Photo submitted by Taunie Reynolds

You hear your infant cry for the first time and you begin to learn what your child needs. You have chosen your path to be an intentional mother. Why then, do we seem to look at deliberate mothering as such a challenge? I believe too many of us feel deliberate mothering entails mothering without mistakes.  Deliberate mothering does not imply perfect mothering.

I don’t know about your children, but mine figured out at an early age that their mom was fallible (and I will never live it down). That’s okay, however, because my parenting philosophy is to teach my children how to work through their mistakes and their pitfalls. What better example is there than to show them that I make errors in judgement? (And, I’m not just referring to the clothes I wore to pick them up from school last week—how embarrassing!)

I remember the days I was pulled over for speeding. To my children, it was the most unlikely sin their mother could ever commit…until it happened. Then it happened again. There was also the time when the kids had a friendly conversation with the police officer while he waited for their naughty mother to return to her car. I had left the car parked in front of the school while I ran my daughter’s lunch in. Yes, these bright eyed kids learned that their mother was not as flawless as they had supposed in their innocent minds.

I hope and pray that being a deliberate mother does not mean that you never forget important events in your child’s life like Parent Teacher Conferences, or that essential poster for “Child of the Week.” What about when you forget to pick your child up from preschool until an hour after it ended? Does that count? Because it really wasn’t “deliberate.” I like to blame my forgetfulness on giving birth to five children. You know, the “you lose brain cells every time you give birth” belief? But then I look at Michelle Duggar and she seems to be doing okay.

Now my children are teenagers and the imperfections have changed.  My teens are constantly reminding me that it is not okay for a mom to dance in Walmart or to hug their guy friends. It is also taboo to talk to the boy they have a crush on or to say embarrassing things such as, “Dude, I’m picking up what you’re putting down.” Mom to mom, I have to say these things are very much a part of the larger plan, and something I do intentionally.

I hope my confessions haven’t diminished your faith in my parenting skills. I assure you that I am no criminal and my offenses, for the most part, are trivial. The point is, I am far from perfect. I hope that you are too, because I promise your children will be!

From the minute our parenting world began, it became a practice ground. The great arena of life, where we all take turns dropping the ball and fumbling. So play for the love of the game! The minute I chose to be a parent, I accepted the challenge to try my best to make each little person grow up to be the best big person they were created to be.

If we are truly to be our best, we must learn to pick ourselves up when we fall. Henry Ford said, “One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.” The Chinese Proverb similarly states, “Failure teaches success.”

Yes, I am a deliberate and intentional mother. No, I am not perfect. I will continue to err, but hopefully not too amazingly. My children will continue to experience a mother with, what they lovingly refer to as, “issues;” and in the process, I quite honestly plan to enjoy every minute.

QUESTION: How can we use the imperfections and “fumbles” of motherhood to propel us to live with deeper conviction and intention as a parent?

CHALLENGE: Think of a time when you showed an error of judgement as a mother and talk to your children about how you worked through it.

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