“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 (ESV)
My son Christian loves basketball and played varsity all four years of high school. Throughout each season, he was respected for his ability to lead the team, for his calmness on the floor, and for his quick thinking.
Although Christian was an incredible player, he is not aggressive by nature. So he was never known for strength and drive. These weak areas cost him playing time and made him feel like he was failing his coach.
I always told Christian, “You played your best; be proud of that.” To me, bravery was showing up to each practice and each game, even when he felt like quitting.
THE Best vs. Your Best
As a parent of an athlete, I wanted my child to succeed. I was partial to my own kid; that’s just natural. It was hard to resist all the hype of athletics. As a single mom working two jobs, I struggled to keep up with all the “parent” clubs around sports and volunteering. I too, had to work at being my best, rather than run for “BEST mom of the year award.” I wanted to stay on the good side of all the other parents by being involved in all the fundraisers and every single volunteer event.
But even as an adult, I had to remind myself, to BE my best and feel proud of that. I could not be at all events. As tempting as it was to just over-commit, I would have driven not only myself crazy but my entire family, all for the sake of somehow making a difference for my son. But no amount of my DOING was going to change his playing time one bit.
My son knew with all his heart two things: First, he knew that I was his biggest fan. Second, he knew that I was working as hard as he was toward success. My best was good enough, even when that meant missing a game because I was working or saying no to that new pair of shoes everyone else had because I did not have the income to pay the price.
It was okay to BE where we were because it was our best on that given day. I had to be brave when he was upset that he could not have what he wanted. I had to step over those feelings of inadequacy and know it was okay to just BE where I was.
BEING vs. DOING
On those occasions when I failed at BEING and fell into DOING, I found myself complaining, resentful, and tired. DOING is important; we all need to do our part in supporting the programs our kids benefit from. But we must keep our motivation for DOING in check. When I needed to say “no” but said “yes” because I didn’t want to disappoint people, I was DOING. When I said “yes” because I honestly knew the person needed help, and I was able to meet the call, I was BEING: helpful, freely giving.
So give yourself grace – as a parent, athlete, or wherever life finds you – to be satisfied with your best. BE engaged in what you are doing and know that your best is good enough to the One who counts the most, your Heavenly Father. While DOING can produce resentment if done for the wrong reasons, BEING produces gratitude.
Today, don’t worry about DOING the best or even better than anyone else. Focus on BEING your best.
How comfortable are you with the idea of BEING your best rather than trying to DO the best? How are (or aren’t) you modeling this for your child(ren)?
My bad mom friend and author of today’s Bad Mom Monday challenge is Tanja Bass. Tanja lives, works, and parents in Oregon where she has spent all but three years of her life. She has three children — who now must be referred to as “young people” — ages 15,18, and 22. Tanja enjoys speaking, writing and encouraging others. She could tell you that her journey of life has been one of foster care, adoption & divorce, but she’d far rather tell you how God is changing her story with His redeeming grace!
When Annemarie was little, she had no interest in her Playskool kitchen with plastic food. She wanted to help us do the real thing: fix our real breakfast in our real kitchen.
We’d set up the step ladder, and she’d climb up and happily measure ingredients and mix pancake batter.
It was a great arrangement. She was fully engaged in meal preparation, and we felt like such great parents, teaching our little girl life skills at an early age!
Then Annemarie became fascinated by the electric skillet.
We warned her that it was “HOT!” That only peeked her curiosity.
We moved it as far out of reach as possible, but if we turned away for a split second, she’d start to climb the counter, one hand outstretched toward the skillet.
We tried everything we could think of to distract her, forbid her, instill a sense of respect in her.
Annemarie’s obsession became an all-out determination to touch the electric skillet.
After many near-misses, we came to the unthinkable conclusion:
Our little girl was going to experience the natural consequences of her curiosity.
The only question was when.
Daniel and I discussed, prayed, and ultimately made one of the hardest choices we’ve ever made as parents: we decided to let her touch it when we were present.
The next morning, we wiped the skillet clean of oil and turned it to the lowest setting. Daniel stood on one side of the ladder; I stood on the other. At a pre-arranged signal, we both acted distracted.
Sure enough, Annemarie’s tiny hands shot toward the electric skillet. Eagerly, she grabbed its sides.
Her triumphant face registered shock quickly followed by pain. She stumbled and, as Daniel caught her, began to cry.
“Hot!” she wailed, pointing to the skillet with reddening fingers. “Hot!”
I dabbed soothing medication on Annemarie’s hands, and we took turns holding and rocking her until she calmed down. After tucking her in bed for a nap, Daniel and I let down our stoic guards and held each other as we cried.
After that experience, whenever we told her that something was “hot” she repeated “hot!” in a voice of respect and gave it wide berth. And her budding fascination with electric outlets completely vanished.
Letting Annemarie touch the electric skillet worked. But two decades later, I still tear up as I tell this story.
