Confessions of an Inconsistent Mom
by Lois Peachey
You hear it every time you hear about child training: “You need to be consistent”. The reason you hear it so often is because it really is important! The Bible says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. . . Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul. (Pr. 29:15; 17)
While raising my children, I remember both times of shame because I was inconsistent, and times of rest when I consistently did my job.
Our third child was strong willed. I was often embarrassed in church because she wouldn’t sit quietly. I made many a trip out of there with a crying child. We were a distraction to everyone. But it wasn’t her fault—it was mine!
I once attended a wedding with the same child. While we waited for our meal to be served, she could have pulled the tablecloth, thrown the plates and silverware, or torn the colorful napkins. Instead she sat quietly on my lap and didn’t touch a thing. Why the difference? I was being inconsistent at home.
It was too much work to be consistent. I was busy doing what all mothers do! I didn’t have time to stop every time she disobeyed. After all, what she was doing wasn’t a big deal. In fact, it was cute.
But when she made a lot of noise in church, no one thought it was cute—not even I! An older friend of mine used to tell me, “Train your children so that others can enjoy them.” How true! So often what we overlook and think is cute is obnoxious to others. An obedient respectful child is a joy to all.
As a young mother I was very insecure in my discipline. I read a lot of books, and talked to friends about how to deal with my children. That wasn’t all bad, but looking back, I wish I would have depended more on just doing what the Bible says. God gave me the responsibility of mothering our five children. That was my job, no one else’s. And James says God gives wisdom to those who ask. I see now that the method wasn’t as important as the consistency.
I wish I would have had more of an eternal perspective. I thought so much about now! “Poor child, he’s teething, he’s hungry, he’s tired. What he’s doing is so cute!” But life hurts. Life is hard. Children need to learn to be cheerful and obedient no matter what the circumstances. When you’re 20, anger isn’t cute. I forgot that I was preparing these cute babies to be responsible, God-fearing adults.
I wish I would have been more consistent in enforcing my husband’s desires for the children. I’m sure he was wrong sometimes (not nearly as often as I thought), but I was setting an example for the children to follow. If I wanted them to respect authority, I’d better show them how it’s done. If my husband’s idea was wrong, it was still probably less harmful than my disrespect.
As you can see, I was an inconsistent mess. Thank God, by His grace, our five children are grown and have turned into responsible, God-fearing adults and teenagers. That is God’s doing, not mine!
So, young mothers, God has given you a responsibility no one else can do as well as you. Get rid of your insecurities, tighten your belt and get on with it. This is the job God has assigned for you right now. It will be over before you know it.
Remember that consistency brings rest and delight. Remember to raise your children so others can enjoy them. Remember you’re raising them to be responsible, God-fearing adults, not whining, needy people. Remember your example is showing them how they should respect authority.
Do your job in the name of the Lord. Call on Him for wisdom. Don’t be afraid to be tough. Your children will rise up and call you blessed. (Pr. 31:28)