Have you ever noticed how proud you feel of yourself when your child does something good? The opposite is also true. When my kids act up, I feel embarrassed like it's a reflection of me. This just isn't true though. I read an article today titled: Your Kids Are Not Your Report Card and, it's been on my mind ever since.
It shares how God was the perfect parent to Adam and Eve. He gave them instruction on how to be etc. And yet, they still disobeyed.
As parents, I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to be the "perfect parent."
When, in all reality, no parent really is. And, even if we could be perfect like God, look how well Adam and Eve obeyed!?!? We all know how that story ends! So, why the pressure to be perfect parents?
When we feel our kids are a reflection of us it causes us to also judge other parents. All of a sudden, we see a "naughty" kid and whoa, Brenda just "mustn't be a good mom! I mean, can you believe her kid just did that?"
The flip side of that is true too. Do you have one of those friends who posts "Instagram" worthy photos of their kids doing something super cute every day with a #Godisgreat? Let me tell you this…First of all, YES! God IS great. But….wouldn't you just love to see the "behind the scenes" of that picture? When I see pictures like that, I can't help but feel like it's a photoshopped version of reality. You know, like those articles you see where it shows a model before and after photoshopping. I know I've been guilty of this. I used to think, "who wants to see that paint dripping off of their nose in the picture? Let's wipe your face with a baby wipe first." Now, looking back at it, THAT is what I would LOVE to see! I would LOVE to have pictures of my kids painting with paint smudges all over them. That is the reality of what we were doing. THAT is the REAL memory of that moment. Not, the perfect "Instagram" picture I shared with all of my mom friends.
So, why do we do it?
Deep down, we know when we post that "perfect" pic, it's not really what happened. We don't deserve a gold star for anything but maybe our photo-editing skills perhaps.
The opposite is true too.
We know that Brenda's kids are doing the same exact thing our little rascal did last week at Costco. So, why do we feel it's okay to judge her and think SHE is a bad mom? Does that mean I am a bad mom too? No, it doesn't. Cut yourself (and her) some slack!
But, wait! If our kids AREN'T a reflection of us, then where do we come in? What IS a mom supposed to do?
God wants us to equip our children with what is necessary to build a good character. In order to do that, I believe we must teach them about Him so that He can work in their lives.
They need to have a character that stems from a heart for Christ.
Like so many things in life, the choices they make ultimately are out of our control as parents. I know it's hard to believe little Suzie could make that evil decision to steal that cookie from the cookie jar. But, her sweet little self DID make that decision-no matter how many times we've done the right thing and told her it's wrong to steal. Eventually, they will learn to make good choices on their own if we teach them how to have a good heart.
Our kids need to see us modeling what we preach as well. If we want them to control their anger, WE need to control our anger. If we want them to be considerate of others, WE need to be considerate of others-even when someone cuts us off in traffic!
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
I think it's also important to admit our wrong doings to our kids. We need to show them, that it's okay to make mistakes. It's how we handle the mistakes that matter. Yes, it was wrong for mommy to yell at Suzie for stealing the cookie. However, Suzie can learn a lot about grace and forgiveness when mommy explains to her how "mommy made a bad choice to yell at you. I'm so sorry I didn't act the way I should have. I shouldn't have raised my voice at you. Will you forgive me?" When they see us responding that way, they will begin to do so as well because it is what has been modeled to them.
So, basically, us moms need to just CHILL-OUT! We need to stop judging other moms for what is out of their control. We need to quit trying to look like the perfect mom on Instagram because, face it-we know it's not real! We saw that little angel of yours spilling the communion tray before you took a pic of them in their "#SweetSundayBest." ha
I'll go first! Want to know my mommy confession for the day?
Today, I lead a kids hiking group. I was the front lead. The kids were supposed to stay behind me. Guess whose kid (along with two other kids) ran up ahead out of my vision and scared me to death causing me to think I lost 3 kids? Yep! MINE! My sweet Little Ladybug!
Want to know the honest to God truth? My first thought wasn't "I hope my ladybug is okay!" It was, "what are these moms going to think of me? Did I really let them run off like that?!?!?"
How horrible is that? I let my fear of being judged as a mom come before my fear for my daughter. Now THAT is something to judge about! I'm so embarrassed it happened, I almost deleted this section of my post. But, I need to be REAL and HONEST too.
Maybe if more moms posted about honest life-like this, mom's wouldn't feel so alone. Maybe we wouldn't feel like we failed because these "failures" happen more than we think or should I say, more than we are willing to admit!
Another mom on our hike today mentioned how her mother in law left her daughter at the swap meet one day. I really appreciated her sharing that. It made me feel so much better. I need to remember how that eased the pain I was causing myself and do the same thing to other moms. When I see a mom struggling, rather than think to myself, "yikes!" I need to share a situation I had similar or something to help them in that moment.
Help rather than judge!
Friends, let's shut the gate on mommy shaming, judging and comparing! Let's focus our energy on our OWN family-our kids in particular. We are the best parents for our kids and that's what really matters! Let's also encourage other moms to be their best. Not shame them to feeling they are the worst.
Have you ever had a situation where you felt judged as a mom? Do you ever catch yourself judging another mom?
Feel free to share an experience with us moms. You never know who you may influence!