Hi moms! I heard once that at some point in your life, you have to forgive your parents for how they raised you. This is because as you grow up and mature, you come to realize that they weren’t perfect and that they made mistakes. Sometimes big mistakes. I’ve been thinking lately about how we also need to forgive ourselves for not being perfect mothers.
Here’s the thing: there are no perfect mothers. Really. Never have been. You probably know some amazing woman who seems to have it all together and is just an amazing mom. She probably has some skills, gifts and talents that you’re noticing, but I promise: she’s not perfect. There’s no such thing. I know this because I have yet to meet a mother who isn’t a human being. And, human beings are imperfect. We are all works in progress, and we all make mistakes.
So, don’t beat yourself up because you haven’t done the perfectly best job you could have. We tell ourselves we did our best in raising our kids, but is that really true? Is there really nothing we could have done better? Of course there is. Because we’re not perfect. But we can love ourselves in spite of our imperfections. Think of a newborn baby. What is that baby’s value and worth? Most of us would say priceless; of infinite worth. When does that newborn stop being that valuable? Before you say when they turn two, I would suggest that they never stop being that valuable. And, neither do we. I believe that God sees us as valuable and worthy as we see newborn babies. The second great commandment is to love others as we love ourselves. That assumes that we love ourselves. We must love ourselves, or we can never truly love others the way we should.
One step forward in the quest to love ourselves is to accept ourselves, warts and all. That requires forgiving ourselves, and being kind and understanding with ourselves, recognizing that it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to be less than perfect. Yes, we strive to be better every day, but perfection is a process, and one that will not be complete in this life. We can offer ourselves the kind of grace that God offers us. And, when we let ourselves off of the perfectionistic treadmill of self-judgment, life will become a lot more enjoyable.