parenting love
encouragement, Homeschooling, Joy, Motherhood, My One Word, My Walk, Parenting, Relationships, The Fallen World, The Kiddos, Wisdom

When I Was A Perfect Parent

I once was a perfect parent. Before I had children of my own.
When I was a Perfect Parent

I Was a Perfect Parent

As a teenager, one who obviously knew it all, I believed I would be a certain way as an adult. I was one of those people who believed I knew how to handle whatever life had in store for me. This included parenting.

*Insert slightly insane laughter here*

There is a meme floating around the internet that states: “I was a perfect parent. Then I had children.”

It would be funny if it weren’t so incredibly accurate. Too many people (me included) believe they’ve got it all figured out–life, fitness, parenting, their make-up; only to have reality kick them solidly in the solar plexus. My old friend, Reality likes to remind me of its presence regularly.

When I was still a perfect parent–living under my parents’ roof, wearing clothes they bought for me, talking on the phone (a landline!) they paid for; I swore I would never treat my children the way my parents treated me. I wouldn’t keep my children from doing what they wanted, make them do chores, or tell them no. I would be different. I’d understand them, and treat them with “respect”.

I’m sure God chuckled at my plans. My parents did.

When I was still a perfect parent--living under my parents' roof, wearing clothes they bought for me, talking on the phone (a landline!) they paid for; I swore I would never treat my children the way my parents treated me. I wouldn't keep my children from doing what they wanted, make them do chores, or tell them no. I would be different. I'd understand them, and treat them with

Before the birth of my youngest my niece and I spent some time sitting on a bench overlooking the Puget Sound. The sun was warm, the sky was clear, the seagulls were begging scraps of our lunches, and it was a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle we’d been dealing with for the last few months. Taking a few moments to enjoy the beauty the LORD has created, and to truly appreciate it helped to relax my anxious heart.

It also helped me to understand something about myself.

I’m not a perfect parent. In fact, teen me would spend a lot of time rolling her eyes at adult me. I might have thought my parents were strict, but they were nothing compared to how I am as a parent. Part of this stems from a moderate battle with anxiety, but not all of it. Simply put, my priorities have changed, as have my views.

God is the Perfect Parent

God has blessed us with three beautiful children, not to be perfect parents, but to teach them and train them up in what is righteous. Much to their dismay, that includes horrors like sweeping, making their beds, and cleaning bathrooms, and picking up toys. It also requires them to spend time with us, to not put their friends above the LORD or their family, and to forgive each other when we stumble.

Something else that comes along with this is the amount of freedom we allow our children to have. Our eldest is only nine, and regardless of how my husband and I were raised the world is a much different place today than it was twenty years ago. Yes, she can play outside without constant supervision, but there are rules that have to be followed, and consequences if those rules are ignored. This is a relatively new freedom for her, and I still have several bad moments where I want to keep her in the house away from any chance of getting hit by a speeding car (see, anxiety). I’m taking it a day at a time, and maybe I’ll be more relaxed when they’re visiting me in the retirement home.

The point is, there are no perfect parents on Earth, except God, and of course those who have never had children. We as a society (especially women) spend so much time judging the merits of one person over another that we seem to forget we’re all just stumbling along doing the best we can. Have some people lost their way? Yes, but that isn’t for us to judge. There are people in this world who have been called to help those who have fallen. Instead of casting blame and pointing fingers, it’s time for us to come together and build each other up, and to raise our own children with love, compassion, and grace.

 

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Faith, My One Word, My Walk, The Kiddos, The Kiddos

Why I’m Not a Perfect Mom

Photo Credit: Pinterest (Unknown)
Photo Credit: Pinterest (Unknown)

There are many reasons why I’m not a perfect mom, and why I won’t hold out hope that someday I’ll suddenly become that mother who ‘does it all’. You know the kind of mother portrayed in Leave it to Beaver. Perfectly dressed, make-up on, and not a hair out of place. The house would always be neat and orderly, the kiddos would always be polite and presentable, and I’d be excited to host dinner parties for my husband’s business associates. This of course would all come after I made three course meals for my children and made sure they were involved in all the right social circles.

I’m honest enough and realistic enough to know that won’t happen. Not only am I more comfortable in a pair of yoga pants than I’ve ever been in a dress and make-up, my hair tends to remain in a messy knot on my head. I don’t like the feel of it on my neck and I don’t have the patience to create some intricate style that wouldn’t stay in place while I chased my eighteen month old son around or snuggled with my seven year old daughter.

As for dinner parties, those are so not going to happen. I’m almost positive God’s plan for me doesn’t include being a society maven. My idea of a party is snuggling under a blanket in my pajamas, reading a good book and drinking tea.

There have been times in recent years when I’ve wished I were designed for perfection. Where I wish I didn’t have my quirks. In those moments I spent too much time cataloging the reasons I am not a perfect mom.

