new motherhood starts today

Today, I’d like to share with you a picture of the perfect mommy.

Yep, there I am in all my glory — early in my reign as the Queen of Mothering Perfection.

Sadly, I never did get fitted for my crown. My regal title was quickly stripped from me moments later when I couldn’t figure out how to work the tabs on her diapers. And again, when I struggled to unravel the mystery of that complicated car seat contraption. No big deal. It’s not as if her life depended on it.

But that was just the beginning of my fall from mothering nobility. Over the years, I’ve …

… demanded performance and discipline when I should have offered patience and instruction.

… enabled when I should have equipped.

… lost my temper — again and again, and again. Oh, yeah, and again.

… given my kids too much freedom.

… failed to give my kids enough freedom.

… set my expectations too high.

… set my expectations too low.

The list could go on and on … You don’t have to hold the title of Mother for long before you feel like you’re screwing up — royally.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over these past nearly 16 years as Mom, it’s this:  New motherhood starts today. This moment, even.

That’s right. No matter how long you’ve been a mother — 15 minutes or 15 years — today is the first day of the rest of your mothering journey.

No matter how badly you feel you’ve blown it, in the next moment, you can make the choice to do things differently.

Each day gives us the renewed opportunity to rewrite our mothering recipe. To add different, sometimes sweeter, ingredients and remove some of the bitter ones.

As a mom, I’ve spent many a sleepless night wondering if I’ve completely ruined my children’s lives (after all, they’ve told me so more than once.) I can assure you, that’s a lie.

I’ve learned to believe the truth of Lamentations 3:23 that promises me, “Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

More times than I can count I’ve prayed for God to redeem my mistakes and inadequacies. I’ve claimed Joel 2:25 where He promises to restore ” the years the locusts have eaten.”

But sometimes when I worry that all is lost, I receive an unexpected gem from one of my children. During a rocky patch in  adolescence, someone asked my daughter to name a few people she admired. She gave some noble answers, then shocked me when she said, “And I admire my mom. She might make mistakes, but she always tries to make things better.”

In those moments, I feel like a Queen again — at least for a day.

… He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 

In what area(s) of your mothering do you need some grace and redemption right now?

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53 Comments

  • I definitely needed to hear this today. My youngest daughter who is 4, is a very strong-willed, short fuse child. If something doesn’t go exactly how she wants it to go she screams to the top of her lungs and jumps up and down acting like she is having a seizure pretty much and I usually have patients with her, but last night was the straw that broke the camels back. I lost it, I yelled and cried and said things I shouldn’t have said, and when I was done I felt like the worst mom in the entire universe. I mean I had a nervous breakdown pretty much. And she watched it all. Then she got up and came to me and kissed my cheek and said I love you mommy. And I just melted. Today I start over. This article was meant to be seen by me today. Thanks so much.

    Reply
    • Oh Autumn. This is exactly what this blog is all about. God’s mercies are new every morning — that includes the next morning after a mommy meltdown. Why do you think this happened? What was at the core? Is there anything we can help with?

      Reply
  • I definitely needed to read this. Some days are tougher than others and many times I feel like I could use a dash of parenting encouragement. It’s never easy, is it? Thank you…I’m going to remember this next time I have a tough day!

    Reply
  • Stopping by from the blog share. Really loved your post… especially the scripture about boast weakness. I found it all very inspiring and love posts that I can come back to when I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Got to read this via SITS. I’m new to blogging. Have been a mother for 13yrs, now both my kids are in early teens. I’m so tired & exhausted at times but you have uplifted me in this post. Thank you. Have a nice day 🙂

    Reply
    • {Melinda} I’m so glad it give you a lift. The teens years are exhausting. My daughter turns 16 next week and my son turns 13 in February. I take it one confrontation at a time! 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by! Will visit your blog shortly.

      Reply
    • {Melinda} Yes. Learning from my mistakes. That’s what I try to do. 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting!

