I have a terrible habit of bluffing. Whenever little people refuse to move on my schedule, statements like these tumble out of my mouth.
“Put your shoes on now, or I’m leaving without you.”
“Did you brush your teeth yet? Your sister and I are going to the library, and if you’re not ready, then you can stay here by yourself.”
“Oh, so you don’t want to come down from that slide? Okay then, I’m going home for lunch. I’ll see you later. I hope you can find your way home.”
Cruel mom. Of course I would never actually abandon my children. Why do I say such things?
Because it works, that’s why. The moment I suggest leaving the scene without them, my girls shriek “Nooooooo!” and sprint toward cooperation. Shoes on. Teeth brushed. Tushies in the minivan and off we go.
I know, I know. Even though my bluffing proves effective, it’s still not right. Abandonment is Parenting 101: don’t do it. Don’t threaten it. Kids need to know they are secure. Mom will never leave you.
Unless you’re whining or pokey. Then all bets are off. Ah, just add this to my list of mommy flaws. There is only one Perfect Parent, and I am not it. Thankfully, God is.
“If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is,” (2 Timothy 2:13, NLT).
Every time I mess up, say something I shouldn’t, step on feelings I should’ve nurtured, or display childish behavior that rivals my toddler’s tantrums, I am reminded of why my kids need God.
I am merely their mom.
He is their Creator.
I teach them what I know.
God knows everything.
I fight my hardest not to fail them.
God cannot possibly fail them.
I love them so much, my heart aches.
God is love.
The Heavenly Father hands us his beloved babes and says, “You’re in charge of her for a while.” So we pour our souls into our children’s upbringing. We protect them, hug them, make sure they wear clean underwear and eat their peas. Yet human beings are inherently faulty liaisons for heaven. We’re bound to make mistakes.
Aren’t you glad God never does?
If I leave any legacy at all, let it be that my kids know their Savior because I invited him into our home, even on the messy days. Especially on the messy days. If they grow to know God, then they will be forever secure—in his flawless, unfailing, never abandoning love.
“Girls!” I called to my dawdlers from the kitchen doorway. “Let’s go for a bike ride! Last one in the garage has to eat a bowl of onions for dinner!”
“Coming, Mommy, I’m coming!”
Well, would you look at that—two children with shoes on, ready to move.
I think I’ve found my new bluff.
If this post encouraged you, please pass it on. You might also like How a Wiggles Movie Changed My Life, Good Moms Keep Their Promises, and When You Don’t Feel Like Doing Your Job.
Linking up with: The Better Mom, Playdates With God, Mommy Moments, Titus 2sdays, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Living Well Wednesdays, Grace at Home, Things I Can’t Say and Faithfully Parenting Fridays.
Ashlee @ Laugh with Ash says
I’m definitely guilty of this! Love this post!
I love your mommy authenticity here, Becky. You are so humble and willing to look at your failures with all of us gazing in as well.
This reminds me of the other day when I was at the store and I heard a mom saying something like this to her young trailing son. She moved on down the aisle and suddenly he panicked and came calling urgently for his mommy! I smiled because I knew that phase would not last … since my boys enjoy when I give them room to roam. Enjoy these years, my dear!
And come by my place, Messy Marriage to find my email–you’re one of my winners from last week’s book giveaway. I’ve been trying to reach you and need your mailing address! 🙂
Thank you for this perspective, Beth. Someday my kids won’t want to keep pace with me – and sooner than I imagine, right?
Ilene, The Fierce Diva Guide to Life says
I admit it. I bluff too! Because as you say, it works!
And the really sad thing is that I’m still doing it, even after writing this post!
Just this morning, I told my youngest that if he didn’t put on his jacket, he couldn’t go with me to drop off his brothers at school or go to his field trip.
Though, in this case, I think I actually meant it… since Hubs was still at home and I would have happily forgone the field trip since it was so chilly! 😉
But yes, I sometimes say things like this when I definitely do not mean them.
Wow! Love this and just what my heart needed to hear, do you mind If I use your line about the onion?!! Love your site, you have a new follower!!
The onion is all yours, Kate! Welcome, and thanks so much for reading!
I’m guilty of this…but with my husband 🙂
~ Crystal ~ says
I’m guilty of this too. Sadly, I don’t think there is a parent that hasn’t done this.
My kids have been calling my bluffs since before they could speak full sentences. Fortunately they know that despite all of our faults, we are perfect in our Father’s image!
Wonder what a tarnished trophy wife is.
Love the new bluff! 🙂
Amazing the “tools” to which we parents resort, isn’t it? Bluffing? Check. Bribery? Check.
One of my dearest friends prays over her son every night: “Lord, may I not have done anything in his life today that your grace won’t cover.”