I believe in the mother-instinct.
So here are five things in particular I refuse to apologize for.
1. I will not feel guilty for letting my kids watch some television.
It allows me to to take care of myself and center my day around the One who made it – and so yes, I will put on a show. And I might put one on in the evening before supper, too, because we’re all sick of each other and needing Daddy to come home, and it’s raining outside. Granted, we use Netflix, because it doesn’t bombard my kids with commercials, and I also try to choose programs like Super Why or Sesame Street, which teach my kids things, but sometimes they watch Curious George too, and that’s okay. Everything in moderation.
2. I will not feel guilty for disciplining my children.
I weep for the lawless sons and daughters who are ruling the earth, who say they don’t feel like doing something and then get away with not doing it. I will not hurt my child, but I will discipline him when something he says or does either hurts someone else or goes against our house rules because children thrive off consistency and communication. Love is both boundaries and boundless affection.
3. I will not feel guilty for making food as enjoyable as possible.
I don’t believe in waste, but I also believe food should be enjoyed. I don’t believe in kids getting to eat dessert if they haven’t finished their supper; however, I am teaching my children to listen to their tummies and if they’re full, I will not force them to finish their main course (they still don’t get dessert, though!). I try hard to feed nutritious food, but I also bake chocolate chip cookies and let my boys have “treats” or “rewards” when they do a chore or go on the potty. I want my boys to be aware and convicted that millions of children go to bed hungry every night; however, I also want them to delight in food and to see it as a gift.
4. I will not feel guilty for standing up for “the least of these” in my child’s presence.
For making a fool of myself on behalf of someone who is an underdog, for fighting for the rights of another human being, for appearing “odd” or “weird” while protecting and defending a person who is being hurt. I will fight, and let my sons see what it means to bring justice to a broken world. I will not worry about what others say or think; I will do my best as a mother and as a human to love mercy and seek justice and walk humbly with my God.
5. I will not feel guilty for being a working mom.
Granted, I get to work from home – but it still “takes me away” from my kids for a couple of hours every day, and allows me to express the fullness of the gifts I have been given – gifts which continue to serve, and which allow my children to see mom as a holistic person. I refuse to put myneeds over my kids’; however, I also believe that some space from mommy is good for both of us. Good for them to know they can trust Mommy will always be there for them – but not necessarily right beside them. And good for me to recognize I need that space so I can, in turn, be a better mother.
Moms, we are child-bearers and home-makers and creators in all senses of the word … so let’s stand tall, with our heads high, because we can trust the true Life-Giver who knows our children better than any of us.
So, keep loving and diapering and nurturing, keep believing and hoping and daring to trust the mom-gut you’ve been given.
Because you are a good mom. And your children need you. Desperately.
Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books including the memoir Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (Baker Books). She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. For more info, please visit emilywierenga.com. Find her on Twitter or Facebook.