She leaned in and put her arms around my neck. I could tell she was about to whisper-spit into my ear and I tried not to cringe:
"I love you, Mommy." She paused and took a deep breath as if she was gearing up to say something really important. "You're the best mom I've ever had."
She squeezed tighter and I tried not to laugh at her words.
But when I pulled her back, she had the most sincere look on her face. I really was the best mom she'd ever had. Of course, I thought about pointing out the obvious fact that SHE'D NEVER HAD ANOTHER MOTHER. But I didn't want to ruin the moment.
I'm that person that if you compliment my dress, I will tell you I got it on sale. If you like my hair, I will tell you it needs to be washed. If you tell me something good you see in me, I'm the first to tell you something bad I see in me. It's not a good trait, the deflection of compliments.
I'm a self-admitted average mom. Life can't all be baby kittens and puppies (thank God, because that's just more work for mom). My children see my humanity more than anyone else. They know that I make mistakes. They know that sometimes I lose it, yet they are the first to offer me grace. It still amazes me that even with all my junk, they want me.
Moms are often their own worst critics. We compare ourselves to others and when we don't match up, we have guilt. It's time to start diffusing the-too-good-to-be-true comparisons that perplex us and remember that life's greatest lessons are usually in the ugliness we try to hide.
It's OK if your kids clothes don't match.
It's OK if you don't cook from scratch.
It's OK if you let them watch too much TV.
It's OK if you don't share your sweet tea.
It's OK for you to wish for bedtime.
It's OK if you need a glass of wine.
Shake off the guilt. The would have's and should have's don't define you, Mom. But love does.
Some of the best encouragement I've received as a mom has come from other moms, not gloating in their perfection or looking down at me. It's come from other exhausted, weary moms who let me in behind their imperfection and confide, "This is the hardest thing I've ever done; my kids _____ [fill in the blank], too. Want to compare notes over sweet tea?"
Good moms learn to embrace the OK and doing so releases us from nasty mom guilt and actually makes us better mothers.
I want to be on the Honor Roll of Motherhood and thank my people for their support. Who doesn't? But a good mom is really the combination of less-than-perfect mothering with a bit of God's glory thrown in.
Yesterday, I cornered my teen daughter in my closet after a rough morning. I put my arms around her neck and hugged her until the tension melted away. I don't always get it right, but love is enough.
Because here's the thing: Unless something unplanned happens, we are the only mothers our children have. They see us at our best and our worst, but at the end of the day, when we cut up their chicken into bite-sized pieces or kiss a boo boo or snuggle on the couch to read a favorite book, that's better than OK.
You're an OK mom and that's enough.