What “good” moms are supposed to do

Okay, I totally have become a new fan of Cynthia Yanof. She is a parent expert extraordinaire. I loved being on her podcast, MESSmerized, in April, and then I ran across this blog which both inspired me and totally cracked me up. Read this blog and you may become a fan too.

What “good” moms are supposed to do

By the time our second child, Brett, came along, I was pretty sure I had the parenting thing all figured out since, you know, I’d been a mom for like three years or something.

Interestingly enough, I’ve found the teeniest bit of parenting experience, coupled with a moderately compliant firstborn, brings out a mom’s very most inner-sanctimoniousness. I recently heard someone say young moms write how-to books on parenting while older moms write how-to books on prayer.

I must have been in the thick of my how-to parenting book when Brett hit first grade and God had some work to do in me. I had just finished leading a prayer meeting for the moms at our school when I saw the voicemail from his first-grade teacher. I returned the call only to learn Brett had been real busy flipping off his colleagues before school that morning.

According to Noah (still one of his closest friends to this day), Brett flipped off everyone and everything in the cafeteria, including the ceiling … which Noah translated as flipping off Jesus. And since flipping off Jesus is no bueno in a small private Christian school, Brett and I got a talkin’ to.

(That’s when I began writing how-to prayer books.)

A few months later I received yet another call from the school, this time letting me know that Brett was falling behind in reading. They were putting him in the reading club, which was one of the few “clubs” at our new school we had hoped not to join. Essentially, it’s a great program for kids who need an extra boost in reading; however, it also means you’re not reading at grade level and are in need of said boost.

Naturally, I interpreted the teacher’s phone call as the beginning of the end and went straight down a path of insanity like this: Since he isn’t successful in first grade, there’s no way he can make it through elementary school. And with no basics under his belt, he won’t finish high school and definitely not college. There’s no hope for future job opportunities and so the best we can do at this point is just make him comfortable.

I know, right?

So a few short hours later, I found myself driving tearfully to school to pick up Brett, wondering how I was possibly going to relay the tragic news to him. I was sure this day marked the beginning of Brett being set apart from his peers, labeled, and treated as not good enough because he struggled academically.

Now, sweet Brett, unaware of all my internal crazy, bounced right out of that school, and before the car door even closed, he declared, “It was the best day ever, Mom! I got picked for the reading club!”

Let’s agree to disagree, kid.

It seems his teacher had quite reasonably explained the reading club model to him while also mentioning he had several friends joining him for this great adventure. Brett was thrilled to have been “picked,” and aren’t we thankful his teacher got to him before I did?

Not Good Enough

There’s really no substitute for the gift of time and perspective. Brett is now in high school, and I’m grateful for a broader lens as I look back. Although, thankfully, Brett reads fine now, those early reading club days marked the beginning of some tough roads we walked with Brett academically.

My struggle was always in the messaging and not the messenger, hearing words that seemed to imply my son was different or broken or not good enough.

Of course, that’s not at all what anyone was saying—but that’s what I heard, and I couldn’t stand the thought of him lacking anything in any way. I would have gone to any lengths to shield him from this because I thought that’s what good moms were supposed to do.

I realize now Brett was in fact being broken down. Just not in the ways I had feared. Just as fire is used to purify gold, the Lord began to so graciously use Brett’s struggles to take away the impurities of self-sufficiency, arrogance, and pride while replacing them with hard work, empathy, and kindness.

All my fears of Brett being labeled, set apart, and feeling inadequate faded as I began to see him labeled … with kindness. Or set apart … for his faith. And learning that he’s truly not good enough … but he can trust in the One who is.

And you know what really gets me?

In my most well-intentioned yet fearful moments, I would have robbed Brett of all that God was doing because it wasn’t a part of my plan. I couldn’t yet see the nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic God was creating in him that would later impact not only Brett’s academics but also his friendships, athletics, faith, and drive to succeed.

The very path I had so desperately hoped to shield Brett from has been our most tangible evidence of God working in and through his life. 

Parenting has repeatedly taught me that you don’t know what you don’t know. But thankfully, God does.

That’s just who God is. He’s the one who. . .

  • In your most mind-blowing, soul-crushing, agenda- interrupting parts of life, promises to work all things for your good and his glory
  • Brings beauty from the ashes of your struggling marriage, financial missteps, friendship losses, and
  • Is trustworthy even when life goes off script and all your parenting dreams seem to be slipping through your fingers
  • Asks us to lay off the mom judgment and walk hard roads with those simply trying to figure it out like we all are
  • Brings eternal significance to your deepest parenting struggles if only you will believe forward in his greater plan for your family

Today is a great day to pray your most ridiculous parenting prayers and wait with dogged anticipation for his answers. It’s the day to gather your Ebenezers—the reminders of where God’s been so faithful in the past—and declare with every ounce of grit and determination that you will trust him today.

Today is the day to stop worrying about what “good moms are supposed to do” and live as a godly mom who knows what she’s called to do. 

And so, as we wait together patiently, believing forward in a God who works in the hardest places of parenting, let’s figure out ways to celebrate the metaphorical reading clubs by trusting that God’s got this.

“Adapted from Life Is Messy, God Is Good © 2024 Cynthia Yanof. Used by permission of David C Cook. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.”

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Cynthia Yanof

Cynthia is a wife, mother, podcaster, blogger, and everyday girl who is committed to not taking herself too seriously. She hosts the popular MESSmerized podcast, and spends her days laughing, parenting, and praying for her family to chase after their God-sized dreams. Her first book, Life is Messy, God is Good, is available for pre-order now on Amazon.

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