      Reply
  • I love this post! I’m a soon-to-be adoptive mom, and I am so scared if I’m going to be a good mother or not. I’ll keep this post in mind for the times when I think I’m not doing well. 🙂

    Reply
    • {Melinda} Congratulations and blessings on your adoption! How exciting, Angi! One step at a time … you’ll make mistakes, but you’ll learn from them. Each one has made me a more effective and humble mama.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Reply
    • {Melinda} You’re welcome! Thanks so much for stopping by today, Katy!

      Reply
  • Another beautifully written post! Oh thankging God for His mercy and redemption! Every. Single. Day. I love your honesty. And I love His Truth. 🙂

    Reply
    • {Melinda} I am lost without His mercy and grace, Chris. So grateful for it! He is everything.

      Reply
  • That is so encouraging. A lot of times, I feel like I’m failing..am I too lenient? Too strict? How do I start the perfect balance? etc. ….

    But I’m learning and it comes from my kid’s reactions.

    Reply
    • {Melinda} Our kids are sometimes our best teachers, aren’t they? I don’t know if we ever strike that perfect balance, but I always think love covers a multitude of mistakes. 🙂

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

      Reply
  • I was a bit too unsure of myself to claim or attempt perfection when I became a mother. Now that mine are young adults I receive similar reassurances, as you did, that I did well despite my shortcomings.

    My daughter is a recent high school graduate and my son is a new Marine. In witnessing their growth over the years I’ve come to learn that motherhood is a never-ending reinventive learning process and it’s the best life experience EVER!

    Thanks for your post and for the encouraging passages!

    Reply
    • {Melinda} I was so naive. I really thought I could figure out the mothering thing pretty quickly. Oh boy. Perhaps that’s why I fell so hard. I think when we are in the trenches it is hard to see what we are doing right. You now have the perspective of seeing grown children and are experiencing some fruit from all your labor. What a great feeling that must be! But you are right, even when they are older, we are still moms and our roles are always changing. It is so awesome to be a mama. It is what has caused me to grow more than any other life experience!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing, Teresa!

      Reply
  • I had to laugh at the picture of the perfect mother comment! I so had the same mentality as I was planning during my pregnancy. We were going to be a living Johnson’s baby commercial! And then I had my baby. 🙂 You don’t realize how much you don’t know until you’re on your journey. And then a new day comes with something you else you don’t know. I love the idea that as mom’s of older kids you mentor moms of youngers. One of my favorite resources as a mom has been the mentor mom panel at my MOPs group. I try to remember the saying “There is no way to be a perfect mother but a million ways to be a good one.”

    Reply
    • {Melinda} Mentoring is such a passion of ours, Kathy. We both struggled — with few mentors — when our kids were younger. We both resolved that once our kids were older and we had a little more time (ha!) we were going to give back to younger moms. It has been really healing for both of us to minister to other moms.

      I laughed at your “living Johnson’s baby commercial”! I can so relate to that. I quickly realized my family life more closely resembled a sitcom!

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Kathy and for your sweet comment. Hope you’ll be back.

      Reply
    • {Melinda} We all are, aren’t we? And we have to give ourselves grace. I think our kids give it to us more readily than we give it to ourselves. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Emily!

      Reply
  • What an encouraging message. Although we all have moments that are less-than perfect, each new moment is an opportunity to do better.

    Hope you have a wonderful SITS Day!

    Reply
    • {Melinda} Thank you, Kim. I think when we focus on the fact that we’ve “blown it,” it only leads to more self-defeating behavior because we feel so inadequate. More and more, I’m viewing my mistakes as opportunities to learn and that frames them in a much more positive light!

      Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

      Reply
  • I’ve had many perfect moments as a mother, but few of them that I would claim responsibility for. They happen. It’s nice when I notice them. And I trust in my ability to fill this role enough to believe that the perfect moments and good enough moments will be enough to make up for the not so great moments. God is with me and as long as I’m listening to Him, we’ll find our way.

    We do our best and that is all He asks.

