Confessions of an Imperfect Christian Mom
My previous post, Confessions of an Imperfect Christian Wife, was my most widely read post ever. Like, by a gazillion. Apparently, when I let people in to reality of my life, it's interesting. Considering that the entire POINT of this blog is to encourage women to be real, I should have seen it coming.
So since getting real is what it's all about, I'm exposing a little more of my imperfection for the world to see. But this time, I'm tackling a really tricky topic: motherhood.
As I only have 2 children (at the time of this blog, they are 10 and 8, girl and boy), you may not feel I am qualified to write about parenting at all. I have a friend who has 8 kids and she home schools them all, whilst publishing books, running children's camps, and playing 5 musical instruments. I bend a knee to such amazingness. My husband and I already felt outnumbered when we had our first child, and it's like 'Us vs. An Army' now that we have 2. If you are a parent of 3 or more children, I salute you, I kiss your feet, I sing your praises at the city gates.
Before we had kids, I was pretty sure I had this child-raising thing figured out. Now that we've been parents for 10 years, I have come to the following understanding.
I don't know jack.
I have never encountered a more humbling, awe-inspiring, humiliating, exhausting, overwhelming, or frightening task than raising my children.
I'm not supposed to say things like that since I'm a Christian. I should be saying how my children are a blessing from the Lord (true), and how motherhood is the most important of all the godly callings (debatable).
In the light of full disclosure, I'd like to make a confessional list of some of my parental failings.
- I would happily put duct tape over my children's mouths if it meant I didn't have to have conversations with them while I was peeing. But that effort would be in vain, since my children wouldn't be deterred by duct tape. They are bathroom interrupting, gold-level MASTERS.
- At 6:30 in the evening, if I am looking at the clock, it is because I am counting the minutes until bedtime. Sometimes, I push bedtime back to 7:30 just so I can catch a few extra minutes of peace. And they know. They KNOW.
- I regularly forget to check their homework folders, send in their lunch money, sign their permission slips, or wash their gym clothes. This causes me to duck my head in embarrassment and hide in grocery stores when I run into one of their teachers while I am out and about. If you ever see me crouching behind a potato chip display, tell me when the coast is clear.
- When my kids are all tucked in to bed and they call out a final request for cuddles, kisses, or extra prayers, I am not moved. Go. To. Bed. Already.
- I throw away most of my kid's cards, letters, and artwork when they're not looking. I mean, how many clay coffee cups does one woman need?
- When I was a stay at home mom, my kids watched so much television I knew every word to every Dora episode, and my son's first word was BACKPACK. (True story.)
- Quality bonding time with my son sometimes consists of us playing Bejeweled Blitz together on an iPad.
- I am fairly confident that everything good about my children they inherited from their father and all their flaws they got from me.
- Sorting through seasonal clothes and hand-me-downs for my children is the most irritating activity in the world.
- Planning and executing a child's birthday party should be an Olympic Level sport. I would never qualify for the team, but at least I would feel the due rewards of an athlete for trying.
- I have been known to call the neighbors for assistance with my children without warning. Since I have the best neighbors EVER (my pastor's wife and my dearest friend), they come running and intervene without judgement in whatever hot mess my children have become at that moment. For this, there isn't enough money in the world to repay them.
(There are so many more things I could list, but my husband seemed worried that people would start booing us or throw things at us in public, so I left them off.)
Having revealed much of what I do wrong, I want to reveal the one thing I have realized about being a mother. God is more concerned with my children than I can ever be, and He is ACTIVELY PARENTING them.
He proves this to me time and time again.,
Like when my daughter came to me and asked if it was permissible for her to NOT READ OR WATCH certain types of books or movies (that we had already OK'd) because God had told her they weren't good for her.
Like when my son told me that God showed him a picture in his head of him rescuing people in the jungle, and would we pray with him about what that might mean?
Like when my daughter's bedtime behavior was so terrible, so incredible awful, that every night reduced me to a torrent of tears crying out to God for a solution, and HE ANSWERED ME and gave me the key to unlock my daughter's heart.
Like when God whispers something to me to ask my son, and suddenly he is weeping and repenting and praying for forgiveness for an action we didn't even know he had done.
God speaks to my children and He speaks to yours. It is His great desire that children get to know Him from an early age, and that we give our children the freedom and encouragement to know God for themselves. Jesus was known to correct and rebuke adults who thought that children weren't worthy of His time.
This is why, despite my incredible imperfections as a mom, I can sleep at night. (Well, when my kids don't wake me up, I can.) Because God is bigger than my failures, He is greater than my shortcomings, and He is actively working to perfect me and my children because HE LOVES MY KIDS.
Because love covers over a multitude of sins; not just my sins against God, but also my sins against my children. My selfishness, my impatience, my anger, my frustration are all covered over by the Love that lives and breathes in our home.
And because the strongest tool in my parenting toolbox is REPENTANCE. I repent to my children when I've gotten it wrong: I pray with them and ask for their forgiveness, and I ask for God's forgiveness in front of them. There is nothing more powerful for restoration and harmony than this.
With Love and repentance, God is changing me into the mom I should be, and He is changing my children too. We are laughing and enjoying each other despite our imperfections.
And that is what is real.
As always, please leave me a comment if you can relate to my experiences, or if you have something to add about your own motherhood story. I'd love to hear from you!