I have a confession to make. I used to hide from other moms.
Let me explain. I’d pretend I didn’t see them or walk in a different direction diverting my eyes hoping they wouldn’t notice me. I’d pull back from interacting with the moms who always seemed to want to share the latest new accomplishment or wise choice or great opportunity of their kid that was similar in age to mine. If I did interact with them, I would listen and try to engage in their excitement only to walk away feeling defeated.
My child wasn’t measuring up — translate, I must be a loser parent.
I have another confession to make. I’ve also been that mom that I’m guessing other moms wanted to hide from.
You see, it is natural to want to shout it from the mountaintop when our kid succeeds or makes wise choices. It is easy to think that our parenting skills put that child at the head of their class so to speak. Our kids can make us proud.
We can also be a proud parent in one moment only to be in the pit of despair the next moment when they do something that we find frustrating or life-altering. Yes, being a parent can be unbelievably difficult at times.
And when our kids do something that everyone can see, that’s when we want to hide.
Whether it is really happening or just our imagination, we hide out of fear — fear of judgment, fear of exclusion, and fear of gossip and what others are thinking. Our kid’s behavior can be demoralizing for us. It can cause repercussions for our child. It can break our hearts.
I talk to women on a regular basis who are exactly where I’ve been. They feel like they can’t talk to the other moms that they have always called their friends.
Our kids’s choices can make us feel shame as we parent because we’ve wrapped our identity up in their behavior rather than our identity in Christ.
Sad, but true.
These women need a safe place to land. They need someone who will listen without passing judgment. They need someone who will openly share their parenting heartaches as well, so these parents don’t feel like the worst parent on the planet.
These moms need someone who will emotionally hold them even as their world is falling apart — someone who will cry with them and laugh with them in a way that says things will be okay.
They need another mom who can point them to the truth — we can’t be God in our children’s lives. We can’t always control our children’s choices. All we can do is love them through it and give them a safe place to land when they are ready to make better decisions.
Regardless of where our children are in the moment – great kids making great choices — or challenging kids making poor choices, can we share the love of Christ with those who are hurting in their parenting walk? Can we walk into the hurting parent’s world offering a hug and no judgment?
Maybe instead of saying “Look what my kid did” (implying what a great parent we must be), maybe we can say something like “Look what God is doing in my child’s life”.
Choosing to see God in our children’s lives takes away the parenting mountaintop experience or the depths of despair and will unify us in a way that can take away the stigma of shame when our kids make mistakes. After all, it isn’t about our kids. It isn’t about us as parents. It’s about Him.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
2 Corinthians 1:3-5