1. Do I let my kids watch too much TV/screen time with devices? I have no idea what the balance is. But I know it doesn’t help to compare to what other moms are doing because I can either feel really good about the limits I’m setting with my kids, or really bad, depending on which mom I talk to.
2. Am I teaching/training/disciplining my kids the ‘right’ way? I know there’s no one right method, but I know some are more effective than others, depending on the child. Basically, what I’m asking is this: am I parenting in such a way that my kids won’t grow up to be spoiled, ungrateful people who demand their way and are unprepared for the real world?
Note: I have read pretty much every parenting book out there. No joke. Discipline is a HUGE area of insecurity for me as a mom because I am like: I have no idea what the heck I am doing!!! I don’t feel mature enough nor responsible enough to parent/teach/train my own kids! Heck, I’m still trying to figure out myself!
But what I DO know is this: there comes a point when asking everyone else’s opinion and reading every expert’s viewpoint on discipline becomes detrimental. Looking for answers from everyone else only lowers my confidence and causes confusion over what is best for my family.
3. Am I teaching them to love God and to desire to be in relationship with Him? Or am I focusing on their outward behavior without reaching their heart, without addressing the deeper motives of selfishness, pride, jealousy, that are at the core of their actions? And even more…will they chuck their faith as soon as they get out of the house?
4. Am I setting them up to be ‘successful?’ Am I reading enough to them? Am I getting them involved in the right activities (too many? too little?)? Are they going to the ‘right’ school? Heck, I don’t expect them to get into Harvard or anything. All I want is for them to find a job they enjoy, where they are using the skills God gave them, and make enough money to support their family and love the Lord. But am I doing all the ‘right things’ now to help them attain this?
5. Am I spending enough quality time with them? As someone who has gone from being a full-time stay-at-home mom to a part-time working mom with kids in full-time childcare, I have experienced the struggles of both sides. And I haven’t found the right balance. I long to be with my kids when they are not with me, but after a few minutes of being with them, I want to tear my hair out.
I debated how to wrap us this article because I don’t have any answers for anyone. I’m an insecure mom and from what I gather, there are lots of us out there. What I do know, after enduring two years of crippling anxiety and depression that stemmed mainly from the issues I listed above, especially the area of discipline, I know this:
There are no clear, black and white answers to these questions. A lot of times, the answer is: it depends. I don’t like that answer. I want clear rules to follow. But maybe, God designed it that way for a reason.
What I do know is this: I have learned to follow my gut, which, for as a Christian, I would call the Spirit’s leading, God’s gentle voice that is barely audible amidst all the noise of our hectic world. But it’s there. I only have to pause and wait and ask for His help. He will respond.
In those moments – when my kids are melting down, when I don’t know how I am going to get through the bedtime routine, when I’ve signed up for months of swim lessons and it’s become an event I dread because they are being disruptive and not listening to the instructor, I have learned to stop and ask: God, help! What do I do in this moment? I have no idea! Help!
And then…He answers. (In the case of the swim lessons, the answer was: QUIT! Even though I paid for another month, QUIT!).
The voice comes gently, kindly, and tenderly. It is a voice that says: I love you, I’ve got you. And your children. Trust me. Seek me. Lean on me. Cast your burdens, your worries, your fears on Me. I can carry them. As your children are to you, you are the apple of my eye. Rest in Me. I will show you the path to follow.
For all you insecure mommas out there – let’s cling to Him. Seek His voice. Wait for the whisper. He will guide us.