I was almost a straight-A student. In grade school, in high school, and in college. I can still name the classes where I wasn’t: Calculus, Business HR, some build block math class. Why can I name them?
Because to me, they felt like failure. The blips on an otherwise perfect track record.
Sometimes, when I forget Who gives me my name, I fall back on old names, like “good” student. Since I’m not in school anymore, that translates to “good” mom, “good” wife, “good employee.”
Basically, I want to be a Straight A mom now.
In school, it’s simple. You do your work, earn a grade, move on. If someone else does it for you, you fail.
Recently, I realized I have carried over the grading scale and tried to wrestle motherhood into it. The only problem is, my kids don’t really understand the grading scale. Or, more accurately, life doesn’t really understand that as a grading scale.
The problem with trying to squish mothering (or anything outside the classroom) into a systematic grading scale is that the so-called failures may in fact be some of the most resounding successes; a real Straight A mom may fail all the standardized tests.
I failed the first test effectively upon exiting the hospital with my oldest. Possibly before, but my new-mom stupor has blocked most of my memories of that time barring the really exceptional moments.
The first test: Be supermom. This means one cannot reach out for help. Ever. I must be all things for my kids, be so amazing/energetic/enthusiastic that they never, ever need anyone else. If they do, I should feel extremely guilty. Especially as a working mom.
Here is how the system fails: the real supermom has a full team of superheroes with her – not just behind her – raising her kids. Because our community is an array of many different superpowers, that A-team brings more to the table. Getting help isn’t failure, it’s brilliance.
This Easter season, I dusted off our collection of Easter stories, excited that my oldest daughter would be able to engage this year. Boy, did she. In fact, she leveled me with her astute questions, and wide, compassionate eyes, asking me, “Mommy, why is Easter so sad?”
And I was stumped. I’ve been an active Jesus follower since I was 9 years old, raised in the church, seasoned in apologetics classes. People, I attended a Christian college for three years. But communicate all that in an authentic, compassionate, logical way to my three year-old? Nope. So I flexed my millennial mom muscles and asked for help on my go-to Mama blog’s Facebook page.
They didn’t disappoint. In fact, they flooded the request with recommendations, ideas, encouragement.
I bought almost every book recommended, and it truly changed the dialogue.
I wasn’t even aware I shared a planet with these resources, but these wonderful ladies were sending me snaps from their bookshelves and all the words of encouragement.
These are the superhero mamas.
And, I would guess, these are also not superhero mamas. Sometimes.
Motherhood isn’t a grading system; it’s a growing system. It’s consistency, and grace, and more consistency, and more grace. And then a glimmer of fruit in our children.
I want to conclude by declaring: We’re all Straight A Moms!
It sounds nice.
But, it also misses the point.
We’re not Straight A Moms.
We have blips on our perfect records.
But we’re also not Straight F Moms, or C Average Moms.
We’re called Moms. We’re equipped Moms. We’re Moms dwelling in the Light we call Grace. We are not on a grading scale, we’re collectively on a growing scale; we’re growing with our children, our spouses, and our Savior.