If there were mom awards like senior class awards I might just win The Very Best Worrier of Them All. It's true. I have mad skills in the worry department. I can come up with stuff to loose sleep over with the best of them. I can imagine dangers lurking around my kids at the drop of a hat. ... Pete found a copperhead snake in the garage last week, what if the girls had been bitten? Sarah is at sleep away camp and it is 100 degrees, what if she gets dehydrated (she never drinks water!). Will Emily make friends at day camp this summer? Do the girls feel neglected because I work too much?
As I shared last week, a leader at MOPS International told me recently that research shows that moms worry more today than ever. We worry so much that worrying is one of the top things we worry about. While I may be nominated for The Very Best Worrier of Them All, I have a feeling I wouldn't be the only nominee. Anyone else with me? I'm not proud of my nomination. Recently I have been taking an honest look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of being a worrying mom.
The Good: We really love our kids. The root of worrying about my kids is that I really, really love them! I bet you do too. While my 12 year old may roll her eyes when I still take her hand in a parking lot (it's true!), there is zero doubt in that girl's mind that I am completely prepared to throw myself in front of any car coming her way. My girls may complain about my worrying, but they know I really do care. Honestly, there is a lot to be concerned with in today's world. From physical dangers to cyber ones, kids deserve to have at least one adult watching out for them - even if it feels like too much at times.
The Bad: Our kids can think we don't believe in them. The bad side of being a worrying mom, is that kids can interpret our worry as a sign that we don't believe in them. When I fret and fret that Emily won't make friends at day camp, she starts to think that maybe no one will like her, maybe she isn't going to make friends. Is there something wrong with her? No matter how we lie to ourselves and say our kids don't notice, let's just get real - our kids KNOW we are worrying about them. The bad side of being a worrier mom is that I am in danger of sending my girl off to day camp (or any other situation) thinking that there is something to be worried about, instead of just being a happy mom who sends her child off believing that it is going to be a wonderful adventure.
The Ugly: Our kids can think our faith is a lie. The ugly side of being The Very Best Worrier of Them All as a Christian mom is that our children know that we are not really trusting in the mighty God we teach them about. OUCH. Our children see that the faith we say we cling to, we actually toss aside to pick up our mantle of worry. My cousin once told me that she doesn't really see the value in the prayer life and faith of her mother because her mother is a champion worrier. She said, "She spends a lot of time praying, but where does that get her? She is still always worrying about something." That really hit home for me. In 20 years my girls may very well say the same things about me. They see me pray, and then get up, and go on worrying.
I want to teach my children that the Lord is my rock, my shield, my fortress, my anchor with the life I am leading, not just with my words and family devotions. This weekend a friend was facing the death of her grandmother. She made several facebook posts asking for prayer. Her sadness and anxiety over the situation was apparent. Many people commented and offered ideas and prayers, but one comment pierced my heart. Her mother, facing this same huge loss, simply commented "The anchor holds."
The anchor holds. Her anchor is Jesus Christ, and today as they mourn the passing of her grandmother, the anchor does hold. As moms our worries are not baseless. We have real concerns about our kids' health, and safety, our finances, and our marriages. But the ugly side of being a worrier mom is what we should really be worried about. I don't really want the award of The Very Best Worrier of Them All. I don't want to be known as a mom whose worry is great than her faith. I'd like to be awarded the title, Her Anchor Holds. Some of the things I worry about will come to pass, and some will not. I'd like the way I approached them all to teach my girls that my faith in both them, and more importantly God, was true, and that through it all, my anchor does hold. I want them to know that as they grow up and start to gain more pressing concerns in life, they do not need to worry because their anchor is going to hold too.
Last week, I shared a new book I have been reading, The 30 Day Praise Challenge for Parents. It is a great book to focus your heart and mind daily on God and not your worries. Last week I said I was giving the book away to a commenter - I decided to give away two. Congratulations Tracy O'Shea and Nicole Foster. I will be getting you both a copy of the book. Thanks for your honest comments and your desire to join me in taking this 30 day challenge.