Thursday, December 18, 2008

Confessions of a Mean Mom

So, my Facebook friends read my status yesterday about being a "mean mom" and know that we've been having discipline issues here. I won't say what or with whom, because I don't want to embarrass her, and because it's over now basically. But the whole incident caused me to do some reflecting.

Frankly, when it comes down to it, I'm a pretty lousy parent. Now, before all my sweet, kind friends get up in arms to protest and tell me to get to a shrink and find some self-esteem . . . I know of whence I speak. Mothering does NOT come naturally to me. And I'm not talking about how we're all sinners and selfish and such. I have friends whom I watch with their kids, and I become well aware that they have some nurturing gene that is weak in my DNA. Not missing, but weak.

Not that I abuse my girls -- you all know better than that. And I do love both of my girls desperately. But I have to work much too hard not only to do the right thing by them, but even to just enjoy them sometimes. I'm very self-centered, self-focused . . very controlling . . rather impatient . . not good with long-term projects and situations (which parenting would qualify as).

But what occurred to me yesterday is that perhaps this is by God's design. Because while I'm not naturally good at parenting, I am naturally good at a lot of other things. I know many people think that is a blessing (and I'm not ungrateful for the gifts God has given me), but the problem is that when a person is able to accomplish a lot in her own strength, she gets a big, fat head and forgets who gave her that ability in the first place.

I'm starting to wonder . . . perhaps God is intentionally not answering all my prayers to make me a wonderful parent . . . perhaps He needs to keep reminding me, "See, this is the real you. In all your ugliness. Don't ever forget that -- all that is good in you is actually me, and all the good that's in your kids is not your doing either" . . . perhaps he lets me fail in this area specifically to keep me dependent on Him. If I were a wonderful parent on my own--if it came naturally to me as it does to so many of my friends--then I would take credit for that feat, too. As it is, I am all too painfully aware that if my girls grow up sane and healthy (which I expect they will), it will be entirely by the grace of God.

So maybe this is my thorn in the flesh. My thing to keep me humble, dependent -- to keep my head appropriately sized. If so, I suppose I should welcome it and just let it do its work. That would be the wisest response, yes?

Oops -- don't let me start thinking I'm wise. Big, fat head issues again . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally relate to this, Gwen. Most of the time I feel that I too, fall dreadfully short of a "good parent". As Paul says in Romans, thanks be to God (for so many things)...for it will only be by His grace that any of our kids will survive our imperfect human efforts. I love reading your blogs...but boy do we miss you. It's been an awesome Advent season at Hope and you would have loved it! Merry Christmas, love you sister, Marilyn