Outwardly, I would say I do okay as a mom. But to be painfully honest, I feel like I’m really messing up. Like REALLY messing up. And I don’t even know how to be better.
Oh, I have THEORIES on how to be better. Those are crystal clear when I judge all the OTHER moms. But when shit gets real in my own home, I spin my wheels again.
My daughter whines. I’m talking Champion Whiner. The whiniest kid on the block. And she’s not 2. She’s almost 6. It’s not cute.
My son has developed social anxiety, and I can’t crack the code on why it started or how to fix it.
My exhaustion over my daughter’s whining is compounded by shame. It berates me:
You should’ve nipped this in the bud YEARS ago.
You KNOW your friends must say she’s the whiniest kid they know.
You’re her MOTHER. What’s wrong with you?
My concern about my son’s fear snowballs wildly:
What have you DONE (or not) to hurt his confidence?
Did something HAPPEN?
You’re his MOTHER. Why can’t he TELL YOU what’s wrong?
As I write down my thoughts, I recognize a theme: ME. I’ve made it all about ME.
In an attempt to be a good mom, a better mom, the BEST MOM I CAN BE, I have framed THEIR lives as a barometer of what I’M doing right or wrong. ME. ME. ME.
When did I forget that my children are on THEIR own journey of growth? A journey of learning to walk with Jesus. To depend on Jesus. To recognize – for themselves – their personal need for Jesus.
If my daughter whines every day, it’s not just because I have failed as a mother. IT’S BECAUSE SHE’S A HUMAN ON THIS PLANET AND SHE SINS LIKE THE REST OF US. I’m ALSO not handling my role in it perfectly. But may I not be so consumed with self-loathing that I forget SHE NEEDS JESUS, TOO.
If my son wrestles with anxiety, it’s not just because I haven’t loved him well enough. IT’S BECAUSE HE’S A HUMAN ON THIS PLANET AND HE NEEDS JESUS LIKE THE REST OF US. And, yes I’m still over here, being not perfect. But again, may I not be so consumed with MY anxiety about HIS anxiety that I forget to LET HIM EXPERIENCE HIS NEED FOR JESUS.
My children were not created to simply be agents in MY personal growth. God certainly does use them to refine me. (Understatement of the century.) But to consistently frame THEIR struggles as being all about ME and MY failures (or their victories as being all about ME and MY awesomeness — ouch) is to crowd out the greater reality: they are each on a journey with and toward Jesus. This is their journey of learning to trust Him and to trust His power to help them overcome their struggles.
Whether I’ve cast myself as the hero or the villain, I AM NOT THE STAR PLAYER IN MY KIDS’ STRUGGLES.
Yes, I’ve been given a crucial supporting role.
But the story of my child’s life is NOT. ABOUT. ME.
We MUST STOP making our children’s struggles (and strengths!) all about us. Instead, let’s use that time, effort, and brain space to fix our attention back on Jesus. On what He’s doing in us. On what He’s doing in them. That’s what our kids need anyway, right? More of Jesus. More of seeing their mom need Jesus. And more of seeing Jesus come through for us both.
Have you found this to be true in your parenting? What difference would it make for you to believe your child’s struggle – or strength – isn’t all about you?