Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I Hate When People Tell Me I'm a Good Mom

I hate when people tell me I'm a good mom. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the sentiment behind the statement. It's not like I don't want to be known as a good mom, but I hate being told I'm a good mom when my kids do something good, respectful, kind, generous. I don't like having my parenting judged based on my kids' actions.

For example, recently my oldest son stepped up and took his little sister to the Father/Daughter Dance at her school. It was a sweet thing to do, to be sure. He took time out of his week, dressed up, and danced with her all night. Despite the discomfort of being the only brother escorting a girl, he went, knowing this dance was important to her; making memories that will last a lifetime for both of them. In fact, my two oldest sons have both escorted Brooklyn to the dance over the past three years. When I posted the pictures to Facebook, I got hundreds of likes and comments. I got many comments that said something along the lines of You're a good mom. You're doing a great job raising those kids. What an awesome brother; it's a testament to your good parenting.

Who wouldn't agree? Who wouldn't like to hear that? Obviously, good parenting has instilled the values that made this child the type of person who would be so selfless, kind, and loving, right? But I don't want the credit for the good things my kids do. You know why? Because then I'd have to take credit for the bad things they do too! 

The fact is, yes, I try to be a good parent. I do my best. I fall short. I try again. I attempt to model the behavior I want to see from them. Sometimes I'm good at it. Sometimes I'm not. I love them unconditionally. I like them most of the time. But in the end, what they choose to do is entirely up to them. I have an impact on those decisions, but they have the free will to make them.

What about the parent who posts about her kid making the dean's list, or volunteering at a homeless shelter, or creating a lemonade stand to raise money for a little boy in school who has cancer, or stopping to help an elderly woman with a flat tire? Does that equal good parenting? How about when a parent posts that her kid was caught smoking pot, or that her kid has gotten pregnant in high school, or that her kid stole something from a store? Does that equal bad parenting? What if it's the same kid who both did something good and something bad? What kind of parenting is it then?

Would anyone say that God is a bad father when someone steals or kills? No. He has laid the foundation; we have the free will to follow His instructions or not. Just like our kids can choose to follow our instructions or not. And I don't believe their choices are necessarily reflective as our performance as parents.

So every time I'm told that I'm a good mom, I take it with a grain of salt because I know at any minute, any of my kids could do something stupid thing that would make a bystander claim, "Well, if she wasn't such a bad parent, maybe her kids would be turning out better."

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