Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Ridiculous Lie I Believed About Motherhood

Today we're elated to have Julie Garmon guest posting at One Ringing Bell. With the tagline, “Southern Stories of Grit and Grace,” hope and humor shine through Julie Garmon’s writing. She’s been a regular contributor to Daily Guideposts since 2003 and writes on assignment for Guideposts magazine. Julie won a coveted spot to the Guideposts’ writers contest in 2004 and is invited to annual workshops. She’s published with Sweet 16, PLUS, Angels on Earth, Homelife, Today’s Christian, Today’s Christian Woman,,, and Read more about Julie  here at her website.

While my children were growing up, I believed a lie.

I thought if I could be a Perfect Mother, I could raise Perfect Children.

Have you ever heard of such nonsense?

On my first day at home with baby Jamie (our first child), my mother stopped by.

Jamie started screaming. I couldn’t do anything to make her happy.

She’s less than a week old and I’m already failing!

Crazy, I know.

I thought it was my job to make sure she never cried.

Or got sick. Or dirty. Or hurt. Or sad. Or lonely.

Or misbehaved when she got older.

While we ate supper, I laid her on the sofa. Somehow she wiggled toward the back of the sofa.

What kind of Perfect Mother does things like this?

Before Mother left, we snapped a few happy pictures.

I’m smiling (a Perfect Mother always smiles) but on the inside,
I was a Nervous Nellie.

Two and a half years later Katie was born, 30 years ago on April 30th. 

Happy birthday, Katie!

What pressure! Now I had two little girls to make Perfect.

I tried so hard to be a Perfect Mother.

Which was exhausting.

Cheery notes in lunchboxes, ribbons in hair, matching outfits, plus I never screamed (on the outside).

Then something happened that began to change me.

Our third child Robbie was born with anencephaly.

He lived twenty minutes.

Life and death can rearrange our thinking. Shift priorities.

We had another son two years later.

Slowly but surely, (and definitely while raising teenagers!) I discovered how wrong I was.

It was never my job to be a Perfect Mother.

And something else.

The root of my desire for perfection was control.

I wasn’t in control then.

I’m not in control now.

God is.

He’s my Perfect Father. And my children’s Perfect Father too.
Did you believe any crazy lies about motherhood?

I’m helping to spread the word about a new ministry called The M.O.M. Initiative. “Mothers on a Mission to Mentor other Mothers.”

They’re having a conference July 21 – August 2, 2014 in Jacksonville, FL for moms, mentors, and leaders, and are reaching out to mothers everywhere, and not just during the conference.
Such good stuff! Wish this had been around 30 years ago.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'" (2 Corinthians 12:9). 


Terri Webster said...

Yes, yes, yes! What new mom doesn't relate to this! I became a single mom with a 15-month old and 6 year old and constantly felt like a failure over things I had no control over. Thanks for sharing, Julie.

Beverly Varnado said...

Terri, this really resonated with me as well. Thanks for reading.


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