This week you were tempted to throw your hands up.
Or pull the blanket over your head and hide from the world
Because it was one of “those days” as a mom.
When everything goes wrong or you feel unappreciated or a combination of both.
You struggle because your plan is to raise a confident, strong, in-love-with-Jesus child, but you wonder. . .
Mama, offer yourself a little grace.
I’m not saying that yelling or wanting to give up is a good thing. I’m just acknowledging that parenting is hard on the best of days.
It’s joyous too.
They say and do cute things. They wrap their arms around your neck and give you sweet kisses. You’d give your life for that child and nothing fills you up like family.
But nothing empties you quite so thoroughly either.
They make messes which you clean up over and over again. They battle you when you’re trying to do what is best. They hit each other. They scream and get on your last jangled nerve.
Can I share some good news?
Your children aren’t shaped by one bad day, but rather a culmination of many days.
I can almost hear that sigh of relief.
I needed to hear this when my children were little — three babies born in 19 months. A young mom in love with them, but sometimes tired out of my mind. A mom of three, driving across the city, feeling spread thin. A mom of teens, in love with them and exasperated at the same time.
They are grown now. They are parents to their own babies.
When I look back, I remember feeling guilt when we had one of “those days.”
If I could, I’d go back and sit with that tired mama and tell her that she did okay. The amazing and good days blended with “those days” and it resulted in three amazing human beings.
I’d tell her that bad days don’t make her a bad mom.
I’d also show her three things that really did make a difference, when it was all said and done.
A sincere apology
There were times I messed up and I didn’t know how to fix it, so we sat on the edge of the bed and I apologized. One time I was criticized for this.
You’re the adult. She’s the child. You don’t apologize.
I’m so glad I didn’t listen to that.
To be honest, it didn’t seem like enough but my kids remember it differently.
It was telling them that no one person is perfect. It let them know that they were valuable enough to make things right when I messed up.
Did you say words you wish you could take back? Did you lose control? Did you use labels that made your child feel small?
Say you’re sorry. It’s not a weakness. It’s strength. It’s owning that bad day and giving it less power than the child standing in front of you.
Learn from it.
Mistakes can lead to guilt or they can lead to growth.
Sometimes I took the guilt path which held no redeeming qualities.
But conviction led me to admit I didn’t know everything I wanted to know. It allowed me to remove my pointing finger from the failure in the mirror to the real issue at hand.
Rather than beat myself up, I asked these questions:
- What started the downhill slide?
- Is there anything that could have been done to change the course of that downward spiral?
- Was I running on empty? Did I need to fill up so I could pour out?
- Did I need encouragement and support?
- Did I need a plan?
Starting fresh means that you’re not settling for same-ole, same-ole. You’re not telling your kids, “This is just the way it is. Deal with it.”
You start fresh every single time and over time “those days” hold less weight than they used to, because you don’t equate them with failure anymore, but rather growth and change.
Will you become the perfect parent? Not if I’m your example. ♥ But will your fresh start allow you to receive God’s grace and then offer to your family?
If you struggle with being a mom because no one showed you how, or it was a negative example, The Mom I Want to Be: Rising Above Your Past to Give Your Kids a Great Future is a powerful resource.
As the product of a dysfunctional home and as a wife and mother, I eagerly dove into Suzie’s book. And I was not disappointed. Each chapter presented a new challenge, but was still like a soothing balm. My list of those who will be helped and encouraged by this book grows almost daily. Thanks, Suzie, for the reassuring examples of the healing, love, and sufficiency of our wonderful Lord. Thanks for writing this book for so many women. And thanks for giving me a powerful and useful tool for ministry. —Kendra Smiley, conference speaker and author
Order it today. I’ll happily autograph it for you.
$12.00 and $3.50 shipping.
Thank you so much for this post! I needed this. I feel so guilty after a rant with them, that I just tell myself I don’t deserve to be a mother and that I am messing them up for life. I do apologize afterwards, but the guilt eats me up. Even after they say I forgive you, it’s me that beats myself up over it. Thanks for the encouragement.
Suzie! Thank you!!!! I’m a mama of 6 kids under 10 & oh what real truth to apply to real life. I, too, have sat on the bed admitting my wrong & asking for forgiveness from my child. I, too, have wallowed in guilt. Thank you for rewinding to when your kids were younger & sharing what so many of us mothers need to hear. I will certainly be sharing this with the other mothers I know!
Oh Suzie, thank you for this. Sometimes I really do feel like the “bad mom.” I just mess up. I’m like Paul – I don’t even know why I am doing the bad things that I know I should not be doing – but I do them. Agh! An apology is worth a thousand kisses in the eyes of our children. Thank you for reminding my heart of this truth. Jesus covers us in his love – and grace. Praise Him!
Beautiful and necessary words! THANK YOU! My kids are now grown and there are still days I feel like a “bad mom” and regret some things from their childhood, but it is a blessing to read that my kids weren’t “shaped by one bad day, but rather a culmination of many days.”