How often do we as mothers – as women, as humans! – shame ourselves? We do it unconsciously, as if it’s built into our DNA. We give ourselves the roughest time, hold ourselves to the highest standard. I know that I beat up on myself for using unkind words toward my toddler in a stressful moment, or not using my time wisely to do the chores, get more sleep, or make a healthier meal.
It takes a lot to be a mom, whether you’re a stay at home mom, or work at home mom, or work outside the home mom. It takes an incredible balance, to do everything for your kids, to take care of the house, the spouse, the pets, to go to your job every day, to get your shoes on the right feet and shirt on forwards. Every single thing we do, we tend to hold ourselves to a standard of perfection. And I don’t know about you, but it’s exhausting.
When we give ourselves little or no grace in our lives, it’s exhausting. When we don’t give ourselves room to breathe, grace to make mistakes, and the opportunity to start over every morning (or after every nap!) it can lead to just making more mistakes and getting even more choked out trying to do your best.
Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son is a perfect example of how we need grace from the Father, but also from ourselves. Both brothers in the tale needed grace – the younger needed it from his father after he had strayed, and the elder needed it from himself, because he had held himself to a nearly impossible standard. The elder brother laments to his father about how his brother rand away, squandered his wealth, and came home to have a party thrown in his honor, while he himself had been working day and night for his father, with nary a calf killed in his honor. His father tells him, “All I have is yours.” He could have everything his father owned at any time, if he had only asked. He just hadn’t felt worthy.
There are so many things we can miss out on when we don’t feel worthy, when we don’t treat ourselves well. We withhold things from ourselves because we think we don’t deserve them: time off, nights out, afternoons away, time at the spa, other indulgences. We feel like if we take time and money for those things, we aren’t spending that time and money on what’s most important – our kids. Well, to an extent, that may be true. If we’re spending ALL our time and money away, maybe we do need to reevaluate.
But if you are so stressed because you haven’t had a few hours away from the kids and the housework to get your nails done, have dinner or drinks with your girlfriends, or just to roam Target, alone, with a Starbucks in your hand, then I say you deserve it. Get that babysitter, call that friend, or ask that relative to love on your kiddos for a few hours. You work hard. You do the absolute best you can, day in and day out. Give yourself some grace, and a break. How much easier will it be to show grace and love to your kids if you aren’t stressed out? How much easier will it be to come home and cook dinner if you haven’t been pulling your hair out all afternoon? We love and give and do our best from a place of fullness. If you feel like your tank is empty, and you’re “all gived out”, then allow yourself to recharge, whatever that looks like for you, any way you can. Help yourself to be the best you by giving yourself grace, and forgiving yourself for your mistakes. Tomorrow is a new day.