I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
- Bill Cosby
For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. (Philippians 4:13 NLT)
“You never come to any of my special activities at school!” Abby, my then 10-year-old, screamed. “You’re always working!”
I felt as though someone had punched me in the stomach.
“That’s not true!” I retaliated. “I went to your art show, and I went to your musical. I even attended the Halloween party. In fact, I brought cookies to that party!”
“Yeah, but you didn’t make them,” Abby shouted. “You bought them!”
I stormed off, retreating to my bedroom to lick my wounds. I hadn’t intended to miss “Moms and Muffins” at Abby’s school that morning, but I had. Abby didn’t understand that my editor had put an unreasonable deadline on me. She didn’t care that I was working on a very important article at the exact time when all of the other moms were munching on muffins. All she knew was that I had let her down.
I’m sure that wasn’t the only time I let her down during her childhood, or even now as an adult child. (She may be 21, but she’ll always be my baby girl.)
Being a mom is a tough gig, whether you work outside the home or not. With Mother’s Day this coming weekend, I just wanted to share this story with all of the moms out there who might sometimes disappoint their kiddos too, and say this: Give yourself a break! You’re doing the best you can, and that makes you amazing! You know, as a working mother, I wasn’t always able to keep all of the balls in the air, though I tried really hard. But, hey, even a professional juggler drops a ball now and then. Whenever I dropped a ball, I felt just awful about it. When I disappoint my girls now, I still feel guilty about whatever it is I did or didn’t do. How about you? None of us likes to let down the people we love the most.
In truth, being a mom is the toughest assignment we’ll ever have. It’s a 24-7 job, and the demands are never-ending. Of course, the rewards are pretty good, too. But on the days when you drop a ball, it’s hard to see anything except your failure.
I know; I speak from experience. I couldn’t get that Moms and Muffins morning back. I hated that I’d missed it, but beating myself up over it wasn’t going to do any good, either. After a while, I skulked into Abby’s bedroom, ignoring the “Stay Out” sign posted on her door, and apologized for missing the muffin extravaganza. She forgave me, and then I asked God to help me forgive myself.
If you’re feeling like you’re a disappointment in the mom department, you probably need to forgive yourself, too. Those Moms and Muffins mornings are a thing of the past for me, but I still find myself feeling awful when I don’t have time to edit a college paper for Abby, or when I forget to send Ally the design book I promised to send her. The truth is: We’re human, and sometimes we’re going to drop a ball or two. Don’t place unrealistic expectations on yourself, and don’t try to do everything on your own. Ask God–the greatest juggler of them all–to help you achieve everything you need to accomplish. From carpools to deadlines to dance recitals to Moms and Muffins—he can keep you sane and smiling through it all. Remember, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. No matter how the muffin crumbles, you’ve got that promise working for you.
Say this prayer today: Lord, help me to prioritize each day according to your plan. I need your divine intervention, Lord. I need your wisdom and guidance so that I can be the parent and the worker you have called me to be. Thank you for my children. Thank you for my job. And thank you for helping me to fulfill each role. I love you, Amen.
Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, with more than 60 books and 1,000 articles for newspapers and magazines to her name. She was won several SELAH Awards (best children’s book and book of the year for God Knows You in 2014 and best children’s book for My Big Book of Prayers in 2012), and her book Divine Stories of the Yahweh Sisterhood was named a Family Christian Bookstores Premiere Pick in 2006. When not working on her own assignments, Michelle ghostwrites books for celebrities and some of today’s most effective and popular ministers.
Michelle is married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff. They have two college-aged daughters, Abby and Allyson, as well as a small petting zoo. When not writing or teaching writing, Michelle enjoys cheering on the Indiana University Men’s Basketball team, the Chicago Cubbies and the LA Kings. Find out more about Michelle at her website.