Moms need to show one another a lot more grace than we do.
We look at a child behaving badly–whether two or sixteen–and immediately blame the mom for some deficiency that caused the behavior.
(It’s curious how we almost never point to Dad–it’s almost always Mom at the receiving end of those wagging fingers and tongues.)
One thing I’ve observed, that seems truer with every passing year, is this: kids, at a very early age, assert their independence, and they often choose to do it through misbehavior.
In addition, every single one of us are born with a free will to do as we please regardless of how we’ve been taught. Granted, some unruly kids haven’t been taught any better. But a lot of the ones who earn our disproving glances have been taught how to act. They just decide to do the opposite. Sometimes repeatedly.
I’ve also learned that some kids–thankfully, not many of them, but some–are like Teflon when it comes to punishment. The verse about the dog stubbornly returning to its vomit comes to mind. Every family I know that has three or more children has at least one Teflon kid and one pretty easy one. The others are usually somewhere in the middle of the extremes.
It’s all too effortless, when a mother has been blessed with an easy kid, to take credit for how well-behaved they are. To be all puffed-up with pride over how well that child is doing and kinda patting yourself on the back when no one is looking. (Or patting yourself on the back while everyone is looking, which is sometimes the case with social media.)
The truth I’m learning is this: your easy kid’s good behavior is probably not any more to your credit than your Teflon kid’s bad behavior is to your blame. He or she has a mind of their own, right? So, there ya go.
One of my greatest struggles throughout this life has been to stop playing The Blame Game. Honestly, I battle that judgmental tendency every single day.
And as a Christian, it’s hilarious, really, because if I “know” why someone is doing what they’re doing, then that is like positioning myself on the same plane of understanding as God.
I think He gets a giggle out of sending us life experiences to teach us that we, most definitely, are NOT Him.
I can almost hear Him laughing when I’m forced to realize that I don’t know squat about anything in my own life, much less someone else’s.
We sing in the Church about Amazing Grace, because truly, the whole concept of it is amazing. It produces amazing things: forgiveness, acceptance, patience.
I don’t know a single person in the world who sits outside of God’s grace, and if I’m gonna call myself His follower, then I have no right to cast another person outside the reach of my grace, either.
Especially not another mama, whose struggle is probably more like mine than either of us realize.