As a parent, I often wonder if I’m doing it right. Parenting, that is. Am I teaching him the right things? Is he getting enough nutrients since he only eats guacamole and chicken nuggets? Are his tantrums at school as bad as the ones at home? Is that Play-Doh going to come out of his hair? They’re like 90% worse behaved for their mom, right? Do other kids do that? Will he grow up to love the Lord?
Eight times out of ten, I think I’m doing it wrong. Society says if I do one thing, it’s wrong, then they shame you for doing something on the opposite end of the spectrum. If you’re not a parent yet, just wait. I’ve seen things on social media that makes my skin crawl: Moms coming to other moms for support and advice, only to be condemned for “doing something wrong.” Those moms probably want to crawl in a hole and die over some of the things people say when they can hide behind the other end of the screen. Ever hand your kid a cell phone? Don’t let anyone see you do THAT in public. Those people judging as you walk up and down the aisles at the grocery store don’t know that your kid has had zero screen time today and you set and stick to a timer and you’re desperate to finish this shopping trip in peace so you can get home to your sick husband and take care of him, nurse your migraine, all while simultaneously not letting your toddler eat food from the dog bowl.
The world isn’t always that judgemental. Occasionally you get that sweet old lady behind you in line at the checkout that understands. She makes small talk with you and then tries and fails at helping you entertain the kiddo long enough for you to swipe your card and put in your pin. Usually…well, usually at Walmart, but not Aldi and only sometimes at Publix…there’s another kid screaming somewhere else across the store and you breathe that sigh of relief because you’re not alone. You want to fist bump the mom when you see her in the parking lot and both your kids have given up on the tantrums for now. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” So you be weak, Mama. You throw that hair in a mom bun on top of your head, wipe that sweat that comes from wrestling that toddler away from the candy, and walk with your head held high when you’re feeling your worst. You keep moving forward and you tell the devil to get out of your way, because your God is bigger than him and He’s going to win! Choose not to let those rough moments ruin your day. Accept that grace. Jesus did not die on the cross for you, only to have you cower with fear over what other people think. You don’t have to abandon that buggy and run to the door as fast as you can.
Joshua 24:15 contains “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” It’s easier said than done. It looks good on paper. But life gets messy, it gets in the way, and before too long you realize you’ve forgotten to pray with your child over his lunch every single off day you’ve had with him over the last month. It’s easier to stay home from church on Sunday mornings because your kid acts like a twit in the nursery than to risk getting called out. DON’T. The devil wants you to stay home. Keep on truckin’ because you ARE doing it right. Yes, you’ll make mistakes. Yes, you’ll do things you wish you hadn’t done. Yes, you’ll skip doing things you’ll wish you had done later. Don’t give up.
Because one day you’ll turn around from hiding the trash can behind your fence and your son will be standing there beaming, holding out the flower he just picked for you. His momma. His best girl. RELISH IN IT! One day he’ll say thank you without being prompted. PRAISE THE HECK OUT OF HIM (and pat yourself on the back). One day you’ll hear his first spontaneous “Amen” after a prayer and you’ll beam with pride. One day you may even look over at him in his tiny two year old body with his hands up in the air between you and your husband in worship. You’ll cry that day. Those happy tears will ruin your makeup and that picture you wanted to be perfect will not be. But the moment will be, even when he doesn’t know why he’s imitating you guys. One day you’ll finally see him bow his head and close his eyes when you’re praying, and do an inner happy-dance while you try to take a picture and not disrupt the prayer. THANK GOD FOR THESE MOMENTS. And when your kids make mistakes and need grace, show them the grace that our God gives you every day.
I know more of these moments are to come, the good and the bad. My son is only two and a half, after all. So listen to Proverbs 22:6 and “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Choose to trust God. Choose to not let the devil win. Choose joy. Keep your babies in your hearts and prayers and know that you are enough, Momma! You’ll get it right. You’ll get it wrong. Your kids will get it right and wrong too! And that’s alright. That’s normal. Surround yourself with wonderful people who build you up and make you feel worthy, hold on tight, and enjoy the ride. Because you are worthy!