Not long after my son was born, I overheard two young mothers from my church discussing another woman with a toddler. The conversation centered around potty training and how this woman had done it all wrong; she regularly took her son to the bathroom rather than letting him make the decision on his own.
What I learned from that discussion: I’d best do everything right as a mom because all the ladies in church would bad-mouth me behind my back if I didn’t, and I wanted them to approve of me.
Isn’t this a struggle for most moms?
Although at my bridal shower the pastor’s wife warned me to never compare myself to other women, I didn’t listen. I tried to live up to the standard of the “perfect Christian mom” I created in my head. I studied a lot of parenting resources provided by Christian organizations because I was determined to raise my kids right.
And sadly, I judged other moms who failed to parent their kids the way I thought was best.
Gradually, God showed me that my attitude was all wrong. He wanted me to give other women the freedom to make their own decisions, even when the choice didn’t seem right to me.
Sometimes there is more than one path to a successful outcome because all children and parents are different. We have unique home lives and past experiences that shape who we become.
So how do we give people the freedom to be different?
We adopt an attitude of grace: unmerited favor, loving and respecting other mom, even if they don’t seem like they deserve it. We bite our tongue and choose not to talk badly about them.
God is bigger than statistics. Just because something is usually right doesn’t mean it’s always right. He can fix any and all parenting mistakes, no matter the family.
Looking back on the potty-training issue, I wish I’d spoken up and told those two moms that it really didn’t matter. Eventually, the boy would learn to go without prompting, and it wasn’t their business how long the process took or what tactics were used.
Let’s give each other the grace to figure out what’s best for our kids, and trust God to take care of the rest! If we’re concerned about something, then we can pray. God is in the business of changing hearts, and no child is so messed up that God can’t intervene.
(This post first appeared on Moms of Faith.)