Lately I’ve been wondering, If I am the mom I want to be what will be the fruit in my children?
I want to be the mom that is on top of it all, no matter what comes her way. I want to celebrate every occasion memorably. I want to have my children reciting new Bible verses in the car each week.
My list goes on and on. I’m sure your’s does too… and just when you think you’re starting to get on top of your list, another mom’s conquest pops up on social media and you wonder if you need to add that to your repertoire of goals. Whenever my mom friends and I get together, we joke about the pressure we feel from social media. We can laugh about it, but I know we truly feel the pressure. I will focus on that a little, but I want to bring another challenge to light.
What I want to focus on today is how we shape our children’s expectations for their upbringing. What is the fruit of a nation raised on Pinterest perfection? What if we redefine our role to mean we throw killer birthday parties, decorate perfect homes, take extravagant vacations, and make restaurant-quality food for every meal? What does this generation of children look like when they reach adulthood? What are they like as marriage partners? What kind of employees are they? Perhaps they will have learned to imitate excellence. Or maybe they will have learned to expect excellence. I think we need to be moms that give their kids what they need… what they really need. Not always what they want.
Here are some examples to explain what I mean:
Our church has the children stay with us during worship. In theory I love this plan. In practice it is often tricky. My husband and I find it more challenging to get ourselves before the throne of God when we worship than we did when it was just the two of us. Last week I gave myself a little pat on my own back as I pulled out coloring books and crayons and handed them to my boys. They were thrilled… for a few minutes. And then there was some shuffling, dropping of crayons, and a little arguing over who had which coloring book. I realized that--although I had been the perfectly prepared mom I wish to be--I wasn’t producing any character in my sons. The weeks that I don’t have anything for my kids to do are fine (and it doesn’t mean I’ve dropped the ball as a mom). They are forced to learn patience, self-control, and to focus on the words of the worship songs. I don’t think it’s wrong to have activities for your kids. I do think it’s wrong for your children to expect to always be entertained by you. Being bored is good for kids sometimes!
Have you had those moments in which you didn’t have a snack for your kids when they are hungry at the park? You feel like this is a “need” right? However, if your kids had something to eat before they left the house, you can let them have a little play time without food! Be wise and know your kids, but also remember that they don’t need to be snacking every moment of every day.
Sometimes I cut my children’s lunches into fun shapes and characters. White, oval slices of provolone cheese just beg to become Baymax from Big Hero 6. Sometimes a grilled cheese gets an “i” on it and gets dipped in “Incredibles” tomato soup. Snack foods become butterflies and hot dogs transform into octopi. They love it! However, I simply refuse to do this every day. I want these little mom touches to be special, not expected.
I love to throw parties. I plan for weeks and pour myself into the details. Because I barely spend any money, it takes me a long time to prep! My husband saw the entertainer in me before we even had our first child. We decided we would throw our children a party every 5 years. This lets me celebrate them how I like to, and it keeps the parties really special for them. On the off years, I still make them their favorite dinner and a great cake, but I leave the glitz and glamour for those special years.
Sometimes life is cupcakes in the city…
And sometimes it’s volunteering to pack food for starving children.
I want my kids to understand that balance.
I have young children. These answers seem easy. I’m sure it is much more challenging to find this balance with teenagers! I believe it is worth pondering though.
I am choosing to fight the voices that want to redefine my role--and their childhood. My job is not to make my children happy. (Although anyone who knows me knows that I am thrilled to provide joyful memories for them.) What I am saying is that my calling is not to put smiles on their faces. It is to point them to a perfect Savior. I’m not looking to be mom of the year. I’m striving to have all my children at the heavenly finish line with me.
I love the subtitles to the Entrusted with a Child’s Heart chapters. I’m adding them here so you can reflect on the roles God has called you to, and forget the ones society has added!
A godly mother…
- Is teachable
- Embraces Jesus as her Savior
- Lives by biblical convictions
- Establishes family convictions
- Lives by biblical priorities
- Is orderly
- Understands the significance of her role
- Establishes authority in her child’s life
- Trains her children to see God as their lifelong authority
- Manages her children well
- Does not exasperate her children
- Is committed to discipline
- Is aware and ready to respond appropriately
- Goes to battle for the heart of her child
- Chooses her words wisely
- Chooses her child’s environment wisely
- Trains her children in godly character
- Disciplines her children
- Teaches her children to be loving and forgiving in relationships and wise in choosing friends
- Teaches her children to be accountable in relationships.
Perhaps that doesn’t make you feel any better! It is quite the list… but it is God’s list. I’d rather pursue that one than any other list created. And what I really love is that this is the list God Himself is empowering me to accomplish.
Be blessed this week sweet sister as you focus on the role you play in the eternity or your children!