So, maybe some of you remember this post making the rounds a few months ago? It was on my facebook feed, and I remember glancing at it briefly. In it, the author (a father), talks about how hard parenting is. He mentions how sometimes it’s not helpful when people in the grocery store tell you that you need to treasure these toddler years, because they don’t last forever. (In fact, what he says about these people is, “I secretly want to hold those people under water. Just for a minute or so. Just until they panic a little.”) Then, he goes on to give a list of “You’re not a bad parent if….” statements.
While there are many, many things wrong with this article, what I found the most horrifying was that it was a dad saying these things about his kids. He should be his kids’ protector and defender, disciplinarian and biggest encourager. Instead, he’s listing their faults on the internet for the entire world to read and proclaiming that it’s not his fault.
Fortunately for me, there was another blogger who was willing to take on the problems with this article, and Bethany sent it along to Emily and me. This was her excellent response. I won’t even summarize any of her points, because it is really just worth reading the entire post.
I get what that dad is trying to do. He is trying to be brutally honest about his struggles with his children, in the hopes that some other parent will realize that they are not alone. But the way he did it was the justify his own sin, and ask his readers to join in the pity party.
Here I am, wanting to do the same thing, but hopefully with a different ending. I completely relate to what he’s saying. I get comments of all kinds in the grocery store, and unfortunately, even while I’m polite on the outside, I’m thinking the same murderous thoughts he is on the inside. But that’s not ok. It’s sin. I need to repent of those sins daily. “You are not a terrible parent if the sound of their voices sometimes makes you want to drink and never stop.” Yes, I am. But because of God’s grace, I can repent of not wanting to hear their little voices, and ask that God would change me tomorrow, and give me a new heart of love toward my kids.
On the other side, though, I know that I am not like that woman with the response, either. I should be. She sounds like an awesome mom. But I have many days that go by and I fail to notice the blessings that my children are to me. I have many days that begin with frustration and end with frustration, with not much different in between. I have days when I yell at my children, and in my hardness of heart, refuse to go beg them to forgive me. My daughter wrote me a note the other day that said, “You’re the best mom ever.” She had even asked her older sister to help her with the spelling. I hugged her and thanked her, and after she trotted away, I cried. I don’t know how she can think that when I sin against her daily, but she does, by God’s grace.
My goal is to enjoy my kids. To see them as blessings from a generous and loving Heavenly Father. But on the days when I resemble the dad writing that first article, I pray that God would give me the humility to repent, over and over and over again. By His grace, and the Holy Spirit working in me, I can look toward the future with hope, and know that I am His workmanship, created for good works, even with my kids. I’m in process.