I rarely see mothers who genuinely believe they are doing a great job at motherhood. Especially working mothers.
I cannot tell you how many nights I have lied down in pure exhaustion, while still feeling as if I had failed at least one of my children.
Once, my husband and I sent off our older two children to school without their swimwear and towels, though it was swim day at their summer school. We realized too late, and, at the end of the day, we had to console two very disappointed children. My first child tried to brush it off, saying that it was okay. Her eyes welled up with tears as she bravely tried to ignore the facts that one, she had to spend her whole morning alone on the sidelines, and two, that her parents let her down. My second child wasn’t as gracious. When I asked him if it was okay that he did not get to swim, he simply answered “no” and walked away—he is a very honest three-year-old.
Needless to say, my husband and I were so upset with ourselves. We have a very tight system every morning, however, that particular morning things went a bit awry. I woke up a little later, because my fourth child kept me awake through the night. The other three woke up extra early, so my husband had more on his load. On top of that, we had major things going on that day at church. You can have all the google calendars and reminder lists in the world, but things can and will still fall through the cracks. The looks on their faces were enough to rob me and my husband of all sense of grace. We just felt so guilty.
That guilt led to few huge presents, many apologies, and a more liberal amount of TV time. We didn’t realize it, but our need to compensate for our failures began to feel like a big black hole. It also never made us perfect parents either. There were other failures later that week as well.
Later, I felt the Lord admonish me from parenting from a place of guilt. When guilt is the fuel to much of your parenting choices, you will not bear the fruit that you expect to bear.
In my time as a youth group pastor, I once spoke with a mother who said, “I’m done making it up to my son. I know I made mistakes, but I’m tired of making up for it. I never disciplined him when I should. I’ve created a monster.” Acknowledging one’s mistakes as a parent is not the same as relinquishing one’s place as an authority figure for a child.
Parenting from a place of guilt produces bad fruit in our children. For their protection, it is important that every parent acknowledges his and her mistakes…..and then move on. Be brave enough to remain firm in the rules and statutes you have set up in your home. When your child ever questions your right to rule over the home, he or she can take it up with God. It is to their protection and their blessing that you remain standing as their leader, teacher, comforter, and protector.