I Used to be the Perfect Parent

Author: Brenda Pace, Author of "Journey of a Military Wife"

Photo by The U.S. Army is licensed under CC BY 2.0

April 14, 2018

While not perfect, our imperfection is not a license to stop trying to be a good parent

Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.” (Genesis 9:20–23)

I used to be the perfect parent—until I had children.

Honestly, I am so far from perfection, yet I place before me that standard. Crazy, right? Comparing our parenting skills (or lack thereof) with the countless Facebook status updates we read from friends and acquaintances leaves us feeling inadequate. Can I tell you something you can take to the bank? There are no perfect parents and no perfect kids.

A discussion on the website militaryspouse.com highlights some of the issues military moms struggle with concerning the need to be perfect:

My kids see me worrying about the next big change.

I have a hard time being positive around the kids.

I rely on my kids too much when my husband is deployed.

I hate to cook family meals, especially during deployments.

I try to be the perfect parent, and then burn out.1

Well, my perfection-seeking, never-hit-the-mark, fall-so-far-below-the-standard sister, I have good news for you! Remember the scriptural description of Noah as “righteous” and “blameless?” Remember that he was the only person in the world committed to God? Remember that he was a preacher of righteousness? Remember that God had such confidence in him that he put him in charge of the earth’s do-over? Brace yourself—Noah was not perfect. He did not always act honorably. The account of saintly obedient Noah is in Genesis 6–8, but the account of drunken shameful Noah follows in Genesis 9.2

While not perfect, our imperfection is not a license to stop trying to be a good parent. When—not if—we make mistakes we can seek help from the Lord and, when appropriate, ask forgiveness from our family. The family of God lives on a healthy diet of mercy and grace. We should always give parenting our best effort, and trust the Lord to fill the gap when we fall short.

Respond

Circle any areas below in which you struggle as a military parent:

My kids see me worrying about the next big change.

I have a hard time being positive around the kids.

I rely on my kids too much when my husband is deployed.

I hate to cook family meals, especially during deployments.

I try to be the perfect parent, and then burn out.

Write a positive action step to address each of the statements above. Use these statements as a prayer guide.

Prayer for the Journey

Lord, only you are perfect. I confess to you the stress I allow myself to undergo in my effort toward perfection. Remind me when I fall short and feel inadequate to take my needs to you. In so doing, may I teach my children the power and peace of trusting you. Amen.

You do not need to face this challenge alone. Jesus has conquered this challenge so that you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.

There are warriors who know what you are going through and can give you guidance. Please click one of the buttons below and allow one of them to help you.

1 Kariah Church, “Perfect Parents…?” Military Spouse Forum, April 3, 2015. http://community.militaryspouse.com/threads/perfect-parents.1600/ (accessed June 3, 2015).
2 Waltke 155.