Encouragements From a ‘Not-So-Perfect’ Mom

By Candice van Pletsen

It was January 2015 and the time had finally come for our oldest son, Judah to start big school – Grade 1! I managed to get myself and our younger 2 boys dressed and ready just in time for us to leave the house… it would be a tragedy if he were late on his first day!

Oh yes, one can’t forget the family photo including our boy looking so grown up in his school uniform – this shot was taken just before our middle son, Ben decided to push him in the pool, uniform and all! Now the odds were against us in terms of being on time – nothing like being late on your first day of Grade 1. After changing Judah into his spare uniform and blasting the hairdryer into his wet shoes, we managed to get to school just in the nick of time.

Let me start by introducing myself as Candice, a wife, a mom and a lover of Jesus!

My husband Mark and I are dad and mom to three very vibrant boys whom we absolutely love and adore. Judah is 7, Ben, 5 and Daniel is 3 years old. Mark and I have had the privilege of leading Life Changers church for 3 years now since moving down from Durban.

The reason I share my story of Judah is because life is messy and imperfect and for a perfectionist like me this was and still is one hard lesson to learn! I think God needed to give me 3 energetic and loud boys to deal with perfectionism in me.

I’d like to encourage all moms out there that it’s okay to not “have it all together.”

So here are four encouragements from a “not so perfect mom” to another:

Works in progress – Being a good mom isn’t about having it all together and being perfect. We strive to always give our best but don’t beat yourself up for not getting everything 100 percent right all the time. We are works in progress and so are our children. Tomorrow is a new day. If we don’t get it right today we try again tomorrow. I once heard someone say that “a home isn’t a museum with everything perfectly in place but a science lab where one is able to experiment and make a few mess ups as we learn and grow.” I like that picture for parenting too!

Humility and forgiveness – Being able to admit when you’re wrong and asking for forgiveness is so powerful. It shows your children that you aren’t perfect and that you are also learning on this journey of motherhood. Honesty and vulnerability leads to approachability. As moms we always want to make sure that we are approachable and that the bridge of communication is there.

The heart – What’s going on inside is as important as what’s going on outside. It’s not just about good behaviour but about our children’s hearts. Teaching good behaviour is vital but making sure your children understand the ‘why’ we do or don’t do things is key to them being sincere and honest and will have longer lasting effect. I love the wise words of Solomon that say “From the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” So whatever is going on in their hearts will determine their behaviour. Let’s deal with the root of the problem (e.g. envy, insecurity, pride etc.) rather than just surface level behaviours by looking deep into our children’s hearts.

Power in weakness – I Corinthians 12 says “His grace is sufficient for me, for His Power is made perfect in weakness”. I can only boast in my weaknesses because there is One greater than me and His name is Jesus. When you surrender to that name there is a grace, there is a love and a power that you can access that goes beyond our human frailty. I don’t know about you but I often feel weak especially in the area of parenting. But Jesus carries me, my failures and imperfections and leads me in His perfect ways with unending grace. I pray today that if you don’t know Jesus you open your heart to Him and let Him in…there’s an endless supply of grace and strength.

Let’s also just remind ourselves to smell the roses along the way. To be ‘present’ and ‘in the moment’ enjoying our children along this bumpy road of parenting. I Hope that was encouraging and helpful from one imperfect (but progressing) mom to another.

Candice xxx