Most days I go to bed feeling a little bit guilty about something: being impatient with Leo, spending too much time working and not enough playing with the kids, still not getting the kitchen floor mopped, not getting us outside, eating too many cookies, etc. I often feel like I’m not doing anything well, not the way I want. I’m not giving my best to work, to kids, to Dave, to the house, to friends, to anything. It’s all slipshod.
I equate messiness, especially in mothering, as failure.
Good mothering is craft projects, snuggled up reading time, not lecturing, not yelling, nutritious meals and snacks, always rejoicing in time with my kids, using a Michelle Duggar-quiet voice instead of getting angry.
Those things are good. I want to those things, too.
But what if good mothering is messy? What if it’s not just all the perfect, tied-up things, but also all the little things that make us feel guilty? What if ending my day feeling overtired, overextended, overwhelmed, overused, is not an indication of failure, but an indication of success?
In my head, I think this is right, that good mothering, even just good living, is not everything in balance and done well. Good mothering, good living, is the struggle. In the struggle I hopefully grow. I hopefully change. I hopefully lean more on God and less on myself.
In my heart, I sometimes still think good mothering and good living is having everything neat and tidy. But I’m working on changing this, pushing aside perfection and white-knuckling the struggle, grabbing the challenge and failure and embracing it as success.