Before I became a mom, I saw motherhood as a role filled with joy, love, and hope with a sprinkle of frustration and frazzle. These emotions have certainly proven true. Yet there’s one emotion I didn’t imagine feeling, or at least feeling as often as I do these days. I never envisioned experiencing fear.
You experience it too. Fear is interwoven into our daily life as we parent.
While our fears vary, there are 3 fears every mom has.
1. We fear for our kids’ futures.
You name it, we worry about the future of our kids. From bullying to body image, from social media to human trafficking, from who our kids will marry to how the world is changing, we worry about All. The. Things.
Our response to this fear is to nag, correct every minor mistake, say “no” to any device, app, show, experience, or person we don’t know, and passively-aggressively micromanage.
We’re scared that their future depends solely on how we parent today.
But God is sovereign over our kids’ futures.
God says that while how we parent is important, the reality is that He’s ultimately and sovereignly in charge of our children’s future. He has plans for them that are good, regardless of how we parent. He’ll even take the painful parts of their story and redeem them in ways beyond anything we could ask or imagine. God is the author and perfector of their faith and is trustworthy to write their story.
God isn’t surprised by who they befriend and marry, what career they pursue, how they’re treated, and what memories they make. He will use their choices to grow their character and faith. Even when we don’t understand His plan or methods, God has it all figured out, and what He’s figured out is good.
Our role as moms is simply to obey Him as we parent. Are we loving our children, teaching them His truth, being gentle with their hearts, and serving them with love and by faith? Then we’ve done our part, and God’s plan for them will come to pass.
2. We fear we’re not “parenting right.”
We fear that we’re not doing enough as parents, but this fear is a bit sneaky.
This worry isn’t so much about our children as it is about us finding our identity in our parenting and being found “good enough.” We strive to be “Good Mom” so our kids will have a great childhood and so we feel like we’re doing enough.
Our response to this fear is to create a checklist of what “parenting right” looks like: reading 20 minutes every day, having thought-provoking questions at dinner, sharing family devotionals, serving homemade meals, limiting screen time. Now these are all good things, but when we make them as a way to define our worth as a parent, that’s not healthy. This checklist mentality leaves us feeling overwhelmed and a bit ragged around the edges. It certainly leaves us with a loud inner critic when we don’t measure up to our own definition of good parenting.
The bottom line is that we’re fearful that we’ll come up short as parents.
But God says our worth isn’t based on “parenting right.”
God says that our identity and worth don’t come from “parenting right.” God is unimpressed by a completed checklist, but He adores when people have faith. God gave us His Son Jesus who did all things right because He loves a people who rarely do anything right.
As mamas, our role is to live out of the truth of our identity in Christ. When we know that we are fully known, loved, and forgiven, we can parent from a place of hope, rest, and joy knowing our identity isn’t defined by “parenting right.”
3. We fear we’re messing them up.
We worry that all of our quirks and preferences, mistakes and imperfections, yelling and even personality are ruining our kids. We ask ourselves if we’re a good parent… or at least an okay one.
Our response to this fear is to be as perfect as possible, which can lead to anger, exhaustion and frustration when we can’t follow the experts’ advice or every best practice.
The bottom line is that we think we’re responsible for the outcomes and any bad choices they make.
But God alone is responsible for the outcomes.
His job is to hold all things together. God created us to be dependent, to be obedient, and to trust Him. He is the only One who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
Our role as moms is to surrender our children into His never-failing hands because He surrounds them with His never-failing love. When we rest in the truth that God is in charge of the outcomes, we see the love He has for us and our children.
Motherhood doesn’t have to be fear-inducing.
Motherhood is indeed filled with snuggles and sprinkles and laughter and joy and fun, but often what we feel most as mamas is fear. We fear for our kids’ futures. We fear not parenting right. We fear messing them up.
But God’s perfect love drives out all those fears. He has good plans for our children. He tells us that our identity is not found in our ability to parent perfectly. He reminds us that He alone is responsible for outcomes.
This season, let’s not parent out of fear. Let’s allow love to lead.