If your child has made it past infancy, you’ve almost certainly been there (if you haven’t, pin this for later…just in case): your kid has been that kid. The one that makes the bad choice. The one that bit just two days after you said they’ve never even considered biting. The one that calls another child a horrible name, the one that becomes the talk of the school. The one that does something that you had labeled “not in MY house.”
And all those books on raising kind/intelligent/hardworking/content/well-adjusted/(your goal here) kids, all that advice you absorbed hungrily from older mothers and articles and podcasts and sermons and old fashioned observation, all that advice you doled out to younger moms, all the pride you felt for your effort in being intentional with your parenting…
It all just falls to the ground with a thud so loud that others stop to look.
It happened to me for the first time about ten and a half years ago. And it happens pretty often. It happened to me yesterday.
The wind gets knocked out of your parenting sails. You question most of your decisions. You look at other families and you just know that they aren’t dealing with these things.
I remember my six week postpartum check after I had Bay. I was 18 years old. My nurse practitioner asked me how I was doing with motherhood. I told her that I was scared all the time that I wasn’t a good mom.
She looked at me and said with all the grace and love that she could give, “Bad moms don’t worry about being bad moms. Good moms do. So if you’re worrying, you don’t need to worry.”
So. Here’s to us, who are so sure we are messing it up. Who are trying our hardest, doing our homework, humbling ourselves and asking for help. Who change the plans we swore we’d never change because admitting defeat is just the only thing left. Who are on our faces praying for these kids. Who lose sleep over whether we are giving them our best.
If you’re worrying about it, you probably are.
They are their own people. Despite all of our plans, hopes, intentions, and teaching, they will go rogue (and maybe sometimes this isn’t the very worst thing). They will unintentionally break our hearts and make us doubt everything we have poured into them. But we have to remember. We have to sit in our skin, made thick by living and learning and loving another human so very much and remember that we are doing our best. We are wringing our hands and wringing our hearts of every drop of love and dedication and work that lies there. It isn’t for nothing, Mama, no matter how it feels today.
But I don’t know what the future holds. I have to let that go. I have to trade my pride for God’s sovereign hand. I’m doing everything I can, with all I can, and then giving the rest to Him.
The rebel, the sneaky kid, the instigator. The biter, the faker, the giant mess-maker. Because of us, in spite of us. Maybe a little of both. Either way, they will be all right.
And so will we.