This is one of my favorite family pictures. I love everything about it. But, real life isn’t like this. Although, I often expect reality to follow the same guidelines of this snapshot.
What do I really expect anyway?
Well, honestly yes. From myself and from my children.
Perfection. What a horrible, unattainable goal. The product will only be failure. No one is perfect. No one can be perfect. Duh.
The expectations I place on myself as I parent and on my children as they learn and grow can spring out of a desire for my validation. I can easily look to how they behave and use it as a report card
to how I am doing as a parent. Granted, there is room for evaluation with my children’s behavior but not to the point of defining my identify from it.
As we are learning how to offload the mom guilt this week, our second safeguard is to:
Healthy expectations for our children don’t rest in one small blog post. Books have been written about it. Books written by much more learned people than I. My bookshelf is full of them.
The “how to” for this day is rooted in 4 self-evaluation questions.
Questions to pose when you feel the mom guilt start to settle hot and heavy around your neck.
Questions that will hopefully funnel your crazy mom-brain to the TRUTH!
Questions that whittle down to healthy expectations and an offloading of the shame.
1. Is this about perfection OR character-building? I readjust my priority FROM not making mistakes TO allowing God to develop their hearts as they mature and grow, learning as they go.
2. Is this about MY validation or THEIR behavior? I embrace that I am not the sum of my children’s behavior. If I look to others’ affirmation or praise to what a great mom I am or how well-behaved my children are, I am going to an empty, shifting well for my significance. The focus is on THEM and their behavior, not ME and my significance.
3. Is this about my lack of discipline? Does this truly reveal areas in which I’m being a bit (just a tab bit) lazy and need to hunker down to discipline and deliver consequences consistently? Sometimes, deep down in my gut, when I know I should have done something but didn’t because I was too tired, I feel guilty and ashamed. Remember, the effort is well worth the reward.
4. Am I truly guilty? So obvious, this one is (in weird Yoda phrasing). Sometimes, I feel mom guilt because…I AM GUILTY!
The life saving beauty is forgiveness. I confess to God and then to my boy. Forgiveness is sweet and immediate. No need to carry around my yelling spell as self-induced punishment. God has forgiven me. He has washed me clean. I must forgive myself.
By asking these 4 questions, we may identify the source of our guilt or shame. By finding the source, we find the place to start OFFloading MoM GUiLT that quickly finds residence in our hearts.
Are you with me, sweet friend?
God, may I turn to You. Please give me wisdom to know which way to offload and courage to do what I need to do in order to be ALL You want me to be!
See you TOMORROW for #THREE!