A comforting reminder for anyone who has thought “I’m not a good mom.” Spoiler Alert: You’ll never be…and that’s okay!
I am not a good mom.
This has never been more revealed to me, and in great detail, then on the morning we were dedicating our last precious baby to the Lord. Should have been a joyous occasion, right? But let’s be honest. It was a worse than usual Sunday morning with “mom failures” on repeat. I can find the humor now that I have had a nap and some ice cream, so laugh with me and share your “I’ve been there” nods.
Like most ministry wives, my husband was already at the church as I was getting all three of our boys ready solo. Normally, this is fine and I give ourselves plenty of time, but for some reason that margin completely vanished. Bad attitudes and hysteria appeared, and we ended up being late to church. Not a great Sunday to be late.
We made it to our seats with one song to spare (no big deal, my husband is just the worship pastor), but then I noticed the baby had lost a shoe along the way. Do I have time to find it? Do we go shoeless? What kind of question was that? I had to find it. I sent my oldest son running back down the hall. Less than one song to go and I was praying my husband would make it longer than usual. So holy. My oldest found the shoe by the car and came running back. We made it back in time. Barely. I was now sweating like crazy, my hair was a mess, and my nose was running. I also forgot to grab Kleenex.
My husband finally joined us at our seats and as we were lining up to walk down I immediately regretted not having the energy the night before to give the boys haircuts they needed, and noticed my middle son desperately had his shoes on the wrong feet. Too late, they called our names and my oldest proceeded to “army march” down the aisle and full body bowed to the pastor before I could stop him. This is normal.
I would like to say that the dedication time was sweet, but I don’t remember a thing that was said because as soon as my unaware husband put his hand on the small of my back to proudly display his family to our NEW church, all I could think about was how the sweat dripping down my back was now going to show through my still too small blouse.
Back at our seat, and my husband at the soundboard, I quickly had to “levitate” the middle son, with angry-mom-one-arm-super-strength, during a prayer and quietly threatened him to stop. asking. me. questions. You know the teeth clenched, loud and clear, mom whisper that makes a kid almost pee their pants? Doesn’t ever work on him, but I did it anyway out of desperation. Thankfully, all heads were bowed and eyes were closed. Our boys have only known ministry but still haven’t gotten the unspoken message that pastors’ kids are supposed to act perfectly everywhere we go but ESPECIALLY at church. The nerve. God love ‘em.
BUT THEN the sermon. That sermon. I took a deep breath, realized how tense I was, and tried to shut down all the “bad mom” feelings bombarding me. No one knew about my morning but me, and still I felt like I was failing. Then the Holy Spirit so tenderly whispered to me… “But you’re NOT a good mom.”
Umm, excuse me? This whole morning I was screaming that very thing in my face, and I’ve been “positive talking” myself out of those negative feelings, so what do you mean I’m not actually a good mom?! It’s dedication Sunday for crying out loud!
But He’s not wrong.
What was stirred in my heart for the next 45 min changed my attitude about the entire morning. I am not a “good mom”. I can’t be. The Fall took care of that. All of my failures that morning told me so.
It also told me how desperately I NEED Jesus to help me raise these boys He has given me, to know Him and to know their need for Him. It’s impossible for me to be a “good mom” on my own without begging Jesus for help the moment they come running out of their room.
I need Him daily for patience, a kind tongue, and renewal of my attitude that goes too quickly to overwhelm and anger. My brain and personality are just not equipped for the amount of words that are thrown at me from these boys on the regular. It’s not natural, I tell ya.
I don’t remember what exactly our pastor said during that message, and it wasn’t about parenting at all, but about pointing people to Jesus. As soon as I realized that my boys are “people”, my little people, the Holy Spirit took it from there and my mess of a morning suddenly had purpose in my heart.
It ended up being a pretty sweet dedication Sunday as He reminded me of my dedication to being a mom led by Him. If I do nothing else in my parenting journey but teach them how desperately they need Jesus every single day, then I’d say I’m a pretty “good mom”… who still needs chocolate, an attitude adjusting nap, and some ear plugs.
Also, we didn’t get a family picture at the church. Of course this day must be documented, so we took a quick picture squeezed by the front door when Daddy got home. We were all exhausted, starving, and the middle son’s shoes were still on the wrong feet; but we got four out of five of us actually looking at the camera with normal smiles so… mom win! Sweet Jesus.
Alisha Cole and her husband live and raise their three boys in Shreveport, LA. Through their 20 years of ministry, Alisha has experienced all the loneliness, loss, grief, exhaustion, and Legos that comes with mixing motherhood and ministry. She prays her encouraging whispers from the Holy Spirit (and hilarious boy mom disasters) are a healing balm to the hearts of hurting women who read them.