I have had a great 24 hours of reconnecting with college friends and their children. Last night it was dinner in Atlanta with friends from the Charlotte area. Today it was lunch with friends in Birmingham. I loved being with my friends and seeing their sweet children, but I am annoyed at myself because of how stressed out I get over what kind of parent I look like in their eyes.
Please don't crucify me in the comments. I am just being really honest and vulnerable here.
It is not that I want my friends to get an impression of me that is different from the truth...Anyone who has read this for long knows I am quick to point out my own flaws and shortcomings. I am the same way (if not moreso) in real life. I think it has more to do with having the chance to step back and see my life (parenting, especially) through the eyes of someone who is not around all the time. I just wish I were more patient, loving, kind, wise, gentle...
There is a constant subtext going on in my mind. Do I sound too harsh? Do I baby him? Am I too strict? Should I have addressed that behavior? Do I not intervene enough? Do I intervene too much? Does it appear I am playing favorites?
Is this just the Mom Guilt and second-guessing that is common to us all? I think honest assessment with the desire to improve can be a good thing, but sometimes it exhausts me. I strive to give great grace to others--why can't I give it to myself?
I am praying about this tonight.
i want to be a mom and wife like you, so much! for lots and lots of different reasons...you are doing an incredible job and i think it speaks a lot to how amazing you are that you are so concerned about improving! thank you for being an incredible and real example for me! i miss our chats :)
From reading your blog, I would say you need to quit 2nd guessing yourself and criticizing yourself. It sounds like you do the best you can and have great insight into yourself as a parent and otherwise. All parents make mistakes. No parent is perfect, but you are striving towards perfection and MOST especially you look to God's word for how to handle things.
As an early interventionist, I spend a lot of time in people's homes who have small children, and often parents make comments like that -- "You must think... (insert negative parenting comment here)" In actuality, I rarely think any such thing. The only times I do have negative thoughts about someone's parenting is when there is something severely wrong (kids who usually end up as CPS cases...) You mention those other people have children. I would wager to guess that they were spending far more time worrying about how you were perceiving their parenting skills than judging yours. Measure your parenting by what God would think of it, and how it is going to affect your kids, and don't worry about what other people think. (I know, easier said than done. But remember they're probably just as worried as you are.)
you have such a beautiful family! i found your blog through a friend!
don't be so hard on yourself! do pray about the situation and God will lead you in the path/direction that you need to go! being a mom is sooooo hard! we have to be a sweet mommy, strict mommy, humbling mommy, caring mommy, loving mommy, consistent mommy, God fearing mommy and many more! mommy's have so many jobs but sometimes we do forget to hand it over to the Lord and let him take care of it and work through us!
it will all work out!
I ask myself the same questions. There are probably times that we are maybe harder than we should be. There are times that we probably should be more strict about something than we are. Sometimes we intervene too much, sometimes not enough. I guess this mom thing is just a learning experience. Your children are upright, breathing and well behaved. Don't sweat it! You are doing a great job!
You are just precious! You know what I really like about you is that you are not "asleep" in your life, just going through the motions. You really examine your life, striving to be more like Jesus.
I do understand the struggles that you are talking about. I guess every mother's middle name is GUILT!
Thank you for your willingness to share so openly.
Thirteen years ago, my best friend from college was visiting and I scolded my son pretty harshly about something (he was four). I STILL think of that day and wonder if she thought I was the worst parent on the earth, because all weekend I didn't hear her scold her daughter once.
We judge and compare ourselves as parents because there are so many of us trying to do this job and therefore so many different ways to do things. Also, it is our most important job and we want people to think we're doing it well.
I need to ease up on myself too and I'm quite a bit further into it than you are. You are right; it's okay to be merciful to ourselves.
Jen, Thanks for being so open & honest. Yep, I think we all go through those times. It is tough to be a parent & we do need to remember to rely on Christ more. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, we forget that. But it is nice after the fact to hear how well behaved your children are. I just got that from my childless(by choice) cousin, who's ten years older than me. That's when you can say, oh, I guess I am doing something right. :)
Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. The constant chorus of the second guessing and Mom guilt IS exhausting and it happens to all of us. May God grant you (and me) peace in your role as parent.
A Blessed New Year to you and yours...
I have been reading your blog for some time time but have never commented before. You are such an inspiration to me b/c you seek the heart of God in ALL you do. Thanks for being so real and sharing many things that so many of us are "scared" to even talk about for fear of being viewed as imperfect.
God designed your children and He chose you and your husband to parent them above anyone else in the entire world. He wants what is best for them so He gave them you. He trusts you w/ them so trust yourself. My mom says "Give God your best (diligently seek him, ask for His wisdom) and He will do the rest." You are already doing this.
Have a great time @ the game!!! And Happy New Years.
P.S. Too bad we don't live closer-I have been praying for God to send me a mentor like you!!
Your honesty is very refreshing! There is a tough balancing act between being nit-picking and passive. It is impossible to be the perfect parent. Only God does that with us. However God's empowering grace changes us into His likeness and as such we can parent (through His power) like He does.
Don't be so hard on yourself, the most important thing is to keep your focus on "Am I shaping their characters into what God wants them to be" and not on "How does my parenting appear to others". The way God wants us to parent can often times appear ridiculous to others. Sadly even to God fearing friends. Keep looking up, keep asking Him the questions, keep expecting miracles, and TRUST that He is making you the best parent that you can be - through your surrendering to His powerful grace.
Remember too, every parent makes mistakes (and often that's a good thing). Its an opportunity to show your children how to apologize and to accept the responsibility for your actions. My mom's parents never seemed to make mistakes, fight or have any problems. So she didn't know how to deal with her short comings properly because she never witnessed how they did. Its easy to idolize our parents, but it is more helpful to understand that they are human and see how God is growing them too!
You are no different than any other mother who loves her children and tries desperately not to make a misstep. Stop beating yourself up.
The older the children get the less you will think about your performance as a mother, and the more you'll worry about theirs :o).
I wrote awhile ago but I know you must have missed my request somehow. I covet your prayers for my 39 year old son who needs to feel God's love and acceptance in the worst way!
Your articles bless me everyday.
Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability - you are an AWESOME mom who obviously loves Jesus, her husband and her children. No one is perfect and we need to strive to seek Jesus more and more each day and he will show us the right way - You're doing great. You bless and inspire me everyday as I try to raise my 3 children in the admonition of the Lord.
I believe it's just a normal thing that every GOOD parent does. I know I do this on a daily basis. I have 2 boys and it is my desire to raise them to be strong bold christian men. I think you're doing a great job and you are an inspiration to me and many others!
I do the same thing.
I think it does help us see things anew thru the eyes of others. It helps us become better parents. I don't let it consume me. But I do step back after the fact and try to access what, if anything I could have done better or different. Or pat yourself on the back and think how much you and your children have grown in different areas. I think it's a good thing to a certain point.
Dear Scott Mom,
I love your honesty! Like me you have a good old fashioned chronic case of the Re-Thinks. I tell myself that the rethink means you care, that you want to improve, and that you want to do it right. Is that so bad?? Nooo!
Health and Happiness to all of the Scotts in 2008.
Thank you for being so vulnerable and real. I think we all feel that at different times, and it's good that we can talk about it!
Mother guilt just stinks. I use to second guess myself and compare myself with others, but as the kids get older I am getting glimpses of the parenting I did when they were tiny and I'm pretty happy. They love the Lord, they have strong values and they for the most part act wonderful everywhere but home.
I tell myself all the time " Don't go there". Meaning it's not worth the effort or energy to second guess or worry.
YOu are doing a fabulous job. Know it and be proud.
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