The day I canceled my membership to the Good Mommy Club
Somehow, somewhere along the way I had done something to cause my threenager (Dear Mr. Webster, can we make that a word?) to operate from a place of believing that he was my equal. That we were just buds. Even more than that, I existed simply to dote on and tend to him and his happiness and fulfillment.
Let me pause here and note this: I’ve said before that I am the fun mom. And, I am. As someone who had fun parents, it’s something I enjoy being for my children. As a working stay-at-home mom, I have been blessed beyond measure with a schedule that allows me to be with my babies the large majority of the week and I steward much of that time by facilitating opportunities for them to flex their creative and imaginative muscles. I provide the space for them to have fun and they take it from there! Plus, if I’m being honest, I’m not ready to grow up just yet; so being the captain of a cardboard ship, covered in Crayola is good for the soul.
For the last thirty or so months, though, I toed the line between creating a magical childhood for my children and accidentally cultivating an environment of equality in our home. Slowly I watched as my little guy became “that kid.”
You know who I’m talking about.
With every tantrum, I began to panic. In particular, last week my toddler informed me after I spanked him for telling me to “shut my mouth” that I was not his best friend. Once he was down for his afternoon nap, I snuggled in close beside him and wept as I brushed the sweaty curls from his forehead. “I’m sorry,” I whispered through hot tears and the knot in my throat as I grieved my tiny bestie. What I thought had been helping him, was hurting him all along.
I was failing him. By seeking wisdom from the TikTok gospel and the talking heads instead of getting back to the basic truths in Scripture, I thought I was doing a good job. I thought I was a good mom. I had hopped a ride on the gentle parenting train under the impression that I would be breaking generational strongholds. But the hideous reality was that the bridge was out up ahead.
My boys were moving at alarming speeds towards disaster, and I was doing the conducting.
In harsh contrast to what society sings, parents and children are not equal. A point self-proclaimed “heretic psychologist” John Rosemond drives home with his life’s work: parenting with love and leadership. In his podcast, Because I said so! the Parent Guru refers to getting sucked into the gentle, child-led parenting Ponzi scheme as being part of the “Good Mommy Club.”
In the Good Mommy Club, you are to orbit your life around your child from now until eternity, even at the cost of your marriage. You are to do everything for them. You are to solve all of their problems, and you are to never under any circumstances do anything that, by society’s standards, could traumatize them such as speak to them in an authoritative tone. That will get you kicked out.
In the Good Mommy Cult, I mean … Club, children are not their parents’ equal. Rather, they are royalty, and their parents are peons at the whipping post.
“In the 1950s and 60s … We orbited around our mothers. And because we were paying attention to our mothers, and orbiting around them, we did what they told us to do. Because that is the first prerequisite of an obedient child, the child is paying attention. When our mothers said do this, we did it. When our mothers said stop doing that we stopped doing it. When our mothers said lunch was at noon, that didn't mean that she would feed us whenever we wanted to be fed. If we came in from playing at 12:30, lunch was over. We would have to wait until dinner to eat. We might be allowed to grab an apple and go back outside, but that was about it. Back in the old school days, a mother's word was law. Today, a mother's word is subject to her child's approval. Here's a fact good people … the more attention a parent pays a child, the less attention the child will pay to the parent.” (An excerpt from Rosemond’s podcast Because I told You So!)
Scripture is explicit in its position on discipline:
Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him (Proverbs 13:24).
Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart (Proverbs 29:17).
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
When we fail to discipline our children, we fail to love them. When we are not consistent in our instruction, it cultivates chaos. We exhaust and exasperate not only ourselves but also them. But when we are intentional and mindful and diligent in disciplining and correcting our children, it is a direct reflection of God’s heart for us.
My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son (Hebrews 12:5b-6).
American psychology or “ding-dong hogwash,” as Rosemond so lovingly refers to it, has caused far more problems than it has solved.
Somewhere along the way, we mixed things up. We got them wrong. We equated loving our children with making them our equals and best friends. We diagnosed them to death instead of disciplining them. Roles were reversed in the home. We put our trust in men and women with capital letters after their names and abandoned the ones written in red so long ago.
The great news is that it’s not too late to turn the train around and cancel your membership to the Good Mommy Club.