The Imperfect Parent

This post is inspired by a conversation I had with a very good friend of mine.

It is very easy to go throughout the day as a parent and only see all the things we are doing wrong. We wonder how our children will remember us when they get older. Will they remember us yelling all the time? Will they remember how we were tired sometimes and needed a break? Or how sometimes we just reached our emotional limit and had nothing left to give? Or will they consider us, in true Mary Poppin fashion, to be practically perfect in every way and forget all about our downfalls and failures? I’d like to believe that they will remember neither, but something far more valuable.

Romans 3:23- “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.”

Romans 3: 10- “As it is written, ‘None is righteous, no not one.'”

I think it is important, as parents, to express to our children that there is only one person that is and has ever been perfect. Christ was the embodiment of God, perfection in human form. That’s quite the bar to put ourselves up against.  We can try, every day, to be the BEST parents to our children that we can be but there are times when we just are not going to do that well. We are going to have those “bad mommy/daddy” days. The important thing is what we DO with those days. On what note will they end?

Case and point:

The other day was a baaaad day. My husband had been out of town for a couple days and I just didn’t have anything left to give. I was run down, exhausted and frustrated. Unfortunately, I had no one else to take my frustrations out on but my kids. They fell victim to my fallibility and by the end of that day I was riddled with guilt, thinking I surely had ruined them forever.  I had two choices at that point. I could leave it alone, put them to bed, and know that they would wake up in the morning having forgotten everything -OR- I could address my behavior and teach them a valuable lesson. Individually I pulled them aside before bed. And one by one I apologized to them. I explained to them that mommy’s make mistakes, they make a lot of mistakes, but we have a Father in Heaven that forgives and helps us. Mommy’s need just as much help from God as any body else does, sometimes we need even more help. I asked them if they would pray for me, because mommy’s need prayers too.

I didn’t have to end the day like that. I truly could have just put them to bed and they would’ve woken up and cuddled in bed with me the next morning as if nothing every happened. But instead I was given an incredible opportunity to teach them about the love and forgiveness of Christ. I made myself vulnerable to them and allowed them to know that it’s okay that they make mistakes as well. Because in the end I’d like to believe that will not remember how awful I was or how perfect, but instead will remember that I was imperfect like everyone else and need Christ’s grace and mercy just as much if not more than they do.