There is a mum who lives inside my head.
She is silently judging, always offering opinions about my parenting. I hear her cautions daily and I second guess my steps.
I catch myself before making decisions, wondering what she would do instead.
Sometimes she is a distorted version of my own mother, my mother-in-law or the mother next door. Sometimes she looks just like the mother I pass in the supermarket aisle, or the mother commenting online.
Whatever form she takes, the mum in my head always has it all together.
I hear the voice of the mum in my head echoing from the pages of parenting books and blogs. Her pithy proverbs and sing-song voice reminds me what needs to be done: washing, ironing, feeding, cleaning, and exercising away the baby fat.
She makes it look so easy
The mother in my head is particularly vocal about bedtime. I hear her as I cuddle my drowsy toddler to sleep—telling me not to create bad sleep habits. I hear her as I sit next to my toddler as he cries in his cot—telling me every cry is ruining his developing brain.
I've been keeping company with the mother in my head for a while now—since my baby was just a flutter inside my belly. Her voice began to wake me up at night, making me think of all the things that could be.
Hers is the voice telling me I need to be it all, do it all, and somehow be satisfied.
Her voice is shrill and grating. Her tone is harsh and frustrated. Her words are mine. I am the mum inside my head.
But there is another voice...
A voice that calms and soothes. A voice with gentle power. A voice with guiding wisdom and care for weary souls weighed down with burdens.
Jesus speaks. Words etched in ink are alive with power. Jesus reminds me that I am not summed up by my imperfect mothering. He cares for me as if I were a child, speaking simple and clear truths.
I come to him, hands full of deeds and schemes for holy perfection. Look! Look at what I have done. Gently, he reminds me that my efforts will not win my perfection. He shows me his love, his mercy, his righteous perfection ... and he gives it to me.
There is nothing I have done, nothing I can do. This perfection is a gift. Grace for living.
I am tired of listening to the mum in my head.
Every day I must choose again to listen to the gentle voice instead.
Sophia Sinclair has qualifications in English, Theatre and Journalism. She is a Kiwi living in Sydney with her husband Andrew and their son Guy.
Sophia Sinclair's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/sophia-sinclair.html