The "Good Enough" Mom

by Dr. Juli Slattery

My son Andrew begged me to come on his field trip and be a parent driver. I calculated that I could work a half day before joining my son at the school, and this would be one of those few times I could feel like "supermom."

Unfortunately, when I arrived at Andrew's school, I was informed that I couldn't be a driver because my insurance information wasn't on file. So rather than driving all of Andrew's friends to the mining museum, I drove one disappointed son. After a few hours of touring the museum, the field trip concluded in a warm, dark room with a film about the many lives that had been lost to mining.

At some point during the film, the rush of the day caught up with me, and I dozed off. Apparently, I had a humorous dream and began laughing out loud. Andrew nudged me, and I awoke to his horrified look and the stares of about 200 parents, teachers and fourth-graders.

In moments like these, I become keenly aware of how inadequate I am as a mom. Even my best efforts never seem to be enough.

Often when doubts plague me, I remember a phrase from grad school that referenced the "good enough mother." Since I can't be the perfect parent, what are the basics that God requires from me as a mom? What's "good enough" to Him?

Apart from being faithful to provide for the physical needs of my children, God's definition of good enough is really quite simple and can be evaluated by asking myself two questions:

1. Am I seeking wisdom? Proverbs 14:1 says, "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." My friend, without consistently asking the Lord for His wisdom, you and I will inadvertently tear down the very homes we are trying to build. His wisdom provides the insight, grace and tenacity to mother well.

2. Am I loving my kids? The Bible is a big book with many complicated instructions, but Jesus simplified it when He said that His entire Law could be boiled down to loving God and loving others (Matthew 22:36-40). His love expressed through me will cover many parenting mistakes.

Striving to be a "good enough" mom isn't a cop-out. Instead, it's an acknowledgement that I can't be God — all-sufficient, all-knowing and ever-present — to my children.  In trying to be "supermom," I sometimes forget that the Lord has not called me to be perfect, but to faithfully walk in wisdom, love and humility.

And if what I do is good enough for Him, it's good enough for me.


This article originally appeared in the Summer, 2011 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2011 by Focus on the Family. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.


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