't add up. Motherhood seems so effortless for them while I struggle with finding my way with the smallest things. I lose my temper. My patience runs out. I don't know what to do half of the time. And I beat myself up over these things. While other mothers are successfully shushing their newborns to sleep in church, I'm still trying to figure out how to pack a diaper bag. With snacks and a sippy cup. Who knew toddlers would want to eat and drink every so often?
Just as I was starting to feel like a total failure as a mother, I remembered that there is no condemnation for those belonging to Christ (Romans 8:1). All of my doubts and judgments are not from above. Just to clarify, there is a difference between condemnation and conviction. Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit to rectify and restore, condemnation comes from the devil to tear down and destroy. God chose me to be Beatrice (and Penelope's) mother and He has a purpose for me in my role as their mother. I may not get everything right. I may not calm them just right in church. But I know how to kiss boo boos. And play tea party. And I know how to ask God for help.
I'm not perfect. I am a mother. A capable, loving, sometimes strong mother who doesn't always know what to do. And thankfully, my children don't compare me to others (yet). As long as I bring the snacks and sippy cups.
Lollipops = good parenting most of the time.
Photos by the talented Sara Rose Photography.