    Reply
    • {Melinda} Amen to that, Robin! I believe our children benefit greatly from watching our efforts and sacrifices and also seeing our mistakes and experiencing us asking for forgiveness. I have to trust that God will redeem my mistakes. For they are many. 🙂 I just pray I learn from them.

      Reply
  • I also firmly believe that we can start anew at any given moment – we just have to make that choice. There is no rule book when it comes to mothering and every child is so different that what works for one, won’t necessarily work for the other.

    I’m visiting from the MMM Hop and I’m now following you via FB, Pinterest, Twitter, and email. I would love for you to visit us and reciprocate. Also, be sure to check out our Summer Reading Weekly Book Giveaways if you get the chance. Thx and cheers!

    Reply
    • {Melinda} Yes, we are all Mothering From Scratch with each and every child under our roof!

      Thanks for following … we will return the favor!

      Reply
  • Motherhood is that isn’t it? Just trying to do better every day.

    Stopping by from SITS Sharefest.

    Reply
    • {Melinda} Absolutely, Alison. Couldn’t do it without God’s grace. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Reply
  • Love this post. So perfect and true. We all make mistakes and do the best we can. And oh those moments when we get those little gems of reassurance – they can keep us going.

    Reply
    • {Melinda} Thank you, Tricia. You are so right. We are all doing the best we can. I have become so much more compassionate the longer I’ve been a mother. We don’t know the challenges another mother is dealing with because we haven’t walked in their shoes.

      And, yes, those gems of reassurance have become increasingly valuable to me in the teenage years!

      Reply
  • Somehow I missed this post. What an encouragement. I need grace to be a kind, rather than critical wife and patience in general. Thank you for the reminder. If either of you are interested, during the fall I have a weekly mentor mom post written by other moms. Perhaps you would like to guest post? Let me know.

    Reply
    • {Melinda} Thank you for your kind words, Laura… I’m so glad this was an encouragement to you. I know I need fresh grace in my mothering all the time.

      We would be honored to guest post as part of your fall mom mentoring series. Thank you so much for the invitation! I will email you so we can work out details. 🙂

      Reply
    • {Melinda} Love that letter, Paloma! Thanks so much for sharing! Every mom — stay-at-home, work-outside-the-home or work-at-home — could use the truth, grace and encouragement of those words.

      Reply
  • Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and leaving such a warm comment. 🙂 Much appreciated!!

    Reply
    • {Melinda} You’re so welcome! Hope your SITS Day was awesome! 🙂

      Reply
  • Great post! I am not a religious person, but the sentiment is still true – we need to have grace for ourselves and for our mistakes (which are inevitable!).

    And your daughter’s quote is so sweet 🙂 that must have made you feel like the best mom in the world again 🙂

    Reply
    • {Melinda} Yes, Mo, when they become teenagers, those sweet compliments can be few and far between … so you treasure them even more!

      So glad you stopped by! Thank you!

      Reply
  • First off, thanks for visiting my blog! Sorry I’m so late in reciprocating, we just got back from vacation.

    I love this post. It is so true on so many levels and I can appreciate so many things you have written. Congrats on surviving 16 years!

    Reply
    • {Melinda} Do you mean your vacation was more important than commenting on my blog?! I can’t imagine why! 🙂 Hope you had a great time!

      So glad you enjoyed my post!

      Reply
    • {Melinda} We all need that reminder, don’t we? Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Reply
    • {Melinda} Thank you, Stephanie! I appreciate you stopping by. I will return the favor!

      Reply
  • {Melinda} You’re welcome, Bonnie! It took me so long to get this simple truth. So simple, but so hard to grasp! 😉

    Reply

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i’m melinda

I PROVIDE WOMEN WITH RESOURCES FOR HEALING AND WHOLENESS

I’m a woman who was radically changed when the God I thought I knew since childhood opened my eyes to the overwhelming depth of His love for me. I love speaking, writing, and pointing women to the Father so they can experience for themselves the healing power of His incredible, captivating love.

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