Have you fallen for the myth of perfect parenting?
I did. But not for long.
After I woke up to the truth, I sank into a pit of despair, thinking I’m the reason my kids will go broke on therapy!
Mercifully, God rescued me from that pit.
The maddening myth of perfect parenting continues to haunt me occasionally, but I’m glad to no longer be a card-carrying member of that fantasy land.
Edie Melson woke up to the myth fairly early in her journey, as well.
In her latest book While My Child is Away: My Prayers for When We Are Apart, Edie shares one of her less than finer Momma Moments. Bahaha!?
The Myth of Perfect Parenting
Excerpt from While My Child is Away by Edie Melson
Coming into this parenting journey, my goal was to be perfect. Or at least I wanted to be as perfect as possible. I didn’t want anything I did—or didn’t do—to affect my kids negatively. It didn’t take long to figure out this wasn’t going to happen.
I remember one time in particular when I had the best of intentions. Our oldest child was born picky. He had certain likes and dislikes and nothing we tried to do could change them. One of the things he did not like was getting dirty, especially getting his hands dirty. This quirk even affected what foods he ate and how he ate. As a toddler, he refused to pick up any food that would get his hands dirty. This even extended to an aversion of handling things that had crumbs—like crackers and cookies.
This particular day I decided the time had come to introduce him to the fun that could be had by getting his hands dirty. I thought baking cookies would be the perfect way to sneak him into using his hands. I chose a recipe for sugar cookies that required working with the dough and getting messy.
He was fine with helping add the ingredients to the bowl to mix, but when it came time to sprinkle the counter with flour so we could roll out the dough, he balked. No way was he putting flour on his hands. In an effort to get him to loosen up, I flicked flour on myself to show him getting dirty was fun. He laughed, so I thought I’d take it one step further and flicked flour on him. Instead of more laughter, my act was met with howls of anguish as he fled the room. He barricaded himself into the bathroom until I promised no more baking. Definitely not one of my best momma moments.
Eventually he did lose his aversion to getting dirty, but it wasn’t anything I could take credit for. He grew out of it naturally.
Perfect parents don’t guarantee perfect kids. Whether the mistakes we make happen when they’re with us, or when they’re away from us, God can and will affect the outcome. I could have done every single thing right as a mother, and because of free will, any of my sons could have chosen the wrong path. How do I know this is true? Because God is perfect, and look how we turned out. He did everything right, but we still chose to go our own way.
I want to do what is good, but I don’t.
I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
~ Romans 7:19 NLT
Read that last paragraph again.
Now write it out and frame it.
Now read it every day until the Lord calls us home.
There’s nothing so comforting as the truth.
And the truth is that God is in control.
Edie Melson is the mother of three grown boys and the author of several books, including While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those With Loved Ones in the Military. A sought-after writing instructor, Edie serves as the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. Connect with her on her blog The Write Conversation at www.EdieMelson.com, Twitter, and Facebook. Edie and her husband live in Simpsonville, South Carolina.