I’m not a perfect mom, because I’m a perfectionist. I’m very ‘type A’ when it comes to the completion of anything. From projects to keeping the house organized. I often feel sorry for my daughter (and eventually my son), because I’m the mother that requires rooms to be neat and toys to be returned to their proper place when they’re not in use. The house is not a bounce house designed for jumping and screaming, and there is no playing outside without supervision–regardless of what the neighbor kids get to do.

I’m not a perfect mom, because I am an introvert. My perfect home would be far away from neighbors, have a lot of land for my children to play on, and have a fence to keep people away. Now, I’m not saying I’m completely a hermit, but the ability is there. Whenever I’m around people I seem to internalize their emotions and their energy. It takes me days to recuperate after any social event. My daughter on the other hand is an extrovert. She loves people, and going and doing. She very rarely needs time to recharge away from people, and is happier when she has social interaction all the time.

I’m not a perfect mom, because I am hormonal. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and that means living in a state where people forget what the sun is makes me melancholy and irritable.

I am not a perfect mom, but I also know that’s okay. I know that the LORD has a plan for me, and that he’s in control. He knows what I need, even if I don’t.

I’m not a perfect mom, but  each day I strive to be a better mom than I was the day before. Each morning I pray for strength, wisdom, and guidance. I pray for help navigating the path of parenthood. I pray for understanding and that my children and I will grow together in our faith.

I’m not a perfect mom, but I am a forgiven mom. I am a saved mom, and I am a faithful mom. Every day may not go the way I hope it will, but it goes the way it needs to go. Each day I learn something new.

Each and every day I try to be a little less of a perfectionist. I make the effort to get my daughter into social situations so that she can thrive. I do what I can to control my hormones, and to control my mood. The point is, I’m not perfect, but I’m me. I’m following God, and doing what I can for my children.

“As for God, His way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.” Psalm 18:30

May the LORD bless you,

Sare

Faith, Parenting

Parenting with the LORD

Honestly, the title of this post should have been “Trying Really Hard to Parent the Way God Would Want, but Failing Miserably Every Step of the Way”.

Unfortunately, that title was a little too long, and didn’t really set the positive tone I’m trying to make a daily part of my life.

There are many days (probably six out of seven days, recently) when I wonder just what it was God was thinking when He blessed me with children. Patience? Tolerance? Joy? Or is He trying to show me exactly what I put my own mother through?

When my daughter was younger, I knew I was blessed. Without a doubt. All of my friends children were loud, rambunctious, and spent several years in the terrible twos. Often I would hear stories of PB and J sandwiches being placed inside the DVD tray, or the freshly poured bowl of cereal being dumped onto the keyboard. (YIKES!)

My daughter was curious, independent, and knew her mind, but never once did she do anything that could fit into the category of ‘terrible’. She never destroyed anything, never drew on the walls, and I didn’t have to worry about her running off. I remember thinking, “Wow, I’m so glad MY daughter isn’t like that.”

Like so many young Mothers I took credit for the amazing gift the LORD had intrusted to my care. I just knew her lack of behavior issues was my doing, because I was just that good of a mom.

Oh how wrong I was.

That perfect little girl is six now, and there isn’t a single day that I don’t want to pull my hair out. No, she never stuck PB and J sandwiches into the DVD player, or poured cereal onto my keyboard, but while missing out on those exciting experiences, the LORD has blessed me with a child that still knows her own mind. Even when that mind is contradictory to what I expect from her.

Instead of PB and J sandwiches, I’ve experienced the “Battle of the Jeans”, because little girls don’t wear jeans–or so my daughter told me over and over again whenever I tried to get her to wear them.

I’ve become well versed in the “Momma, look at the nice stranger can he come home with us?” story. But, my personal favorite is that somewhere between learning how to walk, and learning how to read, my perfect little girl got a not so perfect attitude. One complete with sassing, pouting, overly dramatic expressions of displeasure, and a belief that since I’m her mother, I don’t know anything.

Did I mention she is six, and not a teenager?

So, what is it the LORD is trying to teach me? How does He expect me to handle this precocious red-head mini-me?

I spent a lot of time yelling at her, and contemplating selling her to Gypsies. At a few really low points I would have been willing to give her to them for free.

Recently, though, things have changed. Not her attitude, but the way I’m (trying) to handle it.

Now when things aren’t going smoothly, I will give myself a mental time-out and pray. I ask the LORD for patience, for guidance, and for the right words to say. I ask Him for the right focus, and then, even though sometimes it is really, really hard, I thank Him.

I thank Him for blessing me with someone who knows her own mind, with someone who even with an attitude still has an amazing and loving heart. I thank Him for blessing me with someone who if I step back and listen will teach me amazing things.

Does this make her perfect? No. Does this make me a perfect mother? Not even close. I still feel like I’m failing most days, but I figure God knows what He is doing, even if I don’t. I just have to have Faith in His greater works and knowledge, and know that I’m not alone in this parenting thing. He’s with me every step of the way.

Great Blessings,

Sare