Last night I was scrolling through Facebook and I got sucked into an article that said, “doing these 5 things will ensure well-balanced kids.” As I scanned the bullet points my main thought was “duh,” but that wasn’t what got me. The thing was after I exited out of the article, two posts down on my Facebook newsfeed was another blog post that said something like, five ways to ruin your kids. It just made me wonder, what in the world did we do before we had all these articles telling us how to be an awesome, perfect parent?!
Like, my poor mom. She just had to rely on maternal instinct and maybe some advice from her own mother. Thinking back, I’m pretty sure she screwed up a time or two. Yep. But here’s the thing. I love that woman more than any person I’ve ever encountered, and I think she was a wonderful mom. Darn near the best. She dressed up as a peanut for my fourth grade field’s day and made a dish for Chinese Day before Pinterest existed. She drew my book covers (the ones made from paper bags) free-handed, and let me tell you, those things rocked. I was the envy of every eight grader I knew. She also smacked me in the face when I was eight for talking back, and she let me run free in coyote-infested woods from sun-up to sun-down. She gave me an adult book on sex when I was in sixth grade, and there was no passcode on our satellite TV. She wasn’t perfect. Yet she was. You get me?
Here’s the thing. I’m a bad mom. Wait, wait. Don’t try to tell me any different. You don’t see it when I lose my cool. I don’t share those moments on Instagram. Sometimes I scream and rant. Sometimes I drop the bad word of bad words. More than once, actually. But when I’m not busy being a bad mom, guess what? I’m a pretty darn good one. I might even venture to say a great one.
Sometimes I feed my children fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Other times they ask for ice cream for breakfast, and I think, sure, it’s got milk, right?
Sometimes I am the most patient teacher you have ever seen. But I still remember that time I yelled at my first grader while she was trying to read and I made her cry.
Sometimes I reach that perfect balance between logical protection while still allowing autonomy. Other times I lock myself in the bathroom and let the six year old watch everybody. Thank you, Lord, for your host of angel armies.
Sometimes I foster learning and creativity by letting my children help me in the kitchen. Other times I scream, “get out of here right now before I kill you!” Yes, I said kill. I told you bad, right?
Some days I do everything right, but other days it feels like I do everything wrong. I probably do, but I’ve learned to cut myself a little slack. I think we’re all bad parents if we’re honest about it. But then we’re also really, really good parents. We live in the age of information overload where everyone overshares their opinion on how to be practically perfect in every way, but the only truth of the matter is there’s no such thing. You can read every article, book, and blog post known to man. You can study them like crazy, and make a resolve to be a better you. But then that human nature thing will get in the way. We’re fallible, imperfect beings. We weren’t meant to never make mistakes. In fact, we kinda teach our kids a thing or two about God’s grace when we foul it all up.
I do try. And I’ll never stop trying. I figure it’s my job to raise my gang in a way that pleases the Lord and makes them well-balanced and adjusted adults. But I also know I won’t hit the mark every single time. I’m cool with that. They know I love them more than the air I breathe, and that’s gotta count for something. I may not always give them the best of everything, but I give them my time and attention. Sometimes I’m a bad parent, and I’m even a disgrace to the plethora of well-written articles that exist to make me a better mom. But other times I blow those blogs out of the water with my awesome momma skills. It kinda evens out. Or that’s what I tell myself so I don’t collapse in the corner crying over my failure to do all five bullet points in that last article I read.