I opened a Google document shortly after the birth of my first daughter. My husband gave me the idea to start recording some of the cute things that Susannah did and any milestones that she reached. Good idea, honey.
I have some friends who opened up an e-mail account for their first son when he was born, so they could write e-mails to him as he grows up. So sweet.
I know some people who do yearly scrapbooks of their kids, or have kept perfect baby books, documenting anything and everything about their children. Awesome.
I have heard of those crafty folk, who make lovely quilts for each of the children, something they can keep forever that will hold meaning and memories.
I’ve read about people that write letters to each of their children on their birthdays, recording their love for the child and their prayers for them. What an encouraging, beautiful treasure to have.
Facebook shows me all the fancy new maternity pics that people are having done, and then these nifty month-by-month photos of the new babies.
Pinterest bombards me with so many amazing ideas of things I can do with my children, for my children, or about my children.
And the list goes on.
All of these things are so neat and so great, but you know what, I’m basically having an anxiety attack over here thinking about all the things that I did not do for my children. The maternity photos? Umm…no, didn’t really want to have pictures reminding me of what I looked like 50 pounds heavier. But maybe I should have? For the children! To preserve the memories! What have I done?!
The month-by-month photos? Missed that boat with Susannah. It wasn’t even invented then. Forgot about it with Caitlyn, and then I attempted it with Madalyn, but I just couldn’t seem to make it work. Now I don’t know what they looked like at each stage! And I can’t even present them with a cute little book so they can compare themselves to their children. Cue the hyperventilation.
The Google documents that I started for my girls….well let’s just say that Madalyn’s is a little sparse by comparison. She apparently doesn’t do anything cute, or reach milestones. I went to write it in tonight, out of guilt, and then I started panicking over all of the things I’ve neglected to record.
Now what’s the point of this post? Truth be told, I actually had no idea as I started writing, I just knew I was feeling tons of guilt and failure when I thought about writing anything to do with motherhood. I could only think of all the things I’ve wanted to do, attempted to do, and have failed to do adequately. I could think only of all the things these other children will have growing up, that my girls might have liked but won’t have.
But as I wrote, by the Lord’s grace, and by my husband’s loving instruction, I was humbly reminded, that these so called “failures” are not failures at all. Not even close. Oh, I definitely fail as a mom, so often, but these things that I am stressing about, they are not failures and I have no reason to feel any guilt over them.
In fact, the only guilt I should feel is over the fact that I am more concerned about having elaborate photo books for my children than I am about how I am showing them Christ.
As inspiring as some of these ideas I mentioned above are, we as christian moms are not called to do all of these extra things for our children. As an aside, I would probably even wager that half the time we want to do these things for our own sake rather than theirs, whether for pleasure or for self-congratulation. I know this is true for myself, at least.
On the contrary, we are called to “love the Lord our God with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our strength and with all our minds, and our neighbors as ourselves”. What will matter to my children is how great I make my God look, and how much they see me seeking after him and serving others, including them, because of that love.
Instead of being concerned with whether or not I can give my children picture books of themselves, I want to be committed to and consumed with giving them a living picture of a mom who seeks to live out the greatest commandment.