I still feel torn between my desire to protect my child from harm and my responsibility to teach her about consequences.
I also better understand God’s heart toward me: always wanting to protect me but also letting me experience the consequences of my disobedience:
“So, what a blessing when God steps in and corrects you!
Mind you, don’t despise the discipline of Almighty God!
True, he wounds, but he also dresses the wound;
the same hand that hurts you, heals you.”
What’s a necessary “shocking” parental choice you’ve made or experienced? What was the motivation behind the choice? What were the results?
My bad mom friend and author of today’s Bad Mom Monday challenge is Cheri Gregory. Cheri has been married to her college sweetheart for over a quarter-of-a-century and has two college-aged kids; she blogs about expectations, “baditude,” and hope at www.CheriGregory.com.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
I kinda got thrown into the parenting world head first and torqued a little to the right. Beginning with twins and ending with two out of four children having significant special needs led me being overworked with no break in sight.
I didn’t have time for fun, with the constant nebulizer treatments, doctor appointments, behavior plans to create, and social stories to write. But after 10 years of constant crises and the “work” never done, I finally enrolled in a four hour art class I’d dreamed of taking for years.
On the day of class, my son became sick with asthma. I was torn, wanting to care for him but desperately wanting the class I finally had the chance to attend, and I really needed time doing something fun. I was going to stay, but my husband said to go and he’d take care of Robbie. So, I went.
Well, Stevie’s breathing worsened and he ended up hospitalized before I got home. Guilt grabbed my heart and yelled, “How could you leave your child at a time like this to do something so frivolous? You should have been there! What kind of mom are you?”
As Robbie improved, so did my perception and Guilt released it’s grip.
I realized, as I stayed with him overnight, that God took care of everything; every little detail without my help.
It turned out my husband was able to be the superhero this time, something that he needed. I respected him more for being able to handle the crisis with 4 kids while I was gone.
And, I realized if I don’t take time to have fun, and guard it, then I will never “have” time for fun. Now I try to get out at least twice a month, to do something I want to do.
When worry whispers in my ears about the kids, I remember that God alone is in control. I am not the “only” one that can deal with things.
I also remember that I will be much more capable and creative to care for my family if I take time to care for me.
Merri Lewis is mom to four children, two boys and two girls. They range in age from 11 to 2. Merri enjoys writing during her carved out free time. The rest of the time she enjoys hunting for treasures as she raises her very active children. Merri blogs at www.TreasuresInTheDust.com, with a focus on ministering to families with children on the autism spectrum through the many stories her children provide.
I had just dropped off my kids at school and unlike the many moms who were probably cheering right now after a crazy summer break with the kids, I was crying because of what my daughter said before she got out of the car: “I can’t believe you are making me go back to school when all I want to do is be with you.”
I had kept my children home to homeschool the year before and although it was a special year and my children did wonderfully academically, for different reasons, my husband and I were sending them all back to school. It was actually the same school they had all gone to since preschool, so the other students were not strangers. And I would be working at the school, so our whole family (except my husband) would be together at the same school, but my daughter’s anxiety was steeped in a feeling of not wanting to be left out.
The year before we left to homeschool, there were a few girls who had a sleepover and did not invite my daughter. They were supposed to be her good friends. My little girl didn’t even know what a good friend was anymore.
The practical steps in Kathi’s book, I Need Some Help Here!, gives hope for a mama that feels brokenhearted! From teaching kids how not to be a victim to brainstorming what a good friend is to the most important lesson of empowering our kids to pray, Kathi shares in this journey of protecting our little ones.
“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
To the one who seeks him. . .”
My daughter found that God’s promise shared in the book was true. For when she went back to school this year, those girls had matured and they all became my daughter’s best friends. In fact, just last week, we took one of the girls out to dinner and she brought up that situation and said how bad she felt for that. It gave my daughter a chance to see that forgiveness can bring healing and God is the One who fills a heart with hope.
Now my daughter will say that although she loved being homeschooled, she is so happy to have this special year with such good friends before they all go off to high school.
Our lives will never always go according to our plans, so I am thankful for people like Kathi who are willing to share stories of hope and grace so that we know we are not alone in this thing called mothering!
Our author for today’s Bad Mom Monday post is Angie Ryg. Angie has been described as the “fun sister next door.” And like a real sister, she will make you laugh as well as encourage you to drink deeper from the well of God’s grace. Her book Clutter Free Simplicity encourages women to clear the clutter in their hearts and homes by focusing on what is really important — their daily walk with Jesus. She loves to connect with other women about mothering, marriage, and faith on her blog! Angie’s most important ministries includes being a wife to her childhood sweetheart and mama to one princess and three princes. They enjoy family movie nights, long road trips, and acting out the TV show Chopped.
Angie writes for Family Matters, Focus on the Family, Whatever Girls, and Raising Generations Today, as well as articles for Lysa Terkeurst and Christianity Today.