Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Parenting?

It started for me almost as soon as I had conceived. The constant worry that haunted me then and still does today: Am I a good mom? I began reading various parenting books and magazines, any that I could get my hands on. I was obsessed. I would break the bad patterns of parenting passed down from my own parents and I would be SUPERmom, the kool-aid mom, June Cleaver, and Claire Huxtable all rolled into one. I was constantly searching for live parenting mentors. I quit watching TV shows where the parents were not good role models for me. I had one all-consuming passion: being a good mom.

I wish I could say all that is different now. The literature is different. The mentors are different, but the obsession is the same. To somehow be a good mom.

AND THEN IT HITS ME UPSIDE MY HEAD, this is another PRIDE THING. Because it isn't all about God or my children, it is about the perceptions of the people around me. It is about me.

  • What would people say if they stopped by and saw my house looking like this?
  • What would people think if my child has a temper tantrum?
  • What if my kid is a brat?
  • What if my kid isn't smart?
  • What if my kid is a bully?
  • What will people say when they see the outfit my kid has on today?
  • What if my child does not grow up to be a Christian?
  • What if my child grows up and never wants to visit me?
  • What will ____ think about how I discipline?
  • What if _____doesn't think I am a good mom?
  • What if _____ talks bad about me or my kids?

And the root of all of these questions...my PRIDE. People might think poorly of me. POOR ME. I want to always be thought well of by everyone. How God feels about me, the relationship I have with Him, the relationship my kids have with Him, and the relationship we have with each other are the only things that matter.

It dawns on me that only one of these questions REALLY matter AND I have no control over that. None. In fact, there are no guarantees in parenting. You pour your heart and soul into a child and there may not be any return on your investment. I have seen wonderful children come from the most broken and dysfunctional homes. I have also seen broken people come from adoring 'normal' families. I have really been having some serious prayer talks with God lately. They go something like this:

Me: God, I have no clue how to be a truly good mom. I come from such broken-ness and I am still quite broken myself. I don't know what I am doing here, I think I am blowing it.

God: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Me: God, I really can't handle this. It is too much. I worry that my children will not 'turn out'.

God: Matthew 6:27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

God is so good, so faithful to equip the called not call the equipped. The very fact that I am broken will work things out if I can only lose the pride- admit my faults and weaknesses to my children. They are not concerned with a SUPERmom. They just want a mom that loves them and makes them feel loved. They want parents that love each other and them. They want a home that is a sanctuary from the hurts of the world. They want boundaries that are clear and that keep them safe. They want grace and mercy.

In short, they want the very same things from me that I want from my Father. AND, with His help, I can be a good mom of good kids. We will be far from perfect, but then, aren't we all?

4 comments:

hulagirlatheart said...

My husband the retired parole officer would tell you that you can be the best parent in the world and still end up with a problem child. In the end, the only person we can control is ourself. I think it's one of the hardest of life's lessons, and I hate that I stink at it on most days.

Sara said...

This is very insightful Janice and such a struggle at the same time. I admire your willingness to grapple with the tough questions!

I pray that God will continue to allow you to find wholeness in him and your kids will see that effort to seek out things that are healthy.

Becky K. said...

An excellent post.

How true this is. I like that God speaks to you in scripture. That is how it should be...

Keep seeking Him.

You may have read I am a scared Mom right now. One son takes his driving test tomorrow. I don't know how many times thie week I have prayed that God will only let him pass if he is really ready.

Becky K.

Ashley said...

Thanks for this.