Parenting is hard. Period.
I go in spurts of feeling like we've got a good groove going when it comes to parenting. Then all of a sudden, I wake up one morning and realize that my kids messed with my groove. And all of a sudden I feel like a horrible mother who is losing my children to the world. I'm convinced that it will be because of my failures that my kids will turn into drug taking, horrible teenagers who live at home until they are 30 because they have no education and no job. Well, maybe I don't go to THAT extreme .... often. But I do open myself up to the lies that come flooding in when I feel like I'm just not doing great as a mom. And lies there are many. If you are a parent, you know just what I mean.
In the midst of these moments of failure, I'm also prone to look at one or two people in my life who seem to ALWAYS have it together. You know the ones. Then I feel like a bigger failure. Worse than that, I try to mimic their parenting style ..... for about a day ...because it only takes a day for me to be completely exhausted trying to parent in a fashion that is not within my temperament or creativeness or ability to do. I quickly remember that God made us all different, and each family looks different as a result. But I'm still stuck in my failures.
I went through years of diving into every parenting book or article I could find. They made me feel worse. I tired myself out even more with the rules and regulations, and once again - parenting in a way that did not come natural to me. So then I went through years of reading NOTHING having to do with parenting and decided I'd screw my kids up all by myself, thank you very much. As of late, I've cautiously moved back into seeking help through books and blogs that I feel will point me to Jesus in my parenting. I do this because I realize that what comes natural to me as a parent may still be sinful. It is only in Jesus that I can tackle that. I realize that the other parts of parenting that come natural to me, the ones that aren't sinful, are from Jesus - so it is to Him I look to how best to use those parts. And mostly, in whatever parenting technique of the day I choose - a whole lot of repentance is called for. So it is to Jesus I turn.
Over the past few weeks, I've fallen into one my ruts again. I told Aaron I thought we needed to re-evaluate some of our "methods". He disagreed. Our kids are kids. (Not to mention sinful ones.) There will come a day when we may need to put them on lock down due to their sin, but today is not that day. Today we point them to Jesus. And the best way to point them to Jesus at their tiny ages is for them to see a Mom and a Dad firmly rooted in Jesus. Aaron sent me a link the day after our conversation that was so very timely. I thank God for not allowing me to wallow in my failures for very long as this article was just the slap on the hand that I needed. (With a wooden spoon even...one book told me that was okay, another one said it was abuse) And a slap on the hands filled with humor and grace will always be welcomed to this mama.
I highly recommend reading the article (if you still have time after this ridiculously long blog post). But just in case, here are a few tidbits that were my favorites:
* " They have to be in piano lessons before they are five and can’t leave the car seat until they’re about five foot six."
* "The breakfast bowl was a place for marshmallows, not dried camping fruit."
* "Well, I’m getting sad right now with your attitude! [Pause, think, what would Paul Tripp do? Thinking . . . .thinking . . . .man, I can't stop thinking of that mustache. This isn't working. Let's just go right to the Jesus part.] You know, Jesus wants us to love each other."
* "Could it be we’ve made parenting too complicated? Isn’t the most important thing not what we do but who we are as parents? They will see our character before they remember our exact rules regarding television and twinkies."
* "“I’m not sure what my parents were doing or if they even knew what they’re were doing. But I always knew my parents loved me and I knew they loved Jesus.” Maybe it’s not that complicated after all."