Not a Perfect Mom
May 29, 2012
By Sara Wade
I was an amazing mother; in fact I was perfect. My kids were perfect too. They always used their manners and never forgot a please or thank you. They wouldn’t dream of throwing a tantrum or whining when they didn’t get what they wanted. Being a perfect mother, my explanations were so clear and reasonable that there was never cause for argument. I was always consistent, so discipline was a breeze and there was no bribing or threats.
I was a perfect mother…and then I had kids.
I learned something very quickly: parenting is HARD! I used to see a toddler throwing a tantrum at the store and think, “My kids will never act that way.” Now I think, “Yep, I’ve been there.”
The truth is I’m not perfect. I get tired and give in when I shouldn’t; I respond too harshly when I am crossed; I resort to bribes to avoid embarrassment; I fail over and over again. And my kids are not perfect either. They are amazing, but not perfect. They whine when they don’t get what they want, they challenge my reasoning, they bicker in the back seat of the car, and they each have the art of tantrum throwing mastered in their own way. Together we have some moments and days that I’m not sure we will all survive.
But then there are moments and days when it all comes together. There are times when I find myself with three well-behaved, well-mannered, wonderful kids who make me so proud.
And these moments aren’t fleeting, they happen with enough frequency to give me hope that these kids that God has entrusted to my care might in fact turn out okay.
Like the day we sat in the little diner at Target getting a bite to eat before embarking on a dangerous adventure through the grocery aisles. We sat down with our meal, my middle daughter prayed and we enjoyed polite conversation while we ate. As we were eating a woman approached me to tell me how impressed she was with how I was handling three kids and how well-behaved they were. She commented that she couldn’t even get all of hers to sit down at the same time, forget trying to pray and eat together. I smiled and said, “Thank you, they are doing a great job!” making sure each of them heard me praise their good behavior. But I was thinking, “You should have seen us yesterday!”
Not every moment can be like that, but those times hold a promise that I try to remember when it feels like I am doing everything wrong.
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6
I am met with the most resistance when I am trying to direct my kids onto the right path, when I am providing direction and discipline. When they resist I become tired and I often stumble and fall, but I think the key is getting back up and continuing to direct them. It is hard, it is exhausting, but it is worth it. None of us is perfect, but we serve a God who is. So, if we give what we can and allow Him to guide, direct, and use us in the lives of our kids we will have shining moments.
And I believe those moments will turn into days and, prayerfully, years where potential is unlocked and they are living surrendered to their Creator.