on pride and perfection

We all know that pride can be an ugly thing. But what I don’t always remember is that perfectionism can also be an ugly thing.

grace, not perfection

via Emily Ley

I’ve been feeling really good about being organized in 2014. We’ve been sticking to a budget. I’ve been planning meals and we’ve stuck to the meal plan. The laundry has been manageable and things are getting done.

And that feels good!

One of my favorite things is to sit down and map out the week. And this year Todd and  I have been going on weekly breakfast dates to catch up and make sure we’re both up to speed when it comes to the family budget. We make sure we both know which nights we have a meeting at school or church, and which nights we’re eating at home. It gives us a good chance to sit and have uninterrupted conversations, too.

And I’ll admit, that I’ve been pretty proud of myself for getting it done.

Every week Hudson has a letter for the week, and on Fridays he brings in something that starts with that letter for Show and Tell. I picked him up on Friday after school and noticed a lot of things in the other kids’ cubbies that start with the letter P. We had spent all week talking about what he was going to bring that started with the letter P. And Friday morning came and I didn’t put his plane in his bag to take to school.

I felt awful about it. I apologized to him and he said, “it’s okay, Mommy. I found something in the classroom.” Oh that sweet boy.

We had a great weekend at home. We took it easy. We ate a crock pot meal. We watched Disney movies and played board games. On Saturday night, I laid out the boys’ clothes for church the next morning. And on Sunday morning, I took a shower, washed my hair, dried it and got dressed while Todd fed and dressed the boys for church.

We’re feeling pretty good. We’re on top of it. We’ve got it together. Until we walk into church and I immediately notice that the other kids are all wearing their pajamas. It’s Pajamas and Pancakes Sunday for the children’s ministry. And the sweet Carroll boys are in Sunday clothes.

My heart sank. Mostly for Hudson because Hayes really doesn’t know any better. But 4.5 year olds know these things. I wrapped him up and told him I was so sorry that we forgot, but I promised him that I would run home and get some jammies for him and bring them back to church.

I forgot pajama Sunday. I had everything written down for the week. But not show and tell. And not pajama Sunday. I had that feeling when I was driving home that I might cry. I was disappointed in myself for forgetting, and I was actually embarrassed that someone might think of me as the mom who let things fall through the cracks. The mom who didn’t have it together.

After rushing home and getting back to church, I helped Hudson change his clothes in the bathroom. I told him I was so sorry that we forgot. And he said, “Mommy, thank you for going to get my jammies. I’m so excited about pajama day.” I mean. Seriously.

I hugged him and apologized again, and he said, “It’s okay. It was Daddy’s fault. He dressed us.” And I just died laughing. (And couldn’t wait to tell Todd what Hudson said. Because we know it wasn’t Daddy’s fault.)

I may not always have the chance to fix my mistakes. I won’t always be able to run home to get the jammies. But that day I wanted him to know that it was important to me that he felt included.

I won’t always be able to make it right.

But I know two things to be true in this situation. My value and my worth are not found in how “together” my life is or may seem. And I need to check that pride at the door.

And I know that God’s grace covers me. Oh, and my little boy’s grace is pretty sweet, too.

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    • says

      Oh, Erin! I understand how upsetting and frustrating it is when everything seems to be running smoothly and then you forget something. It doesn’t matter how little it is, it feels monumental.

  1. says

    I think it’s good for our kids to see our mistakes and know that Mommy isn’t perfect. Growing up, I was so fearful of making mistakes and letting people down that it almost crippled me as an adult. I wish someone had told me when I was young that it’s a part of life – we all make mistakes – the important thing is we grow from them.

  2. says

    Love your heart, sweet friend and I couldn’t agree more…. sometimes we forget the little things….sometimes the big things, but that 100% does not determine our worth or “how together” we have it. I needed this reminder.

    And oh, sweet Hudson. Goodness!!!

    So glad to hear that this year is off to a great start for y’all! XO!

  3. Beth says

    Your post unintentionally raises a good point though – why isn’t it daddy’s responsibility to remember things like pajama day, especially since it falls on the weekend? (And it wouldn’t be in my household, either – and think this is true in the majority of households.) So much of the day to day small parts of parenting fall to mom, even when both parents work outside the home.

  4. says

    We’ve all had those weeks. They are hard and so frustrating, but such a sweet reminder that we can’t do it all and that’s ok. Those weeks make me stop and remember to lean into Him and allow Him to lavish me with His grace.

    As far as pajama day goes, you weren’t the only Mommy that forgot, but you were the only one to go back home and get some. The fact that you did that was noticed, and not in a bad way. No one thought you were that mommy that lets things fall through the cracks. We all commented on how very much you love those sweet boys of yours, we talked about how amazing you are to actually go home and make sure Hudson was able to participate.

    You are a fantastic mommy…and whether or not you have it all together your sweet boys adore you. I can see it in the way Hudson’s face lights up every time he talks about you, and Hayes does the same thing every time he sees you. It’s precious…thank you for your authenticity…it’s such a blessing sweet friend!

