I don't like to live with regret. I know we weren't created to!
If I've confessed my sin, He faithfully forgives and the sin is no more - I am clean. (see 1 John 1:9) To continue to stay in that place of guilt and regret leaves me paralyzed and refuses the grace God offers to me.
Everyone who's been a parent (and who is honest) knows there are lots of opportunities for regret. We've wondered if we've done something that will permanently scar our kids. We can absolutely beat ourselves up over our mistakes, short- comings and potentially child-wrecking decisions. I can vividly remember second-guessing so many of my decisions. I could make a list of my mothering mess-ups that would fill a book. And I'm absolutely sure my kids could each do the same. But I have to believe that God works despite my failures and refuse to get under a cloud of shame or guilt.
But... I do think it's healthy to learn from my mistakes.
Here are a few of the (many) things I would do differently if I had the chance...
- give my kids way more opportunities to serve others - and do it with them. Growing up as PK's, my girls were often serving at church - helping in the nursery, at VBS, camps, etc... But outside of the church? Not so much. Definitely should have made more time for that.
- be much less concerned about how my house looked. That got better the older they got only because I started to realize what an unpleasant person I was becoming over this. (That's a really sweet-sounding way to say I got a little wacko about wet towels on the bed.)
- given them more jobs to do at home. I was the type who thought it was easier to do it myself - so it got done the way I wanted it done. Control issues, anyone?
- let them
make more messescook more in the kitchen. Again with the control.
- tell them how much I love and delight in them more.
I've heard it said that you know you're a mom when you say at least once a day, "I'm not cut out for this job" but you know you wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Maybe my list will inspire one of you young moms who might be feeling the stabs of mommy-guilt.
Thankfully my kids seem to have survived my parenting inadequacies. Of course we don't know what the long-term effects might be but I pray they remember the good more than the not-so-good. Maybe they'll be like me when I called my mom repeatedly on the phone and told her "Okay, now I get it."
I love those girls more than life itself. I am so thankful that God chose me to be their mom.