My most embarrassing moment as “mom” took place before I had children of my own.
I was babysitting my toddler nephew Andrew and I took him to the grocery store. He spied a bag of Cheetos and when I told him “no” he proceeded to throw a big fit. Right there, in the middle of Giant Food, he threw himself down onto the floor and began kicking and screaming.
I was mortified.
All these people probably think he’s my kid and that I’m a really bad mom!
Now Brian and Kristin are some of the best parents I know. They were already working hard to train Andrew to obey and today he is an exceptionally mature thirteen-year-old.
But this was a new experience for me. Not until I had children of my own did I learn that every child throws at least one temper tantrum in the grocery store. It’s right there in the how-to-be-a-kid manual.
Even so, it’s hard not to be embarrassed when our kids put on a sin show for a curious crowd.
So when the time came and it really was my kid screaming for Cheetos in Giant Food, my mom’s advice was invaluable: “You shouldn’t be embarrassed when your child disobeys in public” she said. “He’s a child and he’s a sinner. That’s what they do. You should only be concerned if you aren’t faithfully training him to obey in private.”
In other words, we aren’t parenting for the crowd. We’re parenting for an audience of One.
We don’t teach our children to obey so that they will make us look good. We teach our children to obey because God has been good to us, and because we want our children to experience the goodness that comes from walking in His ways (Eph. 6:1-4).
Mothering under the gaze of God spurs us on to be faithful in the everyday mundane mothering moments when nobody else sees. But it also transforms our most embarrassing mothering moment into a beautiful opportunity to laugh at ourselves.
Sure, your most recent trip to the grocery store may not have been your proudest moment as a mom. But if, by the grace of God, you are faithful in private “your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Mt. 6:18) in public.