Parents typically struggle between what their kids need and what they can give. Everyone thinks parents are superheroes, and they are in many regards. Moms carry life into the world, endure sleepless nights, and carry their children’s weight on their shoulders. They are stronger than anyone can imagine, but they’re not superheroes. They’re people like everyone else. They get sad, lose their temper and can be unkind and impatient. There are limits to what they can handle. Moms can’t carry the world’s weight on their shoulders without eventually crumbling.
Our society typically paints parenting in pretty pictures. We want to assign fast and hard rules for doing things correctly. Parenthood has beautiful moments that are easy to capture. However, the reality is that every parenthood stage and age comes with different joys and challenges. Making these more complicated, parenting doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Parents also have their responsibilities, goals, dreams, relationships and more.
Kids are being influenced not just by their parents but by mentors, media, their interests, friends, teachers and more. Add the fact that families usually look different. The unit parents are sometimes shepherding are shuffled between stepparents, parents, adoptive parents, bio parents, foster parents and more.
Parenting is complicated, but the best thing to remember is God called us to be faithful, not perfect. He calls us to be faithful by praying, loving, and showing up for the people in our lives, trusting that God’s love will cover our failures. If you’re struggling with feeling like you’re not doing enough as a parent, here are some ways to let go of parenting perfection.
Remember that love covers our sins.
The Bible has plenty of reminders that God gives us endless grace. In 1 Peter, we’re reminded that God’s love covers an array of sins. No one’s story is so broken that God can’t redeem it when we surrender to Him. Ultimately, one rule is always valid in parenthood: kids want and need their parents in their lives. When we lose each other due to sin, brokenness, and other circumstances, it’s a loss unlike any other. Remember, your child needs you if you have a tense relationship with them.
God can bring healing through His grace and the power of His love. He can step in and fix things the enemy tried to take from your family. It will work, but it may take some help, like therapy or counseling, and patience is also part of the process. Your children need you in whatever capacity you can be present in their lives. Parents are valuable to their children.
Don’t get tired of doing the right thing.
Do you know why the Bible reminds us to be mindful of our tiredness? Because God knows we burn out when we carry more in our body and mind than we’re designed to hold. Most parents go through intense seasons of burnout, where their minds, body, and soul struggle. They can’t keep in the pressure of being a mom and wife, then burst into tears when someone asks how they’re doing. They’re tired and struggling to serve their family as a result.
Thankfully, God can carry you through that season into a healthier space. However, it can teach you that you’re not made to carry everything. Your pride says you’re supposed to have all the answers, but you must learn to accept and honor your limitations. If you want not to grow tired of doing the good work of parenting, you have to remember your well-being.
Not growing tired isn’t about the outside circumstances but the internal state of being. God chose to put our souls in bodies that require rest because they can only handle so much stress. When we don’t process our stress, it inevitably affects our bodies. God calls us to maintain our flesh because it’s a temple. That means we should work to meet and be mindful of our needs so we don’t struggle to love our children.
God covers us under His wings.
We are God’s family, so He will relentlessly look out for us. In Psalms, He beautifully reminds us that He covers us under the refuge of His wings. He’s like a mother goose protecting her chicks, remaining good and faithful. Inevitably, parents will go through dark seasons where it’s challenging to trust that God is still working in their children’s lives. It’s natural to worry about your children when you feel like you’ve failed them in some structural way, like a big move, going through a divorce, or not stopping them from experiencing other pain.
The invitation we have from our loving God is to lay down our burdens, trusting Him to walk us through the challenging moments. There’s no part of this journey we must navigate by ourselves with God on our side.
Try to model graciousness instead of perfection.
Your child will never be perfect because they’re human, so having an ideal parent would be a horrible role model. If your child views you as perfect, they’ll feel worse about themselves since they know they’re not. What are you modeling if your child views you as imperfect but is unwilling to admit it? However, your child does need a role model for graciously acknowledging when we miss the mark, apologize and make amends.
So give up on perfection and forgive yourself for being human. You could even applaud yourself for being human, appreciating the opportunity you’ve been given to live as a human and try to make the world a better place. Everyone will make mistakes, but they aren’t mistakes if you learn from them and fix any problems you create. There are opportunities to love more, so start with yourself.
Sometimes we go through dark seasons for longer than anticipated. However, we must remember that nothing is impossible with God. When we continue to petition for His hand to be at work in our homes and pray, we can trust His hand is working on our behalf. Parents don’t have to be perfect, but they must be faithful and present.