MOR Monday ~ Pressure
As a Mom I of course love it when others tell me how sweet, fun, well-behaved my children are. I beam when I pick up Charley from nursery and hear nothing but praise of how great it is to have her there.
But there is a darker side to those wonderful compliments. It’s called pressure. I wonder if I am the only Mom who sometimes wishes people liked my children a little less. That they would be more difficult, less obedient. I know that sounds insane, but as a result of friends saying how perfect my children are all the time I realize I often put pressure on them in subtle ways to keep it up.
Charley, for example, tends to be a people pleaser. She responds well to positive reinforcement and loves to be praised. I use that to my advantage at times, but I also want to be careful. I don’t want Charley to start believing that her worth, her value, is attached to her obedience. I want her to know she is loved when she makes good choices and she is loved when she makes poor ones. And I have to work hard to not make parenting choices based on public opinion.
A great example. When Charley is playing with other kids she is generally a pretty easy going kid, but she is also 2 and struggles with concepts like sharing. I am often tempted to force her to share anything and everything no matter what, to always be the “bigger person” and not fuss when she doesn’t get her way. But that is totally unrealistic! She shouldn’t always have to give up a toy she wants to play with, and she is allowed to express her frustration (in ways that are not harmful to others) when things don’t go her way. And if another parent thinks less of her or me as a result, I am trying hard not to care.
I want to put her first, not other people’s opinions. And the really sad part, when I’m being honest with myself, is that I feel like her behavior is a reflection on ME. So yet again this wonderful thing called motherhood drags more of my sinful, selfish tendencies to the surface. Being a Mom seems to be the fire God is using to refine me, forcing me to face my selfishness in ways I never have before. It’s amazing, humbling, and sometimes it just plain sucks.
I wanted to end this post with a statement about how I spend a lot of time praying that God would help me fight this urge to pressure my kids into performing…but this is a reality post and that would be a lie. So resisting my urge to sound uber spiritual I will instead say that writing this out has inspired me to spend more time praying for that. And really, I need to spend more time praying period.