This is a guest post by Crystal of Intentional Homemaker
Fear of Failure. It’s something I wrestle with every day as a mom.
Let me share something with you that taught me a valuable lesson. As I was first getting to know one of my good friends, I was certain she was a mom who had it all together. As a mom of two children less than one year apart, I had a lot of fear about being a mom and all that entailed.
My friend always spoke calmly, gently, and quietly, with the just right amount of firmness when correcting and disciplining.
She planned creative and fun activities and outings.
She was respectful and submissive to her husband.
She had a beautiful home that always seemed neat and tidy.
She attended Bible study and practiced hospitality.
As our friendship grew and developed, and we shared more of our lives with each other, it became very clear that NO MOM HAS IT ALL TOGETHER, appearances or not.
At that moment, I realized that I had fallen into the trap of measuring my success as a mom against other moms.
My amazing friend is a beautiful example to me of godly motherhood. But, is she perfect? No? Am I a perfect mom? No.
And, what’s more, we never can be.
Too many times I confuse pursuing excellence with striving for perfection. And, that causes trouble, not just for me, but also for my family, too. Excellent is defined as “very good of its kind,” described by words like beautiful, fine, top-notch. I didn’t find one place that defined being excellent as being perfect. Perfect is defined as “being entirely without fault or defect.” It’s unattainable, impossible to reach.
So how do I pursue excellence in motherhood without getting caught up in trying to achieve perfection?
1. Don’t Use Another Mom as the Standard for Mothering
I need to find my identity in Jesus Christ, not in the successes or failures of someone else. While Jesus was perfect, and I never will be, I can pursue excellence by following His example. Proverbs 31, Titus 2, and Ephesians 5 are just a few chapters directed toward women and their roles.
2. Do Find Another Mom as an Example, an Encourager, and an Empathizer
While I shouldn’t use other moms as my standard, I do need them. It’s so helpful to surround myself with other moms who share my faith and views on parenting. These women challenge me, hold me accountable, encourage me, and understand me.
3. Don’t Get Caught up in Feeling Guilty
So many times I get so discouraged because I feel so guilty about all that I’m not doing. While I need to examine myself for issues like selfishness or laziness, I need to remember that my view of motherhood needs to correspond with God’s. I need to do my best, but does that mean setting unrealistic expectations and goals? Does my house need to be spotless and my children fluent in six languages by age 5? No.
4. Do Set Reasonable Goals
I have to remember that I am only one person. I can’t “do it all.” So, I have to set reasonable goals for myself as a mom. That may mean sitting down with my husband every so often and talking about what we want for our family, perhaps coming up with a vision or mission statement based on Biblical truths. These types of tools help me stay focused and avoid unnecessary guilt and impossible expectations.
5. Do Realize That I Am Not God
Ultimately, I cannot change our children’s hearts. I cannot change my husband’s or anyone else’s heart. Only God can do that, and that is between each person and God. It is my responsibility as a mom to instruct our children in Biblical truth, follow Jesus’ example as closely as I can, and then trust God to do what He says in the lives of our children.
Stacy's note: I really appreciate this honest post from Crystal. I know this is a constant battle for many of us. I'd love to hear what you have to say:
Do you struggle with reaching for perfection instead of pursing excellence? What helps keep you on track?
(Top image from morgue file)