Thursday, September 17, 2009

Good Mom, Bad Mom

Surely you've heard of the Good Cop, Bad Cop phenomenon, right?
The former takes a sympathetic, supportive stance toward his subject, convincing the subject that the cop cares and can be trusted.
The latter takes a hard-hitting, no excuses stance toward the subject and shows no signs of grace or mercy.
Somehow the two work together to bring about a desired end. The truth.

Did you know there is also a Good Mom, Bad Mom phenomenon?

I didn't, either.

Actually, I just made it up. Er, I just noticed it.

Sometimes I'm the Good Mom.
I take Joshua fishing. I allow him to keep the snakes he brought home. And the bugs. I let him go to 7-Eleven to get a Slurpee with his friends. And he likes it when I do these things. He tells me he knows I love him because I let him keep the bugs.
And I feel good. Feel like I'm getting this mothering thing "right."
I mean, look at my kid. He's smiling!

But sometimes I'm the Bad Mom.
I tell Joshua to turn off the computer and unload the dishwasher. I look at his room - which he says he cleaned up - and make him come back to do more. Including making the bed. I require him to respond obediently right away, and suffer the consequences if he doesn't. He gets mad. Says I'm not doing a good job of being a mom because he isn't learning anything from my dumb rules.
And I feel like a failure. Feel like I'll never get this mothering thing "right."
I mean, look at my kid. He's crying!

I'm tempted to only play the part of Good Mom. If I am only "nice" all the time, and only do the things that please my children, and only require of them what they want to give, won't they grow up to be the happiest of people and think they had the best mom in the whole world? Why, we would likely avoid all conflicts and my children would never be sad. Wouldn't that be wonderful???

But then I come across things like this and I am reminded of the importance of intentionally shaping my children. Playing Good Mom 24/7 would not make me a "good mom." I cannot let them live in their egocentric worlds and have them believe the world revolves around their desires.
If I am going to be a "good mom," I must find that balance between Good Mom and Bad Mom. I must love my children tenderly, and discipline them with graceful strength. Oh, so easy to write. So much harder to execute.

If only there were someone who could give me a script, a play-by-play description of every day. Then I could get it right. I could know exactly what to expect and how to respond. Dare I say? I could be perfect!
But, alas, there is no script. I must rely completely upon God for the grace to find a balance between Good Mom and Bad Mom. So here I am, on my knees, trusting my Father to make me a good mother. Believing He will work Good Mom and Bad Mom together to bring about the desired end - children who become godly adults.

How are you doing today? Feeling more like Good Mom, or Bad Mom?
We're going to make it. By God's grace, we're going to make it!

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Leah said...

Great thougths. Although I am not a mom, I see parents who are trying to always be their kid's friend and it just doesn't work.

God doesn't always do everything that we like, but He does what He knows is best. Same kind of thing.

God bless you, Karen.


Rosy Caesar said...

Yeah! Tell me that... I guess I am a very very bad mom for the entire week... The term exams (quaeterly) are on, so no TV time, no play time, all the story books back in the rack locked, yep I am a very very bad mom right now. But I know I'd be the best mom in the world from this saturday onwards.LOL. Yes, by HIS grace we're going to make it:)

Jessica said...

I'm in the airport on the way to a conference so I'm not feeling much like a mom at all. LOL
But we absolutely have to be a bad mom in a good way. :-) Good for you. Your son will respect you for it someday. I know I respect my mom now a lot for being strict. We had chores when other kids didn't and hated it. But now I feel like I have a good work ethic because of her standards. :-)

patawal said...

It is hard to be the "Bad Mom" but we know it is for their own good. Many times it is harder on us then them. Keep it up Karen.

Anonymous said...

Doing the right thing, being the "bad" mom is seldom easy. I try to remind myself that my kids don't need a friend, they need a parent. I've noticed that during difficult parenting times, when I do my job and the "bad" parent, my kids may not be too happy, but they definitely feel loved. Great post!

Daveda said...

Well, I am not sure about today...yet, but yesterday I was annoying mom because I was trying to help my 10 year old pick out his first pair of reading glasses. After about 10 minutes of "no, no, no, no, *heavy sigh* no, no, no, from my son, he says "could I just do this myself?" All righty then, I went and sat down saying "Let me know when you have finished." LOL Why didn't he tell me 10 minutes ago, that he would rather do this alone....?

Anyway, I am so glad that you too have heard the "Your dumb rules aren't teaching me anything!" It makes me feel not so alone. My oldest, who is now 18 and moved out, used to say that ALL the time!

for a long time, I thought he might be right....but I am seeing now that I the lessons I taught him when he was young, are still in there somewhere and they are beginning to show.

Plus, I learned a lot along the way as well, and now I get to make new mistakes with the younger two LOL!

WOW! Sorry this is so long!

Jerralea said...

Great article, Karen! It all comes down to that word I dread so much, "balance." It seems if I could just learn balance life would go so much smoother on so many levels ...

I admit I do have problems with this. I always want to be the good mom ... it's hard to be the bad mom, yet I know it is essential.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, it is such a struggle for me to find that perfect balance of Good Mom/Bad, (so far!) I *think* it was a good balance...we'll see what happens when I pick my tired, cranky 4 3/4 yr. old up from Kindergarten this afternoon! LOL!

GREAT post, Karen!! It really helps to know others go through the very same thing!! I just LOVE your site & look forward to reading it every single day! :)
I'm going to email you my blog site...I know you're busy, but I'd love for you to stop by & "meet us" ;)
Patricia nyc

Anonymous said...

Today I'm feeling like GOOD mom! Not because I've been easy on my girls, but because I'm relying on God's grace. Since writing "my husband made me cry" and praying I've had more patience than ever. My mind has been clear and God's granted me wisdom. Thank you Lord.

On Purpose said...

Living freely in His grace and hoping to find the balance He has for me...that is NOT attached to the guilt of either side of being unbalanced!

~Grace and Peace said...

I think if you ask my boys, it would be 25/75: good mom/bad mom.

Only because I try hard to raise them to be good Christian men. That takes a lot of training. And repeating orders. And lots of timeouts sometimes. And withholding video games. And 10:00p.m. curfews when other friends can stay out much later.

The good part? They know they can always count on me: for support, for just talking, for prayers.