There are a *lot* of "To the Mom Who" posts on blogs lately. To the Mom Who Works, To the Mom Who Stays at Home, To the Mom on her iPhone, To the Mom that Put Her Phone Away, To the Mom the had the Nervous Break Down and Pretended to Bake a Cake in the Middle of Walmart.... These posts are everywhere. People seem to love them. No longer do we have to worry that we are insufficient, over protective, too fat or thin, have too many kids or too few kids. We don't have to worry about what people will think or even what we will think of ourselves. There is a blog post out there to tell us it is okay that we left the kid in the car for a second or that we have never, ever, and will never ever let our kids out of our sight. Validation - it is everywhere.
I think its getting ridiculous. Sometimes the validation of others comes in really, really handy. But we have cheapened it to the point that now every action is okay and excused. Feel free to feel great about yourself after you yell at little Johnny. After all, you were stressed and angry and we understand. We who are on the interwebs know nothing about you but we know you are a great mom. The internet mommy bloggers are here for you, to take away your guilt, your burdens, and your own self governance.
Why do we need validation? Is it to assuage our guilt for a mistake we have made? Is it permission to be lazy? Do we need the consent of others to make parenting choices that are right for our own family? Is it a way to circumvent getting the blessing of our spouses for a decision on which we may disagree?
The need for validation is a real thing. Feeling like we are making a difference in the life of a child and our family is important to keep us going. It is like a bit of extra fuel for our busy life. But, all the pats on the back in the world are not going to truly fill the void we feel when we are not meeting our own standards or when our spouses or our children fail to recognize us for our contributions or when we truly screw up. Perhaps there is too much of a good thing here.
Too much validation can prevent us from making necessary changes. That guilt you feel after you make a parenting screw up? (Like when I snapped at my kid for asking me a math question when I was clearly busy writing this blog post...) It is there to tell you that you did the wrong thing. You have to rethink your behavior and make a change. That involved me apologizing to my kid. He was told to do his math. He had a question - it doesn't matter if I think it is a silly one. He needed my time and I snapped at him because he was encroaching on my time. Do I need a mommy blogger to tell me that was okay? Nope. It was not okay. I only needed to pay attention to my own guilt for snapping at him.
Feel badly about how clean or unclean your house is? Instead of looking for someone to tell you it is okay, ask yourself why you feel the way you do. Why do you feel guilty? Is the Holy Spirit trying to tell you that you need to do better? Or is it an irrational expectation - which only you can change? Either way, validation is not what you need. You need to follow through on the emotions you are feeling and deal with them appropriately. Maybe that is confession and repentance.
We feel like failures because we 1. failed or 2. have higher expectations than necessary. If you failed, deal with it and make things better if you can and apologize if you can't. But then move on. If your expectations are higher than God's - deal with it. That is pride. Maybe you just need a big cup of suck it up instead of validation.
Be wary of the need for validation, particularly when we are looking to excuse sin, poor behavior and bad choices in the name of "everyone else does it". Furthermore, Romans 8:1 already tells us that there is no condemnation to those which are in Christ. And really, that is the only validation we truly need.