Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Good Mom

Last summer, while laying in the sand watching my children play in the ocean, a friend commented on how easy my life must be. Putting it into context, she was simply making an observation about that moment and her intention was not to imply that my life in general is easy. Still, she went on to say that I was lucky to have children whom I could trust enough to not stand beside them in the water, fearing that they would disregard my instructions about their depth limit or that they may wander down the beach unattended. She also implied that to be able to enjoy myself while watching my children was something that I should be thankful for because not everyone can do that. Finally, the conversation concluded with her sarcastically noting, "Boy, aren't you a good mom; taking your children to the beach for them to enjoy the beach!"

Although I knew that she had no ill intention and that she most likely did consider me to be a decent mother, I also felt like she envied my "luck" and felt that a good mom would be doing something different at that time. I felt judged. It was very much implied that I was enjoying myself too much to have been a good mom in that moment. This idea really got my thoughts stirred up!
I began to question myself at that point. Would I be having so much fun if I were indeed working on being a good mother? Most people I know do not consider work to be labeled as fun or enjoyable, even if they have chosen their careers. That was not meant to be a blanket statement but instead a general observation. For decades, people have estimated a mother's worth and job description. Although it varies, a broad consensus is the job is difficult and never completely appreciated. I personally believe that to be considered a good mother, its critical that a woman do more than be present with her children. So then, what does constitute the label of being a "Good Mom"? Here's my opinion, asked for or not!

A "Good Mom" can be summed up in only one sentence. A good mother is one who instructs her children about God, protects them and responds to their needs, and teaches them the lessons of life while setting a good example in a joyful manner. Most mothers fit into this category or miss it by just one small aspect. The majority of mothers teach their children about life, some teach them about God, few set the best examples but rarely do they do all that while keeping a joyful heart. No one will be perfect enough to maintain all of this all the time...... "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23 
Proverbs 31 describes the perfect wife according to God. However, there is reference to her children as well. Donna Partow writes about this woman in her book (which is great by the way), "Becoming the Woman God Wants Me To Be". She says that "Any determined, hard working woman can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. That's no great accomplishment.  A woman who is so wise she has figured out how to get the bacon to come to her and has trained her children to be servant-hearted enough to do the frying- now that's a valuable woman!" (Partow, p. 29) Thank you Donna Partow! Too often, I would doubt myself in my role as a mother when I made my children do housework for chores and yes, even let my 12 year old cook dinner occasionally! Now, when I feel guilt rising as my 7 year old is vacuuming or my 5 year old is dusting, Donna's words ring in my head and I am instantly pleased. It does in fact take discipline and determination to train a child correctly. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6  Who are we to judge others when their hard work is paying off and they are able to relax?

My conclusion is this. Although I make mistakes and will always attempt to be better, I AM a good mom; as are most of the women I know. My children are physically and emotionally nurtured. They will not be perfect either and there will always be someone who disagrees with my methods in raising them. None of that matters to God and should not matter to us. He intends for us to teach our children how to be disciples for Him and to love each other in doing so. As long as I strive to meet God's will for myself and my children, doing so in joy and love, who else can judge me?

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