Broken & Imperfect Moms

We all get broken, imperfect moms.

We don’t think about it much until we become moms ourselves. Who knew this role would be filled by amateurs walking blindly into something harder than they could ever have imagined?

I’m guessing our moms figured it out at about the same parenting stage it dawned on us.

***

Your mom, the one you butted heads with when you were a teen, seems so wise now. You’re circling back to the advice you rolled your eyes at just a few short years ago.

Or, maybe your story is different. Your relationship with your mom is complicated. You might not agree with her, but something has shifted. Time and distance have given a welcome gift:

 

Empathy.

***

This is what middle-aged daughters realize: We’re not exactly like our moms, but her job was so much harder than we knew. She did her best with what she had. Sometimes she succeeded and sometimes she failed.

Her mothering was shaped by what she received and didn’t receive from her own mom. And now my relationship with my daughter is influenced the same way. That used to scare me. Let’s be honest, it scared me until a few days ago. And then I looked at the relationship my mom had with hers and saw that it was very different than the one I had with my mom. Different in a very good way. It gave me hope.

I lost my mom 9 years ago. I’ve been parenting scared ever since. I didn’t have a perfect relationship with my mom, but it was a good one. I relied on her a lot. Until I couldn’t. For 9 years, I’ve been trying to figure out how to have the perfect relationship with my daughter- one where I’m available and encouraging to her just the right amount without creating a situation where she needed me too much.

Because what if I died tomorrow? (This is the sort of question you ask when you’ve lost someone suddenly)

I wanted to do this mothering thing just right.

***

Fear of doing things wrong can keep us from doing anything at all. That’s the problem with perfectionism.  I’m working on fighting perfectionism in my parenting.

Today, I push past the fear that paralyzes me into offering nothing at all. I fight against the fear that I’m failing and bring her the best mom I know how to be. I offer her the best of what I received from my mom and the things I desperately wished I had from her now.

There will be gaps I didn’t see. When her daughter is 10, by God’s grace, I’ll sit and have coffee with her and tell her all things she’s ready to hear: Yes, you have a broken and imperfect mom. I love you. Even the broken and imperfect parts are precious to me.

From Ellie Holcomb’s The Broken Beautiful:

“Remind me now that You can make a way, that your love will never change, that there’s healing in Your name, that you can take broken things, and make them beautiful.”

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