  5. April says

    I can so relate to this. We just have a million thoughts and things going at one time that something is going to fall through the cracks. If those were the only things you forgot all week then you were doing good! And I don’t mean this ugly at all but I would have forgotten pajama day at church too, no doubt. That is not something I’ve ever heard of a church doing. I say lets stick to wearing nice clothes for Sunday and not mess with any of this pajama bizness! LOL

    • says

      Haha April! Our children’s ministry is so wonderful and so intentional about making church special for the kids and personal for them. It was out of our normal Sunday routine for them to wear pajamas, but gosh, all those kiddos LOVED it. They had pancakes and they talked about it for two days. I’m so thankful for the people that minister to my kids. It’s pretty neat!

  6. says

    I struggle with this often because I am a teacher, Mom, praise team member, wife…etc. etc. etc. BUT God gives us grace and if I believe in that grace I have to give MYSELF grace too. I ALWAYS connect with your posts…just don’t always have time to comment! You’re so transparent and my heart really appreciates that! Have a blessed day Erin!

  7. says

    Little children speak so genuinely, sometime we just need to stop and listen to them — their words and thoughts aren’t too far off from the Lord’s. Hudson knows you’re a great mom to him, he knows how much you care about him and making him happy, he knew that even though you forgot it didn’t make any of that less true. We’re so hard on ourselves and strive so hard to be perfect, but why? God doesn’t require us to be perfect, just kind, graceful, compassionate, forgiving, honest and loving. Have a great day, Erin!!

  8. says

    I absolutely love Emily Ley’s “grace not perfection” – it’s so true! What a refreshing thought, that we should be held (by ourselves, by others, and by God) to a standard of GRACE and not of perfection!

  9. says

    I love this post! I pride myself on having it all together and also get upset if I forget a little thing. My husband always has the no big deal attitude and I wonder how he can be so relaxed! I agree that part of it is the thought of being “that mom” that doesn’t have her stuff together. I also know that we all need to be “that mom” once in a while to be humbled and to be reminded that we are not in control. As much as we plan and outline and prepare we are not the ones in charge. Sometimes the Lord reminds us in the best ways. I laughed at Hudson saying not to worry that it was Daddy’s fault 🙂 Keep up the great work!

  10. says

    Oh my goodness, I laughed out loud at him saying it was Todd’s fault!! I love that boy. He could see you were really feeling bad about it and wanted you to feel better. Amelia is a lot like Hudson. The things that I just know she’ll freak over and be disappointed – she just rolls with it. And whenever I apologize to her, she always says, “it’s okay, Mama, I always forgive you.” Kiddos can teach us so much in how we should treat others.

    This post was a great reminder that perfection is not the goal. God doesn’t call us to be perfect – He calls us to be faithful.

    Love you, friend!

  11. says

    Years ago, I tried to be “that” Mom…and I failed a LOT.

    It’s just that with one of our children having special needs, I felt even more compelled to try and make everything ELSE look perfect. Eventually, I did get the big picture and I allowed myself some GRACE.

    Okay…a lot of grace.

    (And plus, my boys out-numbered me and at some point, I realized I was just hanging on for dear life!)

  12. says

    The heart you have for your family shows through your writing. You seem like you are a sweet mama to your boys.

    Through Christ is where our efforts make the most impact. The Holy Spirit has a perfect record of filling in where our flesh fails.

    Blessings to you this Winter Wednesday.

  13. says

    Bless your heart {and Hudson’s too}! It happens to the best of….and to me more often than I would like to admit. I feel like a hot mess half the time, but I guess it keeps my pride in check! I’m SOOO thankful for His grace….I’m lost without it! 🙂

  14. Lizziefitz says

    I committed to going on Grace’s children’s museum field trip . It was today, the same day as my son’s 4th grade award ceremony . Maybe we can clone ourselves to pick up the slack? I took him out for ice cream and apologized. Thank God we get a fresh start everyday with these sweet babies. Only adults hold grudges. Hugs!

  15. says

    Ohmygoodness. This was just the sweetest post. I empathize with your feelings. How sweet are those boys?! It’s so nice to be reminded of God’s grace, how quickly we are to dismiss it. Love this post. Hugs!

  16. says

    I don’t comment often here, but I’ve been reading your blog since just before Hudson was born. I have always been inspired by your organization and the “pretty” things of your life; but, lately, you have really been inspiring me through some of the “uglier” or harder things in life too. Over the last few months, I have seen such a marked change in the way you write here – it is so full of intention and heart – and I am SO proud of you. It takes courage to be bold about your faith and your struggles in the blogging world, especially since you were already seeing so much “success” without that angle. I just had to comment and tell you how much I respect and appreciate what you are doing with this space – it is noticed, and I, for one, am thankful for it! 🙂

  17. says

    Oh man, I found myself nodding right along with you. Then my heart ached. Then I giggled. And then I nodded again with you. A truly lovely post, my friend. You write so beautifully. And yes, grace. XO

  18. says

    Sometimes I personally fall for the lie that life can be perfect. That if I plan everything down to a “t” not will go wrong. But we all know that is not how things work. I like to think that my kiddos will remember that I handled the bad times as well as the good times. Thank you for sharing! Grace and a sense of humor go a long way;)


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