#momfail. Do you feel like your entire life could be written in the #momfail category? I often do! But, fear not!! My friends will make you feel much better about your life (and I'm not telling which one of these is mine). ;)
"I was with a nurse in the elevator at the hospital, in a wheelchair, holding my newborn daughter while my husband brought the car around. A group of people began gushing about the new baby and asked me her name. My mind went blank. I had no idea. I told them, "I don't remember." They looked absolutely mortified. Faces of horror."
"The time I took so long and so many tries to get my child’s birthdate right on the phone that the nurse asked if I was really the mother."
"Left my kids in the car to run into Kroger for a moment and found them screaming “Mom!!!!” through the store in shorts and T-shirt’s and no shoes when it was below freezing out. And they had already been to the bathroom without me."
Walking into the school nurses office and having her look on at me with pity as she referred to me as “the lice mom.” Or even better....when the people at the lice clinic say as you walk in the door “oh this is the mom with cute purses.” No one wants to be known this way....ever."
"The time I left my 6 month old baby home alone while the rest of the family happily drove to meet up with friends. Worst part, I had to literally step over her and open and close the baby gate in order to get down the stairs and out the door."
"Told my little bully of a son who called his sibling fat that “I’d rather be fat than MEAN!”
"Picked up my first grader from the bus stop to find that he had gone to school in a bathing suit and swim shirt. In his defense, I did scream to him that I didn’t care what he wore as long as it matched."
"The time my son broke his arm and I told him to hold his arm over his head to show it still hurts because I didn't want to pay the medical costs. Turns out he had a severe fracture on his elbow."
"3 of my children missed a piano performance because I forgot about it. My mom called 5 minutes after it started because she was worried about us. When I answered the phone she asked where we were and I said “We are at home. Why? Did you want to come over?” She said, “Well...Dad and I are at the piano performance to hear the kids.”
"The time my husband, myself and my two year old were all in an elevator together. The elevator stopped at our floor, and my husband and I stepped out and the doors closed...leaving our two year old ALONE ON AN ELEVATOR IN A PARKING GARAGE."
"I grabbed what I thought was a V8 Fusion out of the fridge and put it in my son's lunch bag. It turned out to be a Shock Top BEER... I thought he was getting his veggies — not so much."
When you missed 5, 6, 7, and 8 months. Last child.
This parenting thing is hard and if you spend any amount of time scrolling social media you can quickly feel like the biggest lone failure with all the picture perfect, filtered photos and posts. But then, creators of hashtags and contributors to #momfail specifically, save the day because suddenly you don't feel so alone in your sticky, slimy, what is that on your face, chaotic world that you feel only you live in.
Failure. All moms feel it. All moms know it. And all moms, at any given point, can list ways they feel like they are completely dropping the ball. Balanced meals, schedules, goals, family nights, reading aloud, Bible time and catechism planned out with the rest of the kids like you did with the first, reading the best literature, having kids who do chores, and kids who contribute to the world instead of taking from it. At any given point you can find a mom who simply feels like she failed on just about every front possible when it comes to their kids. Been there. Done that. Will be there again.
Recently, a fellow educator shared these words about her feelings of panic on whether or not she is ruining her children. I found them so fitting for the constant pressurized world of formulas and do's and don'ts for raising successful and happy kids.
One of the drawbacks to having been in the teaching profession for so long is that it can fill one’s mind with phobias. Teachers see so many sweet little children grow up, and many of them do not turn out the way you would have expected. Many of the model students from my school teaching days ended up connecting with bad crowds in college and made life-altering bad decisions. While some of the rougher students, students who struggled socially and academically, ended up making excellent decisions in college and are still walking with the Lord. “Why is this?”
Several years ago, I was drowning in #momfails. The to-do lists were piling high, goals were left behind, my kids seemed all out of control, and everyone was always tense. It struck us that something had to change. My husband and I made the decision to shift our focus with our children. We changed our focus from being on correct behavior to developing a strong relationship with them.
Focusing on relationship altered our parenting in so many ways. It suddenly made sense of everything that I had seen as a teacher in school. The students who turned out well were not the students who always had great grades (some were, but certainly not all). They were not the students who always looked great. They were not the most popular students. They were not the most socially astute students. And bigger shocker, they were not even the ones who had impeccable behavior and manners. The students who seemed to turn out well were the students who had close relationships with their parents. In most cases that turned into a close relationship with God when the student was on his own. Of course as I looked at my time as a teacher, it wasn’t a paint-by-numbers book. No one student’s story was like another’s, but I couldn’t ignore the number of students who, as kids (even if they were the misbehaving kids) had close relationships with their parents and then, as adults, they had close walks with the Lord.
I thought this was an interesting observation by a fellow educator. I will not for a second lay a formula out that says if you do x.y. and z, your child will or will not turn out like this or that. Because such a formula doesn't exist. But there is something to be said about relationships where the focus is on "relationship." People don't change and grow outside of relationship. This is laced all throughout the Bible. But this fact, this common grace truth stretches across all of human history (whether you are a Christian or not). Change happens within relationship, not within a set of perfectly followed rules, or a perfectly crafted life.
So moms...we don't need a perfect mom score to raise great kids. Love them in relationship. Make mistakes. Apologize. And make mistakes again. Increase the day to day time you spend with them. Be their primary influencer. Be the relationship that gets more hours than the rest. Does it matter? It does. It really does. And no, this doesn't mean the mom guilt "spend more time with your kids and do Pinterest crafts, be the super sweet, silly, fun ridiculous mom that plans all kinds of insane activities and never gets on her phone." It means give them relationship. It means give them quantity. Give them the time and ability to see you live out the glorious mess of the sinner saved by grace. They don't need a perfect mom. They need a mom who makes mistakes and says I'm sorry. They need a mom with a hilarious stash of #momfail moments to share when they are grown. They need parents who bring them home more than they are away. To shelter them? No. To control them? Definitely not. To perfectly craft a bubbled life so they stay out of trouble? Absolutely not..... Then why? Why go through all the trouble to increase family hours, to increase sibling friends, to be an integral part of their education? Because the simple gift of time exponentially grows the ability to love them in relationship.
How can you bring them home more? How can you give your family the gift of time even in regards to education? What if you're not the "teaching" type? What if you want them home more, but don't want to jump into homeschooling? Come hear all about Fishers university-model classical school on June 11th at our next informational night.