In light of the movie, Bad Moms, coming out soon, I thought I’d do some confessions myself as a self-professing “Bad Mom.”
Adulting is exhausting. I consider myself a “young at heart” kind of gal. I don’t FEEL 34 years old (wait, am I 34 or 35?). I still feel like a 20 year old who likes to play, until I’m around other twenty somethings, and realize maybe I am a little older than I thought. There are many times I wake up on a Saturday and just want to grab a towel, a cooler and a couple chairs and head to the beach. But, then I remember I have a child, and I have to do 456 things in order to get our family ready for an exhausting (instead of relaxing and fun) beach day. So it’s usually at that point when Daniel and I are like, eh, maybe we should just chill in the back yard. Having a child forces you to grow up and I don’t always want to be a grown up. Thank goodness for date nights, babysitters and wine!
Sometimes I just really don’t want to be creative. That’s why God gifted some women to be teachers and nannies and babysitters, right? I’ve said it a million times, I’m not crafty, so finding things to stimulate a toddler’s mind is pretty mind-numbing to me. Sometimes I just don’t have it in me to come up with creative things for Kennedy to do (God bless the women who are great at that and love it). I am doing great if I sit beside Kennedy at her little table for 20 minutes while she scribbles on some paper with a marker, and then as she gets bored (and I get bored), she begins to marker herself, and I think, Eh, I should make her stop, but she’s entertained and it washes off, right?
We use digital babysitters, often. There are definitely times when we use a digital babysitter to keep Kennedy occupied until bath time! Like the car for instance, it started out as “we’ll just use this DVD player when we travel.” And then went to, well, she’s fussy today so I’ll just turn it on so I can run errands. And then now, it’s a ritual when I put Kennedy in her car seat, that puppy goes on. I’m also the mom in target who suffices my child with my phone so she will give me just 15 more minutes to shop. I confess.
I mess up often. I can’t tell you how many “mom fails” I’ve had since becoming a mommy. I’ve forgotten to buckle Kennedy in to her car seat, got home and was like, oh crap. Before she could crawl, I left her in the middle of our bed for two seconds, and miraculously she learned to crawl in that moment, crawling herself right off the bed with a big thud. At that moment I prayed hard that God wouldn’t let me do anything, mess up bad enough, to hurt our child, because I knew in that moment that I’m going to mess up…a lot. I realized I’m a mess who married a mess, and we created a little tiny mess, so it’s going to be messy.
I don’t want my only identity to be mommy. As much as I love Kennedy and thank God for her every single day, I still want to be me, and I hope one day she respects me for that! I want to be seen as smart, marketing-savvy, attractive (to my husband of course), funny (even if only to myself), and I want to be a friend, a companion, a wife, a business woman, and entrepreneur! I want to be like the Proverbs 31 woman who not only took care of her children and her home, but was a kick ass business woman with multiple side jobs. The point I’m trying to make is that while I LOVE being a mommy, and it has completely changed my life for the better, I don’t ONLY want to be seen as a mommy. I confess.
So with all of this on the table, what do we do with our messy selves?
I’ve come to the conclusion that our kids don’t need perfect moms and dads. I’ve learned that our kids need parents who love them and live out their faith in front of them in the daily rhythms of life. Andy Stanley once said, “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom may not be what you do, but in who you raise.” Showing our kids how a relationship with Jesus works isn’t through being perfect, because that’s not the Gospel. Living out our faith to our children is more about showing them what a relationship filled with love and grace looks like. Pastor Jerry Sweat said, “Children aren’t great listeners, but they make phenomenal imitators.” I took this to heart, because taking our kids to church for one hour on the weekends isn’t showing our kids who Jesus is. But me living out my faith in front of Kennedy is how she will (hopefully) come to know and love Jesus herself.
“You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 11:19
Ask for forgiveness. Two men that I greatly respect as pastors and dads are Mark Long and Jerry Sweat. I remember Mark telling us about parenting and that the greatest thing you can do with your children is ask for forgiveness. Pastor Jerry also preached an incredible sermon on leaving a legacy of faith with your kids. I stole a lot of these ideas from that sermon so I’d encourage you to listen (listen here) to it if you are a parent or even want to be a parent one day! But both of them, amazing pastors, both love Jesus, both have multiple kids who have all grown up to love Jesus have one thing in common: They lived out authentic relationships with Jesus in front of their kids. When they messed up, and they did, they asked their children for forgiveness. I think our kids seeing that we aren’t perfect, allows them to see that God has grace on us through Jesus, and we can have grace on ourselves and with our children too.
So, even though we feel like failures more often than we would care to admit, have more #momfail moments than we hoped we ever would, it’s okay because at the end of the day when you tuck your kids in at night they aren’t going to remember those moments. They will remember the prayers you prayed with them, the times you taught them how to forgive others and themselves, how they can be anything they want to be because you are more than just a mom, and how deeply loved they are. Let’s remind each other, as parents, to depend on His grace and His perfection instead of beating ourselves up for our lack thereof. We can rest, stop trying to be super moms, and decide to show our kids we have a super God.
In the words of Pastor Jerry Sweat, “We will never be perfect parents, but we can be authentic parents seeking to raise our kids to know and love Jesus.”