Today was a pretty good day. The kids were well-behaved and I didn’t yell too much. My oldest helped me hang a few decorations in Baby’s room, and I helped him with his Legos. We ate dinner together as a family, baked brownies and sang “Wheels on the Bus.” When bedtime rolled around, the boys brushed their teeth and went right to sleep. It was nice.
Of course, not every day is like this, unfortunately.
Some days I wake up tired and grouchy. I spend way too much time on Facebook mindlessly scrolling through my newsfeed while the boys fuss and fight over who gets to play with what toy.
Some days I don’t have the motivation to clean, or play, or do anything at all really. So I don’t. I send the boys to their room to go play and then spend most of the day counting down the minutes until nap time, then til bedtime, praying just to make it through.
And then, before I know it, the entire day is gone, and I have nothing good to show for it.
It’s not pretty. And it makes me feel terribly guilty.
Do you ever have days like these? Please tell me you do!
On days like these–the really bad days–it’s easy to feel like a failure. Like every other mom has it all together, but for some reason I’m just messing things up.
After all, every time I scroll through Facebook or Pinterest I’m reminded of all of the awesome things I *could* be doing and all of the awesome memories I *could* be making… that I’m not.
Ahhh…. mommy guilt. It’s a real thing! Sure, we tell ourselves that no one is perfect and that it’s okay to make mistakes–but do we really believe it? Sometimes it’s hard to.
Well, the truth is, it isn’t just okay to make mistakes–our kids NEED to see us make mistakes! (Yes, really!) And here are three reasons why.
Three Reasons Your Kids Need to See You Make Mistakes
1. It Provides an Opportunity to Teach the Gospel
When you completely blow it with your kids, how do you respond? Do you go on with your day and act like nothing ever happened? Do you stubbornly cling to your own way? Why not use it as a teaching opportunity to share the Gospel instead?
Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Thankfully, no matter how many times we mess up, we have a Savior that died for our sins and who goes on loving us and forgiving us anyways.
After you make a mistake is the perfect time to sit down with your children and say something like, “Man, I really blew it earlier. I’m so sorry. We all mess up sometimes, don’t we? That’s why I’m so very thankful for Jesus. Not only did he die to take away the eternal consequences of our sin, but no matter how much we mess up, he still keeps loving us and forgiving us every time. That’s pretty special isn’t it? Do you think you can forgive me too, like Jesus does?”
From important lessons on sin, forgiveness, Heaven, Hell and everything in between–mistakes can provide the perfect time to have some great teaching discussions.
2. It Helps Them Cultivate Godliness
Humility, gentleness, forgiveness, empathy… These are important skills that all Christians need to develop, and when you make mistakes with your children, you’re providing your children the perfect opportunity to do so. Not only can you model for your children how to ask for forgiveness and keep trying after you have failed, but your children will likely naturally learn some gentleness, kindness and consideration for others’ feelings as they do their best not to make mom more upset when she’s grouchy!
So many of the lessons our children learn in relationship with us and with each other directly prepare them for their relationship with Christ–we just have to realize it and seize the opportunity when it comes our way!
3. It Provides a Valuable Learning Opportunity
When you tell your children to do something–how do they respond? Do they listen right away or do they ask “Why?” (My oldest is a chronic “Why”-er. He doesn’t even mean to disobey; he just wants to know!)
As annoying as it can be to have your children question you instead of immediately doing as they are told, asking “Why” does serve an important lesson–it helps children understand why something is good/bad/necessary/unnecessary so they can make better decisions in the future, when they must eventually being to make decisions on their own.
If you always tell your children to obey “because you say so” ( #guilty ), they are going to have a more difficult time trying to figure out the right thing to do as they grow up and encounter new and challenging situations.
Okay, so where am I going with this?
When you share the stories of your mistakes and failures with your children, you provide them with their “why.”
It’s one thing to say lying is wrong. It’s another to share the story of the time you told a lie and you lost your best friend because of it. It’s one thing to say studying is important. It’s another to share the story of how you had to repeat a grade or how you got turned down for an important scholarship because you didn’t study like you needed to.
When we share our stories of our failures with our children, we turn a boring and forgettable instruction into a compelling lesson they are unlikely to forget anytime soon.
And if you’re worried that your children won’t listen to you or respect you because of a less than honorable past, don’t be. Your kids don’t need to learn important life lessons from someone who did everything right. They need to learn important life lessons from someone who knows because they’ve been there.
Do you ever feel like a failure as a parent? What causes you to feel that way? What can you do to change your behavior–and your attitude?