Posts Tagged With: parenting

Because Parenting Is Hard

Being a parent is hard.

It is fun. It is thrilling. It is rewarding. But it is hard, heartbreakingly hard.

Both my boys started back to school just a few weeks ago. My oldest son began 8th grade and my youngest son began Kindergarten.

And my Mommy heart was breaking. My hands wanted to wrap around both of them for dear life and not let go.

And so I prayed. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed and I prayed.

It was still hard.

My youngest son came home his first day and absolutely loved it. He could hardly wait to go back the next day!

But as the days pass, his excitement has dwindled. At times he feels lonely. He knew nobody going in and most of the other kids already had friends.

Every day when he comes home I ask him who he played with at recess. So far he has responded that nobody wanted to play with him.

I fight back tears.

I want to run to school and ask – no, beg – those kids to please not be so mean. Pease don’t be exclusive.

He is such a nice boy. Why on earth don’t they want to play with him?

Parenting is just plain hard.

At the same time, my older son announced to me that he has decided to run for student council president.

“Do you need help making your poster?” I ask.

No, he’s already done that.

As the time nears for the candidates to give speeches and the students to vote, he warns me that he doesn’t have much of a chance:

“So-and-so is running and he is much more popular than I am.”

“So-and-so is running and she is the only girl. All the girls will vote for her.”

Again, my heart breaks because I know how much he wants it and I can’t get it for him. There is absolutely nothing I can do.

He would be excellent at it, I know.

I ask if he needs help with his speech. I ask if he needs help with his campaign. But he informs me that he’s got it.

I cringe.

Not because I don’t believe him. I believe that he thinks he’s got it, but I’ve also seen him comb his hair in the morning. And he tells me that he’s got it when it’s sticking straight up right on top.

“It doesn’t matter anyhow. Nobody’s going to vote for me” he says.

And I want to cry.

I look at him and all I can see is my sweet toddler with blonde hair and chubby cheeks holding on to his blankie. I don’t care if he’s nearly a foot taller than I am. He’s still my baby and I hurt because he’s hurting.

He, too, feels alone.

I want to hold him on my lap and love on him.

I want to pick out a band-aid to cover the hole in his heart.

And so I pray. I pray and I pray and I pray and I pray.

If only parenting weren’t so stinkin’ hard!

But here’s the problem, folks…  God is still in control. As much as I love my kids, He loves them more.

It’s true that I want to hold them, care for them, and never let anything bad happen to them. What parent doesn’t?

But my children are people too.

God is just as much in control of their life as he is in mine. To think that I am in control of any of this is just plain pride on my part.

Sometimes I need reminders to peel my death-clinching-grip off of them and to place them safely in God’s hands.

All I can do is to point them to Christ.

And what if I was always able to fix things for them? Well, they would never know their need for Him. They would never have a desire or hunger for His Word. For His saving grace. They would never get to experience the peace that surpasses all understanding or the great depth of His love. They would never know Him.

And if I, as their parents, never showed them their need for Christ, if I never pointed them to Him, reminded them of His sovereignty, then I would have failed as a parent.

And so I pray. I pray and I pray and I pray and I pray.

And I work on trusting Him with my children and rest in knowing they are securely in His hands. He is there all the time. I am not. I cannot.

And I find peace and comfort in that.

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior” – 2 Samuel 22:2-3

And, in case you’re wondering, my son did get voted in as president. But I was reminded to trust Him again when a teacher sent me a text saying, “Your son just gave an awesome speech!”

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Categories: parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Please Don’t Judge My Parenting

 

 

When my oldest son was just a couple months old we found out he had an abnormality with his skull. Thankfully, it was completely correctable. But to be corrected, we had to be very diligent with exercises. We also had to make sure his head tilted a certain way when he slept. The only way to do this was to have him sleep with us.

I kept him in the crook of my arm as all three of us, my husband, our baby, and I shared a bed together. No, it was not very comfortable for me to sleep with my arm straight out, have a ten pound weight resting on it, and not to be able to move it but there was no other choice. I cannot just sit and watch him sleep all the time and readjust his head every time he moved. If he slept on my arm and moved in the night, his movement would wake me so that I could make the adjustment right then and there. And I could get some sleep too!

However, this opened the door to co-sleeping (which can be safely done, by the way). To be completely honest I wanted him to sleep with us from the time he was born. I just enjoyed the closeness that it provided.

