Knit Together

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For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully & wonderfully made, your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14

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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.

6 Responses to “MOR Monday ~ Pressure”

  1. 1

    Oh my yes, girl, you hit the nail right on the head!

  2. 2

    i struggle with the sharing thing too. I want to force Ran to share just b/c it’s the right thing for him to do, so “get used to it!” But Dave has been slowly over time teaching him that it is his choice to share or not… telling him all the options, suggesting ways of sharing, talking it through with him, etc.

    As a result, now when we give Ransom the choice to share or not(with Rhys, with us, with kids at daycare, etc.) he’ll take a good long time to decide, he’ll work through with an adult (or the kid) all the options and 9 times out of 10 he will share. The great thing about it is that he made his own choice, he feels empowered, he learns the power of his own voice & he will likely grow up to be a kid who shares. I’m so thankful for Dave’s patience in this, b/c teaching him this value (as opposed to forcing it on him -what I would have done) has been long and hard and actually really frustrating for me. However, I really see the fruit of it now, since Ransom is such a tender soul, a bit of a push-over and an overly compliant people-pleaser… it’s important that we teach him his voice, and I’m so glad my husband worked hard to do this.

    It’s rough though. today is one of those days, that parenting is completely overwhelming to me. ;(

  3. 3

    I love you! I love your honesty. It makes me feel like I am no the only mommy who is slowly screwing up my kids daily:) Not that you are…I just mean that’s what I feel like. This is the hardest job I have ever had and you don’t really even know if you are doing a good job till they are all grown and it’s too late! Personally I just pray but then I forget to pray then I pray again to ask for forgiveness for not praying first. It’s a viscious cycle:) Anyway, for us perfectionist (you and me that is) life is full of imperfection and that is hard to live with!

  4. 4
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  5. 5
    Claudia Maguire:

    keep blogging. This stuff is really interesting. Wish I knew how to put my words on a blog.

  6. 6

    Grace: I love that idea, and I love hearing how well it has worked for Ran! I’ll definitely be stealing it. I think Andy & I are similar to you & Dave, where Andy is so patient and I tend to want to just “make it happen!” quite often.

    Andrea: I love you too, and I know you “get me” which makes me love you even more.

    Claudia: Your FB updates are hilarious, I think if you tried blogging you might be surprised by what you are capable of :o )

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