We are always striving to be better. Better having more patience. Better structuring time management. Better managing our health. Better in our roles as mom.
At day’s end, when I flop into bed, rather than letting myself drift off to sleep, I will often stare up at the ceiling and contemplate what I could have done different that day as wife and mom–and what I could have done better. How could I have responded better when the situation required self-control? What would have been a better approach during a teaching moment with my child? How could I have been a better support to my husband after he came home from work? I even wonder how I could have prepared a better meal for dinner. (Easy: ordered take-out!)
Each one of us can look at our day and cross-examine our behavior but we have to be careful not to berate ourselves in the process. Having a humble, submissive heart before God and asking Him to help transform us is a powerful prayer when wanting to improve and do a better job. For King David tells us: “Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path.” (Psalm 27:11)
For me, I know I need to submit and surrender to God those habits and tendencies that prevent me from not just being better in my role as mom but from being more Christlike. For if I can reflect God’s image, then I can be “better,” but by His standards, not my own, and certainly not by the world’s. And it’s such a process, isn’t it?!
As moms, we have the opportunity to look to God for refinement, and to take advantage of the situations that come up where we can practice becoming the person He wants us to be. “Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.” (Psalm 26:2-3)
As much as we want to teach values and insure that certain characteristics are being developed in our children, is as much as God wants to do the same in us. There is a refining process going on that the Lord is doing in me and I need to remember that He continues to mold my character even while I am in the process of raising my children. I just wish I could be molded before they grow up so I can give them my very best, but I know that won’t happen!
So what is it that makes you a better mom? Choosing to play a board game with your child instead of doing the household tasks that can wait? Taking time to replenish yourself by doing what is meaningful to you? Is it when you are enjoying quiet time with the Lord, escaping to a can’t-put-it-down book or perhaps being able to connect with other moms and friends on a regular basis? Maybe it’s in the moments when you take your child to the park when you’re lacking energy to gear up and head out the door, or that moment you decide to stay on their bed when they want to talk at 9:00 p.m. and you still have a kitchen to clean up and lunches to make.
I have read so many parenting books and have stacks on my nightstand, and the floor, with sticky notes bookmarked at the pages I want to re-read. There are chunks of paragraphs with underlines, highlights and stars at that places that I need to re-read and remember to put into practice. Are they helping me be a better mom? In some ways, hopefully, or at least helping me understand my children and myself in the process which hopefully makes me a little better! Watching and talking with my friends and other moms helps as well, as I believe we learn from one another. I do believe God provides us with resources in the ways He knows will help us (a book, a class, a conversation, He knows what you need and how you need it!)
Ultimately, the question for me really isn’t what makes me a better mom but who makes me a better mom. The answer is the Lord. And with Him at our side, we’re even better already.