“Dear MOB Society,My 8-year old son recently told me that while he was at a friend’s house, he watched a movie that showed a girl without clothes on. I feel like such a failure because I didn’t protect him from it. Can you help?”
Let’s be honest: there’s never a good time for bad things to happen.
But when my kids were all little…under the age of four…innocent and not having done anything to deserve a disruption in their life, it seemed especially cruel for my husband to lose his job.
But life didn’t ask for my permission.
It took something from us we wanted to keep, as it sometimes does.
And when it did, it left me in a season of searing mommy pain filled with everyday reminders: I failed to protect my kids.
- When the movers came and moved the last ugly brown box that held pieces of our family life away and they were asked to leave their house they loved.
- When their usually strong mom’s face showed tears she tried to quickly wipe before they saw them, but they still did.
A hard thing happened, and I had failed to protect them from it.
Though that tough moment in our life is now distant history and my kids are much older [and barely remember this life event], there have been moments since I have failed to protect them from something hard, too.
~A divorce in the extended family where they lost someone they knew and loved.
~A cruel comment from another child at the swimming pool they will likely never forget.
~Being shown an inappropriate picture by a friend while at their house.
The truth is, I could lament my whole life those things and more I have failed to protect my kids from.
But this will just keep me from being the mom they need.
- The kind of mom that doesn’t try to keep their life perfect but shows them how to keep living in a non-perfect world.
- The kind of mom who bends knees to touch the floor when things are taken away without permission and that hurts.
- The kind of mom who allows her own failures to drive her to do the best she can with what she has to work with, even when that’s something she didn’t ask for or want.
Friends, no matter how diligently we try, we can’t build a bubble big enough to keep our kids always protected, always insulated from things that are hard. Kids they play with will still talk. Compromising and confusing things will still take place. Life will still happen.
But we can instill within them their own sense of boundaries, show them how to do the best with what they have, and when they fail, instead of wasting precious time over moments they can’t re-do, have the strength to get back up and keep moving forward.
They can learn from their mama.
This post is part of our first series of 2014, Hope for the Messiness of Motherhood. Find all of the posts in this series here.