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Getting Real About Motherhood: Regrets, Relationships & Redemption

I was recently encouraged by a friend that there is no such thing as a “perfect” parent. 

At some point we just need to accept that our kids have to make their own choices and they may not always look like the ones we’d make. 

The truth is, I have started and stopped writing this blog over and over trying to find words that convey the heartache, joy, regrets, hope and sadness that I wrestle with as a mom right now, all the while keeping my heart centred on God’s grace and redemptive power to work in every situation and heart.

Especially mine.

As a mother, I have regrets. What if I had done this different? What if I was different?  If I hadn’t done this or that, or reacted like I did… would my child be better off? Did I do a good job?

Do you have ever have those thoughts? 

It’s really difficult facing my failures. I know not everything is going to be perfect and that family dynamics and relationships are messy and painful at times. I get it.

I realize that a mother’s love, longings and best intentions to see their kids to flourish and succeed can sometimes get lost in their own brokenness.

That truth… can be hard to face. It has been for me.

I recently wrote my son Addison a letter.  In it, I apologised for years of knit-picking and constant criticism.  There was a time, particularly when Addison was 12-14 years old, that I think I did more  tearing down than building up.

Privately, my husband Scott discussed this with me a number of times, but I just couldn’t seem to help myself.

Why just him? Why couldn’t I encourage instead of criticize?

I apologised to Addison, and eventually I did change, but at that point the damage had already been done.

Addi was a wonderful baby and child - easy going, and always ready for an adventure. But somewhere along the way though, bit by bit, pain caused anger.

As parents we made some really hard choices and knew it would take awhile for Addison to come through to the other side. We watched helplessly as negative thinking and behaviors grew as he did through his teens.

My heart ached, wondering how I could have been a better Mom.

Today Addi is 18 years old and he’s choosing to live on his own.

The hardest thing for me to do is to just let him go and let him find his own way.

It’s a journey we all have to take.

Parents and kids.   

I miss him every day. He is truly a joy to have around when he visits. He loves to talk, has a fantastic heart, an incredibly outgoing personality and loves people to the core.

Yes, I’ve come to accept that my kids have their own choices to make and they may not always reflect my values, or beliefs.

They need grace… just as much as we do as parents. 

The lesson I’m learning through this journey is how to lay down my regrets, forgive myself and embrace hope and prayer more than I ever have before.  

I’m learning to trust in the only “perfect parent” I know that can love a heart back into wholeness.

That goes for Addi, Scott and all my kids.

And for my heart as well.