My goal as a mother is to raise my children to be wonderful adults that are hard-working, kind, and loving. I expect them to admit their mistakes and try to correct them. I expect them to reach out and help others. I expect them to exercise self-control when appropriate. I don’t expect perfection from them, so why do I sometimes expect it from myself?
There are times when I look around and make myself personally responsible for everything that is wrong in my world.
If my children are less than perfect… I blame myself.
If they bicker… it’s my fault.
If I ask a child to do something and they don’t… it’s a personal affront.
When I feel like this, it’s as if I am making myself the center of everything. But I’m not the center, and it’s not all about me. I have ten people living in my house, and while I have to parent eight of them, they are still independent people who will make their own decisions.
Sometimes they’ll make good decisions, and sometimes they’ll make bad decisions. I can guide them in their decision-making process, but I can’t control them. I discipline them appropriately when they make bad decisions so they can grow and make better choices the next time.
If I make everything that goes wrong around me, my fault, that is not a healthy reaction. I’ve come to recognize those feelings as a sign of being overwhelmed. Because when I take the time to take a deep breathe, and think about things, I know that it isn’t all about me.
My children are sinners. They are not perfect. And they’re not going to act like they are. They’re not out to get me, and it’s not all my fault. Even if I were the perfect parent (which I could never be), they would still not be perfect children.
So when I feel like I’m a failure as a mom, I recognize that I need to slow down and reassess. I go back and revisit my Circle of Influence. Because almost always, if I’m feeling like a failure, my Circle of Influence has grown too large and I need to shrink it down. I do the best that I can and I pray for God to fix what I mess up.
While I was searching online for something a few days ago, I came across an article written by the mother of one of the Colombine killers. It was heartbreaking. I remember when that massacre happened how everyone blamed the parents. But she sounded like a normal mother who made normal mistakes. She tried to teach her son right and wrong, and yet her son still made very bad decisions.
That article really scared me. I will never be so self-righteous as to say something horrible like that could never happen in my family. It could. And it really made me think.
It’s not all about me. And it’s not all about my children. It’s all about God. I need to be the best mother I can be to my children. I need to actively parent them, guide them, and discipline them. And then I need to trust God for the decisions they make.
What about you? Do you blame yourself for your children’s behavior too much? Or not enough?