Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Four Things I Won't Do For My Kids

Let me start this post by saying I love my kids so much. Nothing has blown my mind like motherhood. The depth of emotions your child can evoke in you is powerful; intense love, wild joy, an incredible awareness of our own inability to train them up in the way they should go... it is mind-boggling and wonderful.

I also struggle with mom guilt. Was that really the best choice I could make for them? Am I investing as much into them as I ought to be? Is it bad that I haven't taught them all their letters yet, or enough Bible verses, or that my 4 year old isn't completing math workbooks and science experiments?

There are many, many things I will gladly do for my children. Motherhood is all about sacrifice. We sacrifice our time, energy, and desires, placing our child's needs before our own. It is beautiful and a blessing, one of God's biggest tools for sanctification in the life of a Christian mother.

All that being said, there are a handful of things I will not do for my children. Maybe you can relate?


Shield them from disappointment. Life is full of disappointments, and the sooner I allow my children to experience them, the better off they will be. When a toy breaks, I'm not going to run to the store and replace it. If exciting plans for a play date or other adventure get canceled, I will sympathize with them. We can talk about our feelings and try to come up with a fun at-home alternative, but cancelled plans are a part of everyday reality.

As mom, I believe it is my job to guide them through disappointment and teach them healthy, wholesome ways to respond to it. But I will not shield them.

Clean up after them. Granted, I do pick up toys and help my kids with clean up. But as a rule, they are being trained to pick up after themselves. Even my just barely two year old enjoys putting his own plate in the sink after meals, and throwing his diapers away after a change. My daughter {4 years old} puts her dirty laundry in the basket, sorts clean utensils, and *attempts* to make her bed.

When I fail to follow through on having them pick up for a couple of days, I help them to get back on track. A mess that big can be overwhelming. But when I am faithful to have them put away their toys once or twice a day, they are more than capable of meeting my expectations. The older they get, the less help and instruction they will need. I learned it from my own mother- mom is not the maid.

Make everything equal or the same. My two children have wildly different personalities and natures. A discipline method that is effective for one may be too harsh, or conversely, too lenient, for the other. While I love them both equally, the way that I respond to them and train them is going to vary based on the individual child's needs. I am not the fairness police.

It isn't an issue yet, but I could see this bothering them someday. In love I will stand my ground, hope for the best, and pray that maturity helps them to understand that the differences in the way I treated them came from a desire to do what was best for the individual.

Protect them from consequences. When you disobey mom, bad things really can happen. If you do poorly on an exam because you didn't prepare properly, I am not calling your teacher and begging for a second chance. Sin has consequences, reaping leads to sowing, and the sooner you learn this, the better.

While I can reasonably grab an 18 month old's hand away from the hot stove top, the older my children get and the more instruction they have, the less control I have. I want to teach my children to take responsibility for their actions- which includes suffering the consequences of their decisions.

Maybe I'm a mean mom. Maybe I'm a little old-fashioned. But the buck stops here- I am responsible for training these kids to become adults without a sense of entitlement. Grown ups who know that the world doesn't revolve around them, and that trials and difficulties are a normal, character-building part of life.

What do you refuse to do for your children? Would you agree or disagree with my list?

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