I've been a mom for almost 4 years. Definitely not a long time when you look at the big picture, but long enough to know for certain that I am not a perfect parent. Actually I think I figured that out in the first day or so of Kylie's life...
I don't think I ever really expected to be perfect, per say, but there were certain things that I swore I would NEVER do. I would never yell. I would never spank out of anger. I would never...and the list goes on. Well, recently, my "never" list has become more the norm than the exception. I don't know if it's lack of sleep, or lack of understanding, or just having three incredibly different and active kids - but lately I feel like I have been doing more harm than good. So, like any good parent, I've aquired some parenting "guides." As I've been reading about creative correction and daring to discipline, there has been one common thought - "Man, I really screwed that one up."
Now, I am not having a pity party, or looking for sympathy. Just trying to give the background to what I have discovered. I've been praying, and really struggling with the concept of grace towards parents. I imagine that if another young mom came to me feeling the same way, I would be able to speak of God's grace and His love and covering, all the while feeling the same helplessness and she.
Looking back on my childhood I know that my parents made plenty of mistakes, but I know that my sister and brother and I all turned out pretty good. I recently asked my mom about this, about how she felt being a stay-at-home mom of 3, and she replied "I really don't know how you all turned out the way you do. It was definitley nothing I did, but all by the GRACE of God."
Insert hope here!
It's hard to wrap my mind around the concept that I am allowed, even expected to make mistakes as a mom. I mean, it's not like I burned the spaghetti, or wrecked a car, or even screwed up the finances. I am directly impacting the life of a human being. It seems like that is one area that mistakes should not be allowed.
Today on the way home as my 9 month old was screaming, and my 2 year old was having a cow because my three year old, who was asking why my 9 month was screaming, was touching his seat, I think I had an epiphany. Mistake are not only allowed but required. If I did everything perfectly, if my kids were always angelic and my house was always spotless, then I would NEVER cry out to God. It would be easy to take credit for their good behavior (yes, that do behave sometimes). I also know that I would not have any deeper an understanding of grace.
As it is now, when someone compliments their behavior, my first thought is "are you sure you're talking about MY kids?" Then I realize, God's hand is definitley in this whole parenting journey. Maybe there is hope for my "never" list to be overcome, I think there is hope that they will all live to see their teen years (beyond that I guarantee at this moment)!
Thank God that He does indeed "gently lead those with little lambs."