What makes a good parent? Think about it. Perhaps you think it is spending quality time with your kids. Maybe it’s making sure they have as many opportunities as possible to succeed. Perhaps it’s a particularly hard season of life so just getting them fed, bathed, dressed and keeping them out of harms way is a win. Maybe being the cool mum who always lets the kids play and do fun activities is the mother to aspire to. Or maybe it’s the tidy mum where everything has its place and clutter is kept out of sight creating a safe haven of order. Perhaps the mum who is able to bake, clean, attend all the meetings, get all the jobs done and still manages to look a million dollars is winning at the parenting thing.
Do we create an image in our mind of what a perfect mum or parent should look like? Do we raise the bar high and beat ourselves up when we fail to measure up? I know I do. I still compare myself to other mums that I see out and about and on social media. It’s very easy to then compare what I see with my own reality. It can either leave me feel lacking and discontented as a parent or prideful at my own way of raising my kids compared to so-and-so for example. Neither way is beneficial or helpful.
The start of being a good parent is realising that your performance is not being measured against anyone else. It’s not a competition, even if it feels like it. So what if your child’s best friend’s mother bakes brownies better than you? You’re the best mama for your kids. God put you in a position to look after these precious children. You can trust Him to help you do it. You can bring the mess, the hard days, the lonely moments, the chaos, the frustrations, the worries, the joys, the tears, the tantrums – to Him. The only perfect one is God anyway. There is no other in that category!
He already knows and understands the makeup and disposition of our children – and us as well. Children and parents both need Jesus. In fact, we are all called to come to Him like a child.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.Matthew 18:1-5 (NIV)
When we follow Jesus, we are adopted as sons and daughters and become children of God (Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 4:5-7; John 1:12). God has grafted us into His family and we join men, women, boys and girls across the world who become our brothers and sisters in the faith. Just like we want our children to come to us, God longs for us to come to Him as we are. But just like our children who grow and change, we will be changed as we come to God as our heavenly Father. Our mind, our heart, and our affections become more like Him as we let Him gently lead us.
What a relief and what a hope as we trust God with our children and with ourselves.
The pressure is well and truly off.