We pulled up to the school parking lot and my youngest daughter [who is 6] started acting a little strange. She tugged on my shirt, “Um Mommy just so you know I might have told my teacher a little story.”
With raised eyebrows I looked at her and said, “Oh really? What kind of story?”
She took a deep breath and said, “Well I wrote a story about how I have a baby sister. So can you just tell my teacher that we do?”
“Uh no. I will not LIE and say we have a fourth child,” I said as my blood pressure climbed.
There is nothing like a kid dropping a lie bomb on you. And right before a parent-teacher conference? Oh mercy.
I just didn’t understand.
This once sweet little girl had been pushing my emotional limits in every way possible. Her complaining, whining and fighting with her sisters was out of control.
And now, I was going to haveto sit face-to-face with her teacher and deal with her lying?
I wasn’t sure how much more I could take.
The conference began on a happy note; Kennedy had made me a sweet picture. I’m sure my daughter hoped the picture might woo me a bit after her lie.
Not so much kiddo.
We talked through Kennedy’s math, reading and then she pulled out Kennedy’s writing folder. Sure enough, there it was- a very elaborate story about taking a baby to the grocery store, buying her food and how she cries all the time.
Her teacher looked at me and said, “Does Kennedy have a baby sister?”
I laughed uncomfortably and replied, “No, she doesn’t.”
Her teacher laughed, and we moved on through the conference.
I left her parent-teacher conference feeling embarrassed and discouraged as a mom. Kennedy had been having all kinds of behavior issues at home but now it was carrying over into school. I felt like such a bad mom.
What was I going to do???
Later that night I laid awake in bed processing everything, “Maybe I am letting her get away with too much, I need to be more consistent and I just don’t understand why her sisters can behave but she can’t.”
I needed someone to blame and so I choose myself. But I also realized something important- I had a lot of momma guilt with Kennedy’s behavior.
Motherhood has brought many challenges; sleepless nights, ungrateful attitudes, hard work, endless loads of laundry and so much more. But as a mom I often carry around this great weight of wondering if I am really doing anything right in raising my kids.
I hear other moms tell warm fuzzy stories about their family outings. Most of ours turn into some type of argument or meltdown.
I see Pins on Pinterest from super-star-craft moms. If the craft requires more than hot-glue or spray paint, I’m out.
My friends post pictures on Facebook of having lunch at their kid’s school once a week. I’m lucky to squeeze that in once a year, and the school lunchroom makes me want to break out in hives.
But there were 2 helpful realizations I came to terms with about the guilt I was feeling:
1. I decided there is no formula to being a great mom.
And I know, this isn’t what Google will tell you when you search “parenting issues.” Multiple authors claim to have the perfect formula, but there’s not one.
Parenting experts offer lots of practical advice but don’t feel like you have to do everything a book says. There’s a saying, “Eat the fish and leave the bones,” great advice for reading these books.
Instead, I’m finding when I focus on getting into a good-positive-healthy rhythm as a mom, it leads to me being the best mom I can be.
No, I can’t craft it up like some moms, but I can help my daughter knock her English essay out of the park. Sure I’d love to have a clean house every day, but that’s just not realistic for my schedule right now. And I wish my kid didn’t tell a big fat lie to her teacher, but this has provided a growth opportunity for her [and myself.]
So being a great mom isn’t about A, B and C. It’s about embracing all the qualities and life lessons that make us unique.
2. Most of the time, I’m a better mom than I think I am.
Our society measures everything we do by stats. Doctors have charts to tell us by what age our kids should being doing what. And teachers gauge students by test scores. Unfortunately moms tend to be no different, except we measure ourselves up next to each other.
One mom’s success as a mom won’t look like another.
So maybe we just need a greater acceptance of who we are. And through that realization we will see, we are actually doing better than we think we are.
I know my 3 daughters will continue to do things that frustrate me and even break my heart as a mom. And I do need to have plans, ideas and creative parenting skills for each of them. But I won’t believe the lie that because my kids are normal, flawed beings I’m a bad mom.
Today I hope you won’t either.
*This article first published 12/21/2012.
Nicki Koziarz is a speaker, writer, and leader in today's generation. She lives just outside of Charlotte, NC with her husband and their three girls. As a leader and speaker, Nicki is willing to tackle the hard issues this generation is facing to inspire the pursuit of God's Truth in their lives. Nicki speaks at various conferences, ministry events, as well as leading a weekly community group through Elevation Church for 20-somethings. She serves as a team writer and devotional coordinator for the Proverbs 31 Ministries: She Seeks division. Her work has also been published in several online publications and Suzie magazine. Visit Nicki's site at: www.nickikoziarz.com, or contact her here.