One of my favorite shows on television is The Goldbergs, which is a sitcom about a family in the 1980s. The mother, Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey), is ridiculous not only in her 1980s-ness (jazzercise, big hair, shoulder pads, mom jeans), but also in her single-minded devotion to her family. Her love for them often seems to travel only in a one-way direction. Her husband is apathetic. Her children are teenagers and embarrassed by her smothering affection. But she doggedly loves them anyway, in spite of herself and in spite of their protests. In one episode, her children accuse her of having “mom goggles,” where even their most pathetic efforts are met with unwarranted praise and enthusiasm.

Beverly is also completely nuts. She resorts to bribery, trickery, and all sorts of terrible means to keep her family close to her. I can relate. As my children grow out of babyhood and into taller, goofier kids, I long for some of the sweetness of their babyhood, and I’m not above some Beverly-style mom-ninja action to keep my kids close for a while longer. I sat through the last Star Wars movie with a sleeping kid on my lap for half of it, and I creepily ran my lips over the top of his head like a junkie seeking a fix. I’m not proud of it, but I did it.

While parents of 2016 may think of themselves as more enlightened and sophisticated than dear old Beverly Goldberg, what with our conscientiousness of over-praise and the backlash of the self esteem movement, we all still have a little bit of smother-y Beverly in us. This time of year, we only have to look around the audience at an elementary school holiday performance or piano recital or church pageant to see the “mom goggles” look on dozens of parents’ faces. We all pack into gymnasiums and concert halls and chapels to watch through iPhone cameras our growing babies sing and play and act. And even if they fought with their sister in the car on the way there, or they forgot half their lines or their sheet music, or you don’t know where you’re going to scrape up the money for braces for all those teeth that seem to be coming in at alarming speed… all of that disappears when the lights dim and that’s YOUR KID up there on stage, the one who was just starting to roll over last week, it seems.


I taught piano lessons for several years, and I got to see the looks on the proud parents’ faces in the audience as their children played their long-practiced pieces. This year, I was the mom in the audience, as my oldest son played in his first recital. I couldn’t tell you how many mistakes he made or whether his shirt was tucked in. I can tell you, though, that you couldn’t have wiped the smile off my face if you tried. I was simply delighted.

Psalm 149 tells us that God delights in us. I like to think of the Almighty donning some mom goggles, Beverly Goldberg style, loving us even when we don’t return the favor. I get a lot of things wrong in motherhood, every single day. I’m probably smothering and overlooking some terrible character flaws in my children with my own mom goggles, and at the same time, I could probably stand to extend them more grace in other areas when I’m too hard on them. Gratefully, my identity in Christ doesn’t require me to get it right, and my kids’ redemption doesn’t lie in my getting it right, either. I’m grateful for a God who forgives us and delights in us.