I don't know if it's the time of year, where stress runs high and patience short, but I have seen SO MANY moms completely controlled by their kids! Are there really that many wimpy moms, afraid of their kid's anger and displeasure if they don't give their child his or her own way? Or am I just running into every one of them while I'm out and about? In the doctor's office, the grocery store, Target, the local coffee shop, restaurants, you name it! "I'm not going to tell you again to stop touching stuff!" was threatened more than eight times by one mom to the same child! And, this wasn't a two-year-old child I'm talking about. These harried moms are anything but joyful at this season of joy. How amazing is the power of a small, stubborn human. I always wonder at the moms (and dads) who want to be their kid’s friend; the parents who really want their child(ren) to like them. My kids know full well that I don’t care if I make their "good list" for the day or if I meet their approval…which usually revolves around them getting what they want. (I’m not going to go into the whole be-a-parent, not-a-friend thing since that’s a whole other topic for another day.)
While I am FAR from the perfect mom or a poster-mom for all that is made of sweetness, understanding and patience, I am pretty sure that over-all, my kids do not run me or my life. Oh sure, they make it busy and crowded and full, but it's not because I'm letting them run over me with their will and wants. Not that it NEVER happens, but it's sure not the norm or how the kids and I are characterized. I've had to work hard at letting them know that while I love them and they are vitally important to my husband, me and God, they are not the center of the universe and life isn't about them.
Years ago when the kids were a lot younger, we were enjoying a family lunch at a restaurant in Nashville. A few tables over was a rather loud family, where the kids were rowdy and the parents were demanding, begging and pleading with the kids to "sit down, behave and be quiet." Lunch got a lot nicer (and quieter) when that family left! We continued on with our meal, which included a lot of instruction ("Don’t dip your napkin in your sister’s water!") and numerous potty breaks. (Do they save it all up just for when we’re out?!) While it was a nice meal and nothing horribly bad happened, it was tiring for us as parents! As another couple was leaving the restaurant, the woman came over to me and complimented our children’s behavior. She also told me that while it was hard and tiring work, she thought I was doing a good job with the kids. I almost burst into tears of gratitude! Her words of encouragement made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside for a long time afterward. I NEEDED her words, and her kindness had long lasting affects on me as I pressed on in doing what was right. (Which is NOT synonymous for "what is easy.")
Next time you’re out and you see a mom doing the RIGHT thing with her children, speak a word of encouragement to her. A simple, "Being a mom isn’t easy, but I see you’re doing what’s best for your child even if he/she doesn’t appreciate it right now" can make that mom’s day. Never underestimate the power of a smile and, "I’ve been there and done that – stay strong, Mom!" as you’re walking out of the grocery store. All too often I can point out the trouble child, but how often do I look for the positive? How often do I address the positive? Truthfully, not often enough. Proverbs 25:11 says "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." Words of encouragement are precious and valuable to the hearer! If there is a mom teetering on the edge of giving in, giving up and turning to the wimp-side, some fitly spoken words will be strengthening for her – especially from someone who is also in the trenches of motherhood!
Hmm…maybe I should write Diary of a Wimpy Mom...a book of warning and what I've learned along the way. I'd get be a stick figure...not likely to ever happen in real life! :)