In this day and age it is so easy to get caught up in the plethora of parenting books, the sea of parenting information on the internet, the menagerie of different parenting styles, and not to mention the endless supply of ideas for projects, crafts, and activities on Pinterest that you can do with your kids to be a “better” mom.
Of course we should try to do our best, and we should make raising our kids well a top priority, but too many of us are holding ourselves to impossible standards, comparing ourselves to Suzy homemaker from next door, and barreling endlessly forward in the pursuit of perfection. I finally decided…I just can’t do it anymore!
Then I realized…I don’t want to! Sure I want my kids to have a fulfilling childhood. I want to make memories, have lots of quality time, and hopefully instill them with priceless values. One of those values should be compassion though. I decided, I want my kids to see me for what I AM…a fallen, broken, imperfect, sinner. Why? Because it is a fabulous example of Christ’s love and grace.
I want my kids to know that it’s ok to make a mistake, and if they do, Mama and Daddy, and Jesus will all still love them. I want to give them the grace that God show’s me every day, and the good Lord knows, that’s a LOT.
Now, don’t be mistaken…giving your kids grace doesn’t mean permissiveness…but it means maybe thinking about dealing with some situations in a new way.
My kids sometimes grumble about doing chores. Now, I know NONE of yours do that, but when mine do, rather than immediately taking away privileges or some other form of punishment I try to step back and think like they are. I realized one day while they were in the midst of telling me that “Chores are no fun” and “I’m too tired to do chores” that I OFTEN felt the EXACT same way….but that didn’t mean I could just skip doing them either. I decided to tell them how I was feeling, and explain that we all need to work together since we are a family. I told them that I couldn’t do it without them, and that while I understood that they didn’t want to do any chores, that sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do because they need to get done. I asked how they would feel if I didn’t make them dinner one night “because I was too tired.” They didn’t like that idea, and realized that we all have to do things we don’t want to sometimes, so that we can all have the things we need.
Now, your kids might know all that, and if they do, kudos to you! Maybe you can apply it another way. My kids are still young (age 7 and under) so it may look different in your home.
Just remember they (whoever they is) say “The days are long but the years are short” so give yourself some grace, accept God’s grace, and empower your kids to do so too.