Missing The Mom Gene
I saw her watery smile from a mile away. The sun was shining off the tears that were threatening to escape her eyes. She was doing a pretty good job at concealing them. The whole greeting squad at church didn’t notice. They were too distracted by the new little life in her arms. This was her first Sunday back to church after having a baby, and she was thrilled.
Except she wasn’t.
She was thrilled with her new baby, of course, but she wasn’t thrilled with being a new mom. I wasn’t judging her by thinking that, either. I was remembering. I felt the exact same way not too long ago. Much like this precious new mom, I was too petrified to admit that sentiment to anyone, though, so I held it in. I was so sure that there was something wrong with me, and God had somehow goofed and left the mom gene out of my system.
Why is my heart beating so fast writing this blog? I think I’ve owned this area of my life, but the truth is, it’s still a major insecurity of mine at times. I love my kids and I love being their mom. I remember very distinctly, however, a time when I didn’t feel that way at all, and was scared to death to admit that. I was just sure that there had been a mistake and that another, more-deserving mom should have wound up with my beautiful and perfect baby.
Moms, listen to me very closely: That is a lie. You are the right and perfect mom for your children. No one could do a better job with your kids than you are doing right now. Before you try to interrupt and tell me about your failures, let me break the ice and tell you about mine. I have had days where, if my “bad mom” moments were to be broadcast on the big screen at our church or Facebook lived out to my friends, I’m sure I would never leave my closet. I think you’d unfriend me and judge me and stop coming to my holiday parties. Yeah, it’s not always pretty.
The simple fact is that there is no mom gene. No one is ever really prepared to become a mom. Love may be instant, but mothering instincts and an acceptance of your new life as the #2 person on your priority list is a big, big change. That change can take time. Yes, some people will post pictures to Facebook that make it seem like they were ready to write parenting books from the second the baby emerged, but that’s not true for most of us. More than likely, moms are not posting statuses and pictures about all the mistakes they’ve made as moms, but believe me, there are many. We tend to post the best picture, the smiling one, the gorgeous homemade meal, or the cleanest shot of our otherwise messy house. In doing so, we set the ideal that says that we have to do it all and do it all perfectly. It’s just not possible, my friends.
If you are feeling a little less-than perfect today, take heart! You’re in good company! Some of the moms I admire most have assured me that their success as mothers was a twisted, emotional road filled with detours and construction and lots and lots (and lots) of grace. I can imagine you are extremely kind to others. How about extending some of that kindness toward yourself today, mom? You deserve it just as much!