Monday, August 24, 2015

Don't Tell Me I'm a Good Mom

I'm a bad mom. I sleep too late. I don't cherish every moment. I complain when my daughter wakes up in the middle of date night. I leave her on the floor so I can get on Facebook. I let her cry. I leave her diaper on too long. I get impatient when she cries. I don't do these things all the time, but I do them enough. I'm a bad mom.

When you compare me to some moms, maybe I'm not too bad. I may make mistakes sometimes, or have a bad day every now and then, but in general, I'm a pretty good mom. I don't abuse my Bumblebee. I breastfeed, cloth diaper, play with her, read to her, don't let her watch TV.... By a lot of standards, I'm good enough.

Here's the thing, though. I don't want you to tell me I'm good enough. I'm not! I am a bad mom. I'm also a bad wife, a bad sister, a bad daughter, a bad friend. Why is that? Because I'm a bad person. I'm a bad person because I'm part of a fallen world. I'm a sinner. I will never be a perfect mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend. I can try and try, but I am incapable of being good.

When you tell me I'm a good mom, I know you're lying. You may think I am, but a truly good mom wouldn't do those things. She wouldn't ever let her daughter cry. She wouldn't ignore her baby. She would never become unreasonably upset with her child. When you tell me I'm a good mom, and then I do one of those things, I feel guilty. I feel like I've failed. The weight of being a bad mom gets heavier and heavier, and the more I feel like a bad mom, the more likely I am to do bad mom things.

When you tell me I'm a bad mom, but I've been redeemed, I feel relieved. I know I don't have to carry the weight of being a bad mom around any longer. I can try again. I will try again. And I will fail again. I will never be a good mom, because as a sinner, I can't stop sinning. But as a redeemed child of God, I am a good mom.

So the next time you hear me say, "I'm a bad mom," don't jump to correct me. Agree with me. Say, "Yes, you're a bad mom. But that's okay, because Someone died to redeem that bad mom. You're now a good mom, not because of your power, but because you've been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ!"

On this earth, I am simul iustus et peccator; I am simultaneously good mom and bad mom. One day I will leave this body behind and no longer carry the weight of being a bad mom, but until that day, I will acknowledge that I am a bad mom, because a mom who's good on her own doesn't need Christ. A bad mom does. And I need Christ.

I'm a bad mom.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Raising a Woman Proud in Her Femininity

We live in a culture that has destroyed what it means to be a woman. We applaud men living as women, celebrate gay marriage, and fill our vision with distorted images of beauty. As a mother, I am terrified of trying to raise godly men and women surrounded by images like these. I know I need to start early to counteract the culture, so I have begun to think about what I will do to raise my daughter to be proud of her femininity. These are just a few of the things I intend to do throughout my life to help my daughter become a godly woman.

Celebrate feminine milestones. Being a woman is a beautiful thing, but she will never learn to recognize that beauty if I ignore the feminine milestones in her life. When I started my first period, for example, my mom took me to get a manicure with her, just me and her, as a celebration of my entrance into womanhood, and I intend to do something similar with my Bumblebee every time she reaches a new stage in life as a woman.

Teach her to treasure her body. There is a ridiculous amount of body-shaming in both Christian and non-Christian circles. Some parts of the purity movement teach girls to cover their bodies out of fear of the reaction of the men around them. Some parts of the secular culture teach girls to show their entire bodies to assert their freedom and independence, or to attract a man. Neither of these teachings is correct. I need to teach her that her body, God's unique creation, has value, and as such, it is only for herself, and one day, if God wills it, for the man who becomes her husband.

Show her what a good marriage is. It is my responsibility to show my daughter what the vocations of wife and mother entail, as my mother showed me. By loving me in his words and actions, my husband will be setting standards for our daughter's future husband (if God wills that she has one), and by loving my husband with my words and actions, I will be setting standards for how my daughter should live out her vocation of wife.

Teach her appropriate standards for sexuality. A mother's responsibility to her daughter regarding her sexuality goes beyond teaching her about the mechanics and to abstain from intercourse marriage. I will teach my daughter that, like her body, her sexuality is a gift, to be used in marriage within the boundaries God has established. As my mother taught me, I will teach her to safeguard it as a young single, and to generously gift it to her husband as a married woman.

This will not be an easy undertaking. From the moment she was first conceived, my husband and I received a lifelong challenge, given to us by God, to raise her to the best of our abilities to live as His creation, and I pray that He will guide us to live out this vocation of parents well.

Mothers, fathers, what would you add to this list? How do you (or did you) raise your daughters to be godly women?