Once he began sleeping with us, the trend continued. I heard from family, friends, people I went to church with and even pediatricians, “It sets a bad precedent. They’ll never sleep well.  It doesn’t set boundaries. It will spoil them.”

Yet, this was one of our favorite times of the day. I did not want to give it up and neither did my husband or son. We enjoyed beginning and ending our day together as a family. So I had to wonder, is cuddling with your children until they fall asleep such a bad thing?

We had listened to all the advice others had to give us and thought there must be something to it. We got our son’s bed all ready to go and got him in it. But it was miserable. None of us were happy. Our son cried for us. We missed him. So after a few nights we decided to bring him back in with us. And it was lovely!

The reason I’m telling you this is because I do not believe there is one perfect parenting solution on any subject. Go to a book store and check out the parenting books. There are thousands of them written on every situation you possibly think of. Still, I don’t know that there is one parenting book out there that is perfect for every family in every circumstance.

I’m not saying that all parenting books are bad. Quite the contrary. I think there is a lot of wisdom that has been recorded by those who have gone before us. Those can be a wonderful tool. However, I am very leery of advice that gives an “If… then…” statement.

According to those we had talked with, we would all sleep better and be much happier in the long run if our son slept in his own bed. We did not find this to be true. Why? Most of the people who gave us that advice were going off of their own experiences. And there is nothing wrong with that. But my family is not like theirs. God created us each as individuals. We are each unique. I am a different mother, my husband is a different father, and our son is a different child. He is now twelve years old and I STILL do not see anything wrong with the fact that he slept with us when he was small. And guess what? He even falls asleep on his own, in his own bed, and sleeps well.

While I certainly enjoyed co-sleeping and feel that there were many positives to it (which I am not going to write about right now), no way would I recommend this for everyone. My own mother could never sleep well if her children were in bed with her. Does that make her a bad mother? Of course not! It just means that she is a different person or different type of mother than me. So if I write a blog or book stating that this is the best way to sleep and if you just sleep like this then you’ll have the perfect relationship with your child, how would that make a mother like her feel? She may try it. Night after night she goes to bed with husband and children yet cannot sleep. She feels crowded. She feels like she is suffocating. She is more tired during the day. She now has less patience. She misses the intimacy with her husband. And for what? Because she felt like if she didn’t do it like this then she would be a bad mom?

I have some friends who homeschool and could write a book on how wonderful it is. I have other friends who private school and believe it is the best option. And still, I have other friends who public school and could go on and on about how great it is.

One mother may have home birthed and felt so positive about it that she feels like it is the best option. But another woman may not want to. She may feel more secure in a hospital where doctors and nurses will be close at hand for the next couple of days.

And we could go on and on with this list. But is one option really better than another? Well, yes. One may be the right choice for one family while alternative may be the better option a different family. So why do we judge others and make them feel bad if they don’t do something just like us? We each want the best for our families and make choices that we feel are the best fit for them.

This is my point: God is so creative that no two people are just alike. You can drive yourself crazy researching what parenting style you want to practice for this or that and weighing out the projected outcomes of each. But I don’t know that you really need to do that. The best option is to simply pray for wisdom from the Lord (1 Cor 2:13, James 1:5). Consider what is it that you want to do and what is the best fit for your family? Ultimately, it is YOUR decision how YOU want to parent. But after you decide, it may be wise to receive council from others or perhaps a book on how to proceed.  But please do not let others decide what is best for you!

However, I do feel that I should extend a warning here. Even though you have your heart set on parenting a certain way, it may not work for you or your family. I have talked with many different mothers who desperately wanted to nurse their children. But for whatever reason, they were not producing enough milk and their babies were suffering. Sometimes supplementing with formula was necessary and sometimes a complete switch was required. And with these changes, the mother often feels like she has failed as a mother.  Maybe this came from pressure/judgment from other mothers. But often we put this pressure on ourselves. We get our hearts set on “I really want to do this!” And when it doesn’t work out, we’re crushed. But to keep nursing when your baby is hungry may not be a wise choice for your family.

As I’m sure you can tell, I am all for you making the decision for yourself of how you want to parent. But please remain flexible enough that if for some reason it isn’t working out that you are willing to try something else. Whatever choice you make, it is important to make the best decision for your family. It is not up to your sister, mother-in-law, pediatrician, or anyone else. While they may be able to offer good advice, nobody knows your family dynamics like you. You are the expert here!

Categories: parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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