No, your children are not going to suffer from lifelong feelings of neglect, which will prevent them from becoming the next President or brain surgeon or great NFL quarterback, simply because you had a day where you were just too exhausted and you let them watch Sponge Bob all afternoon. Hyperbole is maybe the biggest battle we face as parents, because every mistake we make in parenting our kids, we immediately assume that we’re the worst people in the entire world, and Child Protective Services are right on your doorstep waiting to take your kids from you.
Cereal for dinner? Watching cartoons all day? No bathing for a week? Those aren’t signs that you’re a bad parent, they’re signs that you’re tired. Human beings have limits, and we all know kids will push you to your limits faster than anything else. God knew we had limits, that’s why he commanded that we take a day of rest. And that day of rest is an important one, because it reminds us to slow down, catch our breath and focus on God. As our Creator, Jesus knew full well that we can only handle so much because after a certain point, we’re no longer able to effectively perform. Look at what he said to his disciples in Mark 6:31:
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (NIV)
What you have here is Jesus recognizing that even though there were so many people present, needing the attention of his disciples, they simply weren’t able to perform effectively until they had some rest. One hundred percent of their effort later was more valuable than 50% of their effort now.
Check out this picture of a mom who caught herself having one of those “bad parent” moments, yet she had her reasons. It’s ok to put your feet up occasionally and rest, while the kids veg out on some electronic devices. In twenty years from now, they won’t ever look back and say “mom, I remember that time I watched cartoons all day”. What they will remember though are those special moments, where you gave them 100% of yourself, and it’s those days that make you a great parent!