The cards were decorated with hearts, flowers, and stickers. All over them—both inside and outside—were messages of love and uplifting sentiments such as, “World’s Best Mom!” As I read my children’s hand-made Mother’s Day cards and admired them out loud, two things happened: first, my heart felt encouraged by my children’s sweet affirmation; second, I got stuck on the phrase “World’s Best Mom” and thought about the mom burnout I have been experiencing.
That’s what I want to be for my children—the best mom they can imagine. Yet I’m well aware that I’m not always the mom I’d like to be. Sometimes, I’m impatient. Sometimes, I fail to see a child’s inner need. Sometimes, I just plain make mistakes. And sometimes, I experience mom burnout.
You probably do, too, because none of us is perfect. We all fall short on occasion of what we know we could be. We’re alike in another way, too—we all want to get this thing called parenting “right”. We want to do a great job. And sometimes, all of us wonder if we’re doing the right thing or doing well enough.
Over the next three weeks, we’re going to talk about three surprisingly simple things we can do to be better moms to avoid mom burnout. These aren’t just three ways to try harder or to spread ourselves even thinner. They aren’t ways to make meals or birthday cakes worthy of Pinterest. They’re things we can all do not only to benefit our children, but to benefit ourselves. And they don’t require trying very hard. In fact, they sometimes require us to stop trying.
The first way to be a better mom and avoid mom burnout, is this: give yourself the freedom not to be Supermom. You don’t have to be able to do everything. You might be terrible at making birthday cakes, and that’s okay. You might not be as creative as you’d like to be, or as energetic. That’s fine. You don’t have to be everything all at once in order to be a great mom. Even God doesn’t expect that of you. Nor do your children. So don’t expect it of yourself.
Likewise, you are going to make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up because of them. Too many moms set perfection as their standard, and they stress themselves out when they don’t perform perfectly. Then they get burnt out.
True, there are times when we sin against others and need to make things right with God and with them. We may need to go to our children and ask them to forgive us. But if we keep beating ourselves up over what our God and our children have already forgiven us for, we will only become discouraged.
God says that He has removed our sins from us “as far as the east is from the west” (see Psalm 103:12). In other words, He doesn’t hold our sins over our heads anymore, trying to make us feel guilty. It’s Satan who does that. He knows that when God has forgiven us, we are no longer guilty, but he doesn’t want us to know it.
On the other hand, if we listen to what God says in His Word and accept—and truly absorb—His forgiveness, we’ll have no reason to feel guilty any longer. We can instead feel forgiven and free, and we can move on.
Moms, there is no such person as Supermom. Every single mom on this planet has areas where she is less than perfect. Every mom sins. So it’s not the perfect mom who’s the “World’s Best Mom!” (because remember, the perfect mom doesn’t exist). It’s you. It’s me.
My children know I’m not perfect. But they still call me the best mom ever anyway. In their eyes, I’m the best. And that’s perfect enough for me.
Psalm 103:12—As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.