Maybe I'm the only mom that thinks this but my children are way harder to parent while we are around other people. They are excitable and attention-seeking, they are mommy-needy and sometimes do inappropriate things.
I know I'm not painting them in the best light.... they really are amazing kids. At home we have a pretty good flow going on and aren't as crazy. And the other day I took them to a playplace at a busy mall and while we were leaving I thought "Wow, my kids are great. Those crazy kids at the playland made them look like angels." So, they really are great... but shocker of shockers.... they're kids!
I realize that the busier that I am the more irritable I am with the poor cuties that are stuck with me. We have a lot of things going on around here and we drag our kiddos along on that ride. I need to be better at saying "no" to some things so I won't be quite so cranky. I also feel the need to care less about what others think of my children and my parenting. I'm not a super self conscious person, but sometimes when we are around other people I feel this yucky feeling rising up in me. I want my kids to behave well because that reflects well on me. My focus often turns from caring about what's going on inside of my kids or myself and quickly turns to having a good outward appearance.
Earlier this week I was reading about a time when Jesus was talking with the religious leaders of his day and they were challenging him because his disciples had "unclean hands" and didn't wash as the religious people did before eating meals.
Then Jesus in his amazing way of calling people out said "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.' You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of man."
Jesus wasn't (and isn't) concerned about outward appearances. He cares about what's going on inside our hearts. That is super reassuring to me. I don't need to be concerned about what our sometimes crazy family looks like to other people. I need to focus on blessing the little people I have been blessed with and as I continually refocus myself on His Kingdom then I have no space to focus on my/my kids outward appearances.
Maybe that makes sense to you. Maybe not. It felt good to write out some of the thoughts that have been bouncing around in my cloudy head.