I can't imagine that any parent has lived their entire life as a parent without uttering some words of thinly veiled "advice", certain that if you could just have that child for a single weekend, you would have them all straightened out. Because your methods of parenting have produced your perfect children, so why ever would they not work on others? I mean, you know it all, right?
Think of those days where your kids are the ones being judged. When you pass that woman in the supermarket and she gives you that LOOK. Or worse, her opinion. Of how, since your children are having a bad day (since we are all human), your parenting skills seem to be lacking. Is that moment really the whole story? Can you look at that situation from the outside and see that maybe they've recently lost someone close to them? Or maybe one parent has to travel for work, and the kids are having a difficult time adjusting. There are a million situations happening every day to millions of people, and that moment is one that you only catch a glimpse of the whole story.
I've been there. I actually had one of my brother's friends parents tell me one day while grocery shopping with my newborn, that I was doing it wrong. I wasn't mothering right. And oh those words got a reaction out of me right away that day. I knew what was wrong with my baby. She was hungry. I was going to pick up formula so that I could get home and feed her. And I was probably going to make it. Until this woman stopped me to poke at my baby, upset her delicate little mood, and ruin all our days at once. Then she decided that I wasn't doing it right. I told her, maybe not so politely, several times since she didn't seem to believe me, that my baby was simply hungry. And that if she'd just let me go, I could actually rectify that problem pretty quickly.
But what about those moments where you're already doubting your abilities? When you question if He really got this right, and that you are capable of getting this child to be a decent adult. When you question if you're both going to make it that long. And when all you want is to hear that you are doing a good job. I can't think of a single time that I've been told I was a good mom that I've ever been insulted to hear it.
So maybe next time you see that mom in the grocery store, you could tell her you've been there. And that you can see she is a good mom. And you can turn both your days around, both leaving that store feeling better for you abilities as a mom. Seems you have a choice which words you use today. What will you choose?
"Go forward with confidence - not condescending cockiness - and serve him and your family as you enjoy your unique journey of motherhood." Page 52.
Heavenly Father, I lift up all of those parents who are weary. All of us who wonder how we are going to do this all again tomorrow. Help us to remember that you are already there. Refresh our perspective on your expectations and fill their hearts to overflowing with your love Lord. In your mighty name. Amen.
If any of you have a prayer request or would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment, I would love to be one of God's soldiers for you!