Have you ever wondered if you were really cut out to be a mom? Maybe during those times of great frustration, exhaustion, exasperation or disappointment?
I always dreamed of being a mommy; having babies, changing diapers, rocking them to sleep, playing peek a boo and watching Disney movies together, and I loved every minute of those days when my children were younger.
I felt perfectly equipped to handle three year old tantrums, planning birthday parties, soothing hurt feelings, having mommy/daughter talks about anything and everything, and snuggling together at night before they fell asleep.
I loved the days of elementary school, doing school projects together, and focusing our time on lazy Saturdays and church activities. Times when every night of the week was spent at home as a family, before sports and social lives became a reality in my daughters lives.
But now that my girls are the ages of fourteen and sixteen – my name has changed from mommy, to MOM – one three letter word that depicts a brand new spin on this whole parenting saga. A word that is a sign of the times, proving that I am getting older, and my children are growing up. We still do some of those little girl things, but they are not quite as often.
Recently, as we sifted through different life situations, I caught myself sighing, and wondering if I was really cut out for this job. In fact, I have to wonder if anyone is cut out for this job as a MOM, because parenting is hard.
You see, it seems I had the mindset for the past sixteen years that if I did all the things that James Dobson from Focus on the Family told me to do, that my life would be stress-free when my children hit the teenage years.
In fact, many years ago when my children were little, I remember getting so annoyed at the number of MOMS who would tell me “just wait until the teenage years!”. I recall thinking “well, just because you are having a hard time with your kids, certainly does not mean that I will. Hmmpph.”
After all, they were just so adorable running around in their perfectly coordinated pink outfits, bright blue eyes, and bouncy blond pony tails with big fancy ribbons. How could something so beautiful ever bring me anything but joy?
Hee Hee. I have to chuckle now, as I look back about how naive I was, but I doubt there is a mom on the planet who has not shared those same feelings about her adorable offspring.
The truth is, that I think my daughters are wonderful girls. When I look at them, my heart just swells, and I can see their beauty, inside and out.
As I look at them and see the precious, amazing, young women they are becoming, I truly have to give God all the credit.
I will spare you the ist of why I am so proud of them. Smiles. However, I have to admit, that they are not perfect. They are not without flaws. They are make mistakes. They do things that upset me. They do things that disappoint me.
I have come to realize that no amount of perfect parenting is going to result in perfect children. I am not equipped to raise boys or girls on my own, but I am equipped through Christ to try to do so. God does not expect us to be perfect parents, any more than He expects us to be perfect people. Both are unattainable.
Trusting in Christ, and teaching my children to love Him, is not going to result in a life absent of parental struggles and disappointments, but will insure a life full of faith that will walk us through these challenging years.
A life that will hopefully prove true the verse in Proverbs 22:6 which says “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
God simply calls us to do all we can do through the power that He has poured into us, and to invest in our children’s hearts so that they will have a Christian foundation for the rest of their life.
So for all you MOMS (and grandmoms!) out there like me, who are secretly wondering if God really knew what He was doing when He placed children in your care for a lifetime, I want to offer you a word of encouragement today! We are all on this roller coaster together!
Here are just a few tips to tuck into our hearts as we join together in building the next generation for Christ:
* Pray. Pray. Pray some more. Pray for their souls, their spirits, their futures. Pray for their protection, their decisions, their actions. Pray for their friends, their enemies, their future spouses. Pray for their hearts. Pray continuously for every aspect of their lives.
* Never give up. The reward is worth finishing the race. Nobody wins if a parent quits when the going gets tough, no matter how tough it may seem. Be relentless in your quest to help steer them in the right directions, even if they do not appreciate it or acknowledge it.
* Continue building a close relationship with your children, keeping in touch with their lives, participating in their activities and sports, knowing who their friends are, and arranging for one-on-one time with them individually as much as possible.
* Keep the lines of communication open. Focus on listening, instead of leading. Create an expectation in their minds that they can talk about what is going on in their lives. Make a commitment to respond in tenderness regardless of the subject, because a history of harsh, loud, abrasive responses will prevent communication and honesty all together.
* Accept the fact that we cannot control our teens choices. We can guide them in their behaviors and be good examples and role models, however, they have to, and will, make their own choices in the end.
* Do not blame yourself when your children make mistakes, for we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. When our children make mistakes they look to us for forgiveness and mercy, just as God gives to us – daily renewed mercies.
* Choose your battles, or else everything might become a battle.
* Remember that children learn what the live.
In this parenting journey, I need to rely more on God, and less on myself, if I really want to be a good mom, because He is the One that equips me.
My goal used to be to be the best mommy possible, but now my goal is to be more than that – I really want to be a good MOM.