Of all the tendencies I've grown to recognize among mothers, there is one that stands out.
And that is, most mothers don't give themselves enough credit.
Women may admit they're a good mom, but a great mom? Well, I believe many would choke on the word. Women are way too hard on themselves, and nowhere is this more apparent than in motherhood.
Following are 10 truths that today's moms need to know I hope they serve as encouragement, hope, and a well-deserved pat on the back.
Truth #10: While the world wants you at your best, your family just wants you.
In the workplace, there's little room for error. One mistake and you could easily be fired.
But in motherhood, there's more job security. There's more love, forgiveness, and grace. While the world can praise you one day and curse you the next, your family isn't so fickle. They aren't looking to replace you because the fact is, nobody can.
Your family just wants you. Even on days you can only give 30 percent. Even when you're sick. Even when the best you can do is show up for a soccer game.
While the world's standard is perfection, your family's standard is love. It's not Supermom your kids want tucking them in at night, it's Mommy. So let go of unrealistic expectations that feed your guilt, and remember how cherished you truly are.
Truth #9: You're the perfect imperfect person to raise your children
God matched you with your children for a reason. The gifts you possess are precisely what they need to thrive.
So rather than berate yourself or wish you were like other parents, pray for guidance on how to channel your talents and experiences to impact your children's journeys. Ask God to help you, because He wants you to succeed. Whatever your shortcomings are, God's grace can help cover them.
Truth #8: Your beauty is bigger than the number on your scale and deeper than your reflection in your mirror.
You were made in the image of God. That alone makes your life sacred. Learn to see yourself through the loving eyes of your Maker, not the harsh filter of your inner critic, and let your true beauty shine.
Truth #7: Sometimes your kids will thrive because of you. Sometimes they'll thrive in spite of you.
We parents like control. And all too often, we believe we have it.
But none of us are God, and even our best efforts and worst mistakes can't match His sovereign power. So before you take too much credit for your child's success, or panic that your misstep will ruin their life, remember who holds the cards. It is God who gives your children their gifts and opportunities. It is also God who can turn your wrong into a right.
Truth #6: Raising holy kids is more important than raising happy kids
The deepest joy possible comes through a relationship with God. So if you really want happy children, the place to start is holiness, because holiness leads to true happiness.
Keep in mind, however, that holiness doesn't always feel good. It is life's obstacles, after all, that cultivate faith and character. So when your child faces a hardship, ask yourself, "How can this draw them closer to God? What might He be preparing them for down the road?"
God rewards faithfulness in His perfect timing, and when you trust that, you can find peace in knowing there are great blessings still ahead for your child no matter what circumstances they currently face.
Truth #5: A healthy family begins with a healthy mom
As a caregiver, you put others first. You may let your needs fall on the back burner in the name of good mothering.
But no one benefits when you run on fumes. And while maintaining physical health strengthens your stamina, a healthy mind and spirit equips you to serve.
Do you have passions that feed your soul? Are you making time for friendships? Is there an interest beyond your family that brings you alive? When you nurture yourself as an individual, you have more to offer your family. It makes you happy to come home and them happy to see you.
Truth #4: No child has to fail so your child can succeed
Parenting today is way too competitive. It's tempting to join the madness so your child isn't left behind.
But God has a plan for every child to excel. And when you treat your children's peers as allies, not competitors, you build community. The more you help others, the more they'll help you. Since it takes a village of loving adults to raise good kids, couldn't we all use more help?
Truth #3: Every season of parenting is special. When you open your eyes to that, you enjoy the present.
Chances are, you took lots of pictures of your kids when they were young. You probably captured their chubby cheeks, first steps, and spaghetti-stained faces.
But do you capture your tween or teen? Do you embrace the awkwardness of braces, acne, and gangly bodies as a special season, too? I know babies are adorable, but there's also something miraculous about watching your child become a young man or woman. And when you remember that everything passes, even the awkward stages, you're more likely to enjoy what's in front of you instead of reminiscing back or looking ahead at the next chapter.
Truth #2: Children grow up and leave, but your husband stays. Nurturing your marriage sets you up to enjoy your empty nest.
Yes, it is sad to think about not having kids at home. After all those years of laughter and chaos, it's easy to understand why the silence is deafening.
Then again, an empty nest can be fun with a spouse you enjoy and love. Remember when you dated, how much time you had to connect? It could be like that again, only with more memories and a tighter bond.
And should you start wishing the kids were small again, you can anticipate the next stage of parenting: grandchildren. From what I hear, it's even better the second time around.
Truth #1: The measure of a great mom is not productiveness. It's obedience to God
Do you ever have days, even weeks, when you're completely unproductive? Your to-do list is long, but because your child is young, sick, or struggling, you've dropped everything to give them extra time and attention?
I used to feel guilty about days like this, but I've come to peace with them. If the reason I'm unproductive is because I'm caring for my family, I'm following God's will.
God doesn't measure my work or yours by worldly standards. He doesn't need hard evidence because He sees it all: the silent sacrifices, the broken hearts, the late-night care, the kisses, the snuggles, the loving words that vanish into thin air. When others think you have little to show, God knows the truth. He sees what you plant in your children and watches it bloom in their heart.
Andy Stanley once said, "Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise." Moms, any day you build your family up is a success. Any call you take from God deserves a celebration. You're not just a good mom, you're a great mom.
You are building God's kingdom, after all, and what on earth could be greater than that?
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Kari Kampakis' blog. It has been modified and republished here with permission.