by Catie Naranjo
In light of a recently-released movie, I wanted to take a moment to pause your busy schedule, look you in the eye, and tell you, “You – yes, you, church-planting superwoman – are a good mom.”
This was a truth I had to remind myself of a few months back. You see, I wanted to throw a birthday party for my 5-year-old, just like my mom did for me. (Insert rosy picture of the perfect party here). When I was a kid, my mom always threw the best parties. She stayed at home to raise my four siblings and me, and she took the time to make birthdays special with a Pinterest-worthy party.
Now, it was my turn to carry the torch. I was organized…sort of, prepared…mostly, excited, and pretty tired from planning. Unfortunately, at the last minute, things took a turn for the worse.
Rain was scheduled exactly on the hour of our party and so we had to relocate from the park to our home. There were too many guests for an indoor bash, and a couple preschoolers got in a physical fight. Hence, a parent got upset. The pizza was late. The cake was completely wrong. The piñata wouldn’t break, and none of the games worked right.
As the last guest left, my husband – clearly traumatized from the experience, breathed a huge sigh and said, half-joking, “Well, we’re never doing THAT again!”
I had failed… or at least that’s what it felt like compared to my mom. I’m guessing we do that more often than we care to admit – compare ourselves to others and come up short. But, I realized something important that day. Yes, I am technically a mom who mostly stays at home, but I am also a working mom in ministry. That changes things, and so should it change my expectations of myself.
Your home probably looks and runs very differently than the home in which you were raised. That’s okay. In fact, your parenting probably looks very different from that of your friends, coworkers, and neighbors. That’s okay too. God has placed your children in YOUR home – because He knows that you are a good mom!
Break the comparison stick! All of us come into this role of “mom” with different amounts of time, flexibility, and resources. That’s okay. You’re still a good mom.
In fact, you are more than good. You are amazing! You know why?
Because you find ways to show your kids that you love them. Even though my party was less than impressive, my daughter LOVED it. She had a blast, and, even though I didn’t meet my own expectations, she felt loved.
You know another way you are an amazing mom? You model dedication to Christ, to His church, and to your husband. Your kids are learning and soaking that in. They see the battles and discouragement. They see the weariness. But, they also see the perseverance.
Yes, God has called you as a church-planter. But He has also called you to be a mom to your kids. That means He also equips you! You have what it takes to do this, and, remember, there are seasons. When life and ministry get crazy – your kids will adapt. (Mine are living proof that a solid day of snacks and screen time will not kill them!)
Just breathe and know that it’s okay. God is not unaware of the sacrifices you make, be it for ministry or for your kids. He has factored in every single detail and STILL thinks that you have what it takes!
At the end of the day, what is most important is not whether or not we disappointed our kids or lived up to some outside expectation. Parenting is not just about monitoring food, screen time, outdoor play, and homework time.
As 1 Corinthians 13 says (sort of), “If I speak in ‘the mom voice’, but do not have love... If I have the gifts of fruit snacks and can fathom all toddler talk, and if I have a faith that can stop temper tantrums, but do not have love, I am nothing.”
It is about loving our children as Christ loves us. It is about modeling a life and faith worth following. For me, a precious times it is at the end of the day when we come together before bed. I give lots of hugs and kisses to my precious kids, and, then, we pray for our community to know Jesus.
And so, my dear sister, you will have “good mom” days, days you feel that you missed the mark, and every kind of day in-between. And that’s okay. Let’s not let the enemy throw condemnation or guilt our way.
“His grace is sufficient for YOU. His power is made perfect in our weakness.”
Say it with me now, “I’m a good mom.” Now go take a nap. ☺
Catie Naranjo and her husband, Jeremy, planted Summit Church in Anthem, AZ in 2015. They have two amazing kids, a grumpy cat, and are honored to be called by God to build His church.