We all just want what’s best for our kiddos. We want to raise them with a strong foundation, one that is rooted in Jesus. And yet we fall short, time and time again. It’s easy to beat ourselves up… especially when we aren’t being the mom we thought we would be. That’s why I want to introduce this idea on how to be a Good Enough mom….. because that’s what we’ve been called to.
You should hear my internal dialogue, I’m so hard on myself. Sometimes when I notice these conversations, I’m shocked at how mean I can be. My expectations are unreachable because I’m essentially striving for perfection.
I want to let you in on a secret……. You won’t ever be the perfect mom.
This reality is hard. Especially when we see everyone else’s perfect life on social media. (Which by the way isn’t really perfect)
Why Being a Perfect Mom Isn’t the Answer
In my short time of being a mom, I’ve struggled GREATLY with this idea of being the perfect mom. It’s bled into my expectations for my husband and my daughter, which isn’t fair at all. It’s like I’ve been addicted to how other people perceive my family.
Actually writing those words makes me cringe, but I needed to be honest.
Before I had my daughter, I had already struggled with perfectionism. So when I became a mother, it was only magnified.
Recently, I started realizing that trying to be the perfect mom wasn’t going to solve any of my problems. Instead, it was going to teach my daughter that being “good enough” wasn’t okay. That who God created her to be, wasn’t a gift or a blessing, and ultimately that she didn’t need Jesus in her life.
This pained me to think about. I knew that my mission (as a mom) was to build a foundation, for each of my kids, on Christ.
I wouldn’t be able to do this by bringing them to church or reading them a daily Bible Verse.
I knew what I NEEDED to do….. I needed to model what it looked like to be good enough; Because if we are always trying to be perfect, we don’t need Jesus.
What is a Good Enough Mother?
After having my “ah-ha” moment, I started researching how to be a good enough mom. Since I struggled with perfectionism for most of my life, I needed to re-learn many of these thought patterns that were hardwired in my brain.
At first, I looked to Google, to see what others had said about being a good enough mother. To my surprise, a British pediatrician and psychoanalyst had already come up with the idea of a “Good Enough” mom. Although I totally agree with a lot of his findings (you can read more here), I wanted a more Biblical approach.
So, I started out with a definition of a good enough mother:
A woman who embraces her imperfections with the intention of sharing her shortcomings as a lesson to teach her children that we all need Jesus.
I wrote it on a sticky note as a constant reminder of my purpose as a Christ-centered mom.
How to Become a Good Enough Mom
1. Acknowledge Perfectionism
If you like to journal, this is a great way to start noticing the areas where you struggle with needing to be perfect. Often, I will just underline them in my journal or put a star next to it, simply to acknowledge that it’s something I’m struggling with.
After I notice an area where I’m striving for perfection, I (try to) pray about it. When we bring these things to the Lord, we can start to see change.
2. Be a Model of Embracing Your Imperfection
The reality is that we live in an imperfect world and it’s important that our kids know how to thrive in this environment. Of course, it’s important to teach our children lessons with our words, but they will learn more from our actions.
If our natural response is to turn to Jesus, they will notice that. There is nothing more we need to say or do. Our job as a mom is to model how to handle our sins and imperfections.
a. Show your feelings
I think it’s really important to be transparent about our feelings. This helps our kids to know that their emotions are completely normal. It’s important to do this in an age-appropriate way…… not spilling our whole life story to a three-year-old!
This is one area that I am constantly praying about. I’m not good with apologies. I’m stubborn and prideful…. Which makes saying “I’m sorry” really difficult.
What’s important is to respond to your sin with an apology. This may look like apologizing to your spouse in front of your child or maybe your kiddo deserves one.
c. Explain how you are handling it
After you are done apologizing, it’s time to explain how you are handling it. This is giving them a blueprint for how they need to respond to a wrongdoing.
If you needed to apologize to your husband, you could say something like this to your child:
“I’m sorry that daddy and I were disagreeing. We were both really frustrated, so we needed to talk it out. I shouldn’t have raised my voice. I apologized to daddy and now I’m going to take a few minutes to pray. I just wanted you to know that I love you and that I’m going to try to do better next time.”
Like I just mentioned, after apologizing it’s important to pray. Even if you are in the middle of cooking dinner, pray. I’ve found that these ordinary moments of prayer have been some of the most impactful.
Also, don’t wait until later…. Because mom brain is a thing and you will probably forget!
3. Put Your Relationship with God First.
How many times have you heard you need to focus on God? In this busy season of motherhood, it can feel like the very last thing you have time for. But when we model a real relationship with God, this shows our children what it looks like to prioritize Him.
For me, this looks like carving out time daily. Right now, this is usually during nap time or after she goes to bed. But if your kids are old enough, this might mean letting them know that you are going to spend time with God and you can’t be interrupted. This shows them that time with God is important, sacred, and can not be negotiated.
4. Create Your Life
This is probably going to feel really selfish, but it’s going to make you a better mom. You need to start creating your life.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t care for or nurture your kiddos – of course, their needs always come first – but you need to show them how to create a life that brings glory to Christ.
I’m a strong believer that our greatest passions are God’s gift to as us a way to connect with Him and to share the gospel. For me, I love to be in the garden. I find myself just desiring Him when I’m here. It’s important to show our kids that we love them, but ultimately we are here to honor Christ with our life.
5. Be Intentional with Your Children
It can be exhausting to be a mom, especially if you stay at home. You are with them 24/7 and you can feel like you NEED a break.
Try to focus on spending quality time together. Sometimes we can think to ourselves well I’ve been home all day with my baby, but you didn’t spend any one-on-one time together.
Those moments where I’m just present… with no other agenda is truly life-giving. It’s safe to say that it’s my therapy. I love to watch my daughter play and explore. I love to listen to her talk and giggle. But when I’m consumed with everything else, I miss out on these precious moments.
Remember, you don’t have to spend all day playing with race cars. It’s quality over quantity.
6. Encourage Your Child to be Who they are
One way you can be more intentional with your child is by noticing what they are interested in. Pay attention to what gets them excited and get curious about it.
When we are wrapped up in being perfect, we can often sway our children into being who WE want them to be versus who God created them to be. Once you notice something that your child enjoys, start to encourage them in this! God put these joys and passions in your little one’s soul.
7. Replace Criticism with Grace
It’s so easy to shame ourselves when we fall short of the mom we want to be. For me, criticism is a form of punishment. I think if I continue shaming myself for what I’ve done, I won’t make that mistake again. The truth is that’s never stopped me from making mistakes again and again.
My hope is to notice when I’m being hard on myself and replace it with love and grace. When I can’t find a single nice thing to say to myself, I try to lean into the Lord because He will cover me with the grace that I so desperately need.
You are the mom your child needs. No matter how bad you mess up, that doesn’t mean you aren’t a good enough mom for your child. Although we were never meant to be perfect, it’s our job to try our best to love, nurture, and grow this child in Christ. He chose you to be your child’s mama and you were perfectly made for this job.
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