Just recently, I went out for coffee with some very lovely mamas I know. We got on the topic of doing what was right for our children, even when it means hurting someone else's feelings. I loved what my friend said, "My children come first. If the adult gets upset, too bad! They are adults and can get over it!" Man! I wish I had that courage! I hate stirring up the pot (that's a little birth order action right there!), and I try to "make friends" out of situations. But so many times, that means I sit by and let things happen when I know they shouldn't.
I work hard at being a good mommy to my children, and I'm sure many times it comes across as me being too strict. I have high expectations for my kids! I expect them, within reason, to act like they have sense in public. It's not unusual for me to say "Do not jump on the shelves at Wal-Mart!", "No! Do NOT eat that chip laying on the floor of the bathroom!", "Say 'Thank you' to the cashier, even if she isn't nice.", "NO RUNNING IN THE SANCTUARY!", and, most frequently, "No, you cannot have that piece of candy."
I have actually been called out about my parenting efforts. I have been under-minded. I have been told to give my kids a break (and sadly, many of this is from members of my own family).
I know my kids' limits. (You do not)
My kids can't handle sugar very well. I kid you not, less than a minute after a piece of candy, and my children literally are jumping off the walls. Literally. And when they were younger, it was cuuute for the little toddlers to run around the sanctuary after church while the adults fellowship. But because I let it go when they were younger, I now have to re-train my 7, 6, and 3 year olds to not run (and crawl under the pews and play on the church drums and stand behind the glass pulpit). While all the other kids are still running around, my kids are repeatedly warned to resist the urge. And when we are in a grocery store (or other public places), I have a rule. They must be within arm's reach at all times.
I don't think those expectations are outrageous. Recently I was put in a frustrating position. I was at a get-together that had candy, cake, and sugary drinks (no, that was not all that was offered, but it was some MAJOR temptation for my children). Someone, who is close to me, encouraged my children to be disobedient. I specifically told my children they couldn't have certain sugars at the party. They had already had the sugary drinks, after I told them they could have the lemonade, water, or tea that was offered. They had already had cake. And they were crazy! They were running around like they had no sense, being disrespectful to the adults at the party, and one even fell into the marsh next to where the party was being held...all in part to the excessive amounts of sugar they already had. So when I heard another adult at the party (thinking it was funny) encouraging my children to "sneak" some of the candy that was set out, my blood was starting to boil. Not only had I already expressed that I didn't want them to have candy, but to tell my kids to do it and hide it from me was about it for me. BUT instead of saying something to the adult, I decided it was time to remove my children from the situation. I didn't have the guts to say something to the adult for fear of causing a rift in our relationship.
And that has to stop. My kids come first!
Before I had kids, I was very adamant about doing everything I could to make sure I prepared my body by eating right, exercising, and drinking little to no alcohol as possible (I didn't drink any alcohol until I was 22, and then it was only a few drinks a year). When I began having children, I made major efforts to give them proper training so they would grow into respectable, responsible adults. I don't want any regrets. I am prayerful in the way I raise my kids. "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6. Teaching high school kids has shown me multiple times where parents waited until their children were older to properly discipline. And it rarely works. You could tell the kids whose parents took an effort to raise their kids correctly from an early age. I knew that I wanted to make sure my children were not only respectful, responsible adults, but that they understood why. God commands you to be respectful of each other...parents and children alike (Ephesians 6). They are told to respect their father's teachings, and to remember all their mother's instructions (Proverbs 1:8). I'm not being a mean mommy, I'm just trying to train them to be good people who love the Lord and respect instructions.
All I ask is that people respect that. Of course if it seems like I'm going a little overboard, of if I'm losing my cool, they are welcome to politely pull me aside and say something. I am not perfect, but boy I am trying so hard to prepare my children for their future.
|Me and my crazy kids!|