So overflowing is His kindness toward us that He took away all our sins through the blood of His Son, by whom we are saved; and He has showered down upon us the richness of His grace—for how well He understands us and knows what is best for us at all times (Ephesians 1:7-8, TLB).
Friend to Friend
“But I want the Oreos!” Oh, one of my biggest regrets ever was introducing my daughter to that sandwich cookie. She was now obsessed—and letting the world know about it.
But that wasn’t the worst thing that happened that day. Nope. It was my reaction. There may have been yelling, screaming and a few threats thrown in for good measure. I wasn’t ashamed of my daughter’s reaction. She was being three. But my reaction? Let’s just say I’m more than three and should know better. And I do. But sometimes momming is hard. And momming will be the most guilt-producing job any of us do at any point in our lives.
So how do we parent past the guilt?
- Understand, different kids require different parenting (and each family is different). Feeling guilty because you’re not treating your kids the same? Are you overwhelmed with trying to keep up with the activities of your friends with their kids?
I believe that each family is given a tool box. This tool box comes with different tools: a parent with tons of extra energy, a kid who is self-sufficient, some extra money, a loving grandparent who lives close by and wants to help out, etc. We each do the best job we can with the tools we have to build what our kids need.
My friend who is a single mom can’t be expected to do all the things her friend with an involved husband and four grandparents can do. She does the best she can with the tools she has, and she relies on God for her whole parenting experience.
- The world’s standards are not our standards. When I was in high school, I went to one of the top ten public schools in the country. (My alma mater is about a mile from Apple Headquarters in Cupertino California, if that gives you any indication of the caliber of people who lived in my neighborhood.) People would stop by my parents’ house and ask if they could rent a room—not to live in, but to use as a mailing address so they could register kids at Lynbrook High School. When it came time to enroll my kids in school, my friends encouraged me to use my parents’ address to get my kids into a better school.
I understand the desire for economic excellence, but at what cost? As much as I want my family to succeed, it’s more important that our kids have integrity (not lying on a school application about our address) than it is to get them into the “right” school.
When I start to feel guilty about my kids not having the advantages of other kids, I remember that the world’s standards are not my standards. Excellence is great, but raising a child with empathy is a gift to the whole world. Good grades are wonderful, but a grateful heart will serve my child and those they love for the rest of their lives.
- When we do mess up, we are covered. There are very few guarantees in life, but as a parent, we have one; we will mess up when it comes to parenting. We will lose our temper, yell at our kids, be too harsh, be too lenient, and make tons of mistakes in the process.
When we realize we’ve made a mistake, we need to do two things: ask for forgiveness (from God and our child) and accept that forgiveness. Raising a child who can quickly forgive when you seek restoration does two things: It reminds them that forgiveness is available, and it restores the relationship.
And when you are in the middle of the grocery store with an Oreo fiend on your hands, repeat this little part of Scripture, which has become my momming mantra, “His grace is sufficient for me” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV).
Heavenly Father, I want to be a mom that is marked by peace. Help me to feel protected in Your so that peace is the first thing that the world – and my kids – see within me.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
How do you get back to a place of peace when you are struggling with your kids? Are there certain tools, phrases, tricks or verses that help you see your situation in a new way?
More from the Girlfriends
Looking for ways to connect with your kids? Get the first two chapters of Kathi’s new book The Mom Project for some practical – and fun – inspiration.
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