Tiny Tweak #1 To Be A Better Mommy

Should

{SHo͝od, SHəd/Submit} verb 

1. used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.

You shouldn’t have an epidural.

You should have an epidural.

You should use cloth diapers. 

You shouldn’t use cloth diapers.

You should breast feed your baby.

You shouldn’t breast feed your baby.

 You should homeschool your children.

You shouldn’t homeschool your children.

You should let your kids watch media.

You shouldn’t let your kids watch media.

You should educated publicly.

You should educate privately.

You should…

You shouldn’t

You should…

You shouldn’t

Even before a baby is born, a mother is faced with the opposition of “Should”…The culture’s criteria to condemn and criticize a mommy — superimposing demands on her decisions as a parent.

I remember Grant was four-months-old when someone bought us a Baby Einstein video.  But four-months-old was too little for videos!  We, as ‘good’ parents, SHOULD NOT expose him to the television until well after the age of two. If even then!  He should entertain himself with board books and baby-safe toys, allowing his own mind to imagine and develop naturally.

And I agreed. We should  wait.

Until two, itty-biity baby teeth started breaking through Grant’s bottom gums.  I hadn’t seen 2:00 am so consistently since college.  Brent and I were up for hours — shushing and singing and soaking in Ambesol.  And as John 14:27 says, the “Holy Spirit reminds us of everything we need to know,” (ahem) I remembered  that Baby Einstein video tucked away in our entertainment center, hidden behind seasons of Seinfeld.

I all but ran to the cabinet, placing a bouncy front and center of that screen of mental deprivation.  I stuck his little tootsie in that seat so fast it made my head spin and hit play.

He. Was. Mesmerized. That green puppet settled his gums like no shushing could.  Soothing him to a simmer and eventually sending him back to sleep.Unknown-1

But as thankful as I was for my new BFF, Bard the Frog, I still experienced the sting of “should”… knowing that this grey area of motherhood might cause the culture to doubt me. Judge me. Or pull a badge I had earned as a “good mommy” – one for pureeing my own baby food or not using a paci.

The Lord doesn’t put such condemnation on us.  Never once in Scripture does He superimpose demands about recycling Gerber jars, media exposure or public verses homeschool.  God doesn’t give us “shoulds”.  God give us SHALLS.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9

PARENTS: WELCOME HOME. When I read this passage, my heart is light.  This passage is Biblical parenting scaled back to its simplest form. God doesn’t place us under the pressures of SHOULD, but rather offers us the privilege of SHALL.   We shall love the Lord!  We shall keep His commands!  We shall teach them to our children!  Oh the freedom of shall! Here’s the breakdown….

  1. Mom & Dad … Love God With Everything You’ve Got. (Heart, Soul, Mind)
  2. Share this love with your kids.  Talk to your children — all the time, everywhere — about God’s love for them and your love for God.
  3. Instruct your kids by God’s Word.
  4. The End.

I realize when I go back and re-read this passage that I fall away from God’s design for parenting so easily.  And this verse leads me to my first “tweak” to be a better mommy.

INSTRUCT MY KIDS BY GOD’S WORD

It is easy to fall away from Bible reading, devotional time and instruction/disciplining my boys with Scripture.  These things take intention and effort and I will be the first to say, “I am lazy.”

But if I remember that this is a) GOD’S INSTRUCTION TO ME AS A PARENT and b) A PRIVILEGE then I am encouraged to throw out my list of “shoulds” and return to His list of “shalls”!

Here’s a little way I’ve tweaked things…. 11033188_10152622321341930_5365488410435640547_n

Again, don’t be overwhelmed with my creativity here {grimace}.

Meet our Scripture board.  A bulletin board covered simply with 3×5 cards marked with Scripture and key words.  The words shown are redundant sin/disobedience patterns that you might find in the Crenshaw home any given day.  So instead of barking and pleading and telling my boys what they SHOULD be doing, I simply reference God.

What does He have to say about “loving your brother”?  What does God have to say about “whining at mommy”?

How do we use these cards?  Mostly, when I see a behavior needing discipline, I ask that child to go to the board and pull the __________ card.  Then he takes the card to his room and reads it over, ideally praying through his behavior in light of God’s Holy Word.  Then when he is ready, he comes back down and we discuss it.  I am not yelling. He is not crying.  The neighbors aren’t calling child services.  God’s Word is the focus of our discussion…. not my opinion on how he “should” act.

Then whatever action needs to be taken follows.  (Typically this is an apology to a brother.)

 

10388581_10152622321976930_5236490709670003504_n
If the incident is a little too heated, I might go to the board and pull a card.  I read it to myself and pray these scriptures over my child, knowing God’s Word never returns empty but accomplishes its purposes (Isaiah 55:11).

And honestly, I might be the one who needs the card the most.

So let me ask you, have you been living under the pressures of “shoulds” too?  Do you constantly compare your parenting to the invisible list of “You Should Do This”?

Today, I encourage you to stop all of that mommy madness.

Toss your list of “shoulds” and replace it with God’s list of “shalls”… God’s list is easy and His burdens are light.

Join me as I get back to the basics of parenting – God’s Word.

This one simple simple tweak can change a mama.  And change her babies, too.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

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4 thoughts on “Tiny Tweak #1 To Be A Better Mommy

  1. Becky, can you take a picture of the front of your cards and the backs? Or maybe the behavior/verse? This would be a great project for my Bible study group of moms. I’d love the cheat sheet so we don’t have to looks up all the behaviors 🙂 great idea!! Especially with spring break coming up!

I means so much to hear from you!

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