There is a kid that I have in my head as the perfect standard. THAT kid.
He obeys right away with a good attitude. He is kind to those around him. He is responsible…cleaning up his own messes. He treats his brothers gently and honors them. He never uses offensive words or a harsh tone. He washes his hands before meals. He calmly sits and listens to stories. He desires to learn and play outside more than television or video games. He laughs freely. He is generous. He is content. He does not whine, complain or argue.
Who is THAT kid? Have I ever actually met him? Have I ever seen a 2-year-old or 4-year-old version of him?
Then why do I start each day with the expectation that my boys will be exactly like THAT kid?
Why do I get so frustrated when they don’t behave just like THAT kid?
I expect perfect. When they fall short I am disappointed.
The same goes for myself. I have THAT mom in my head.
She has a voice of honey, calm & soothing. She handles chaos with patience and gentleness. She models Christ’s love in each interaction. She plans perfect devotions for her family during breakfast. She leads her children in lessons that engage and educate each day. She reads aloud to them for hours on the couch while she strokes her children’s hair. Somehow she cooks every meal, keeps the house clean, does the laundry (and puts it away) while meeting all the emotional and physical needs of her children.
Who is this mom? Do I really know anyone like her?
Again I start each day with an impossible expectation. I expect to be the perfect mom.
Most likely within 10 minutes I fail. Within 30 minutes they fail.
This standard of THAT kid and THAT mom keep me from the joy of my day. Instead of seeing the tender moments, I’m still reeling from the fact that I missed the mark.
BUT what if my standard was to see each of my children and myself for who God made us to be? The positive and negative.
What if my expectations started with who WE are not who THEY are?
Expect my 2-year-old to be a 2-year-old. Expect my persistent 4-year-old to push every boundary. Expect my 6-year-old to ask for one more thing he doesn’t have. Expect myself to get frustrated and tired.
To give us grace to be us. To have eyes to see the good. Instead of looking for the ways we don’t measure up.
Expect my 2-year-old to be cuddly and cute. Expect my 4-year-old to have a kind heart and help without being asked. Expect my 6-year-old to gently guide his younger brothers. Expect myself to manage our day with consistency and order.
To count the gifts instead of focusing on the challenges.
To love us for us. To forget THAT kid and THAT mom.
I wasn’t created by God to parent THAT kid. My boys weren’t given THAT mom.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
(Ephesians 4:1-2 ESV)
He called me to be the mom of THESE boys. He uniquely gifted me and is growing me closer to Him by the struggles I face growing up THESE boys into men.
He is drawing my boys to Him through my imperfections. Allowing them to see that I can’t meet all their needs but He can.
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
(Ephesians 4:7 ESV)
He has given you grace to cover the calling and the giftedness to be the mom to your kids. Not grace for these crazy standards we keep in our heads.
Let’s be free today of THAT kid and THAT mom. Expect imperfections. Have eyes for the positive ways we differ from THEM. See how God sees us and our kids…perfectly imperfect.
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This is a wonderful post! I’m stopping by from the Gentleness Challenge link up and I have to say that this is my favorite post I have read so far! I struggle with this SO much, and it is encouraging to know that there are other mothers out there who are knee deep in the trenches as I am! Many blessings!
SO very true! It is so easy to set ourselves up for failure by feeling like we have to be the perfect mom with perfect kids and not paying attention to what is ‘perfect for us.’
Love your post AND your blog. So glad I stumbled upon your site and am looking forward to reading more of your posts. God Bless!
so glad you “stumbled”! Thank you for your encouraging words!
Hmmmm. Thank you, Heather. This is extremely relevant in my classroom, too. I expect myself to be THAT teacher and hate myself when I fall short. Then I become further upset when my pupils don’t act like THAT student. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom to help me get a grip on reality.
oh true…in all aspects of life we have these standards for ourselves and others. I even realized I expect strangers to behave a certain way and when they are rude I get offended and angry. don’t know how to let these standards go…working on it.
Wow! How did you know that I struggle with THAT kid and THAT mom? Very moving and freeing. Thanks for making it so obvious. Blessed!
thanks mitzi! So fun to see your comment on here. hope all is well for you down in AL. Congrats on the big Nat’l win! 😉
Heather, I am a few days behind on blog reading and this is exactly what I needed to read today. Thanks friend.
so thankful that you read it just when you needed it! thank you also for sharing it on Facebook!
No problem. It seems a lot of my friends liked it and passed it along as well. Always good to get some encouragement.
I cannot believe I just found this! This is SUCH a golden nugget! How many ways can I apply this to my life…..with my relationship with my boyfriend (my son’s father), with my 2 year-old, with my parents (who I have to believe did the best that they could even though I grew up with my mother and met my father for the first time at the age of 15), with…myself.
I thank God for you today. Thank you sooo much for sharing. Thank you so much for your insight and your transparency. I appreciate you for posting this. I needed it RIGHT NOW. I searched “what god says about unrealistic expectations” and this is where it led me. Yay, I’m so happy!! 🙂