My kids are growing up, anyone else have this problem?
In reflection, my preparation to parent babies while pregnant is comparable to studying for finals. I am sure it is the same for any first time Mommy. They really should give out certificates or something, we know our stuff as well as anyone else who goes to school, gains head knowledge, and has zero experience.
The What to Expect When You Are Expecting book only goes as far as toddler years. Although I knew that book forwards and backwards and it really did help me through those years to expect new phases, unexpected events, mile stones, behavior changes, and more, my children have surpassed those book topics. Now what? More final cramming?
I have been doing some internal reflection of my parenting, of options going forward as double digit years loom ahead, and how we can keep our good kids well, good kids. Besides the children, I’d frankly like to keep my sanity and not have a blinking red bar of energy at the end of the day. This isn’t a video game where I can collect energy packs so I need to get a new game plan.
We are not perfect parents but we have done all right. I can confidently say we have done enough to have children who will grow into productive members of society. Going forward, protecting their hearts to ensure they are not self-seeking but others centered is key. For us, this means family time and Jesus.
Parenting is a box of chocolates. Truly, whichever way you slice it. Each child is different requiring you to have a phycologist degree on how to deal with each temperament. Each day is different. Each season of childhood is different. Put all that in a bag, shake it up and you have that moment where you stare at the mystery chocolates wondering what is inside; which should you choose. One child is delightful, the other you’d like to throw away like that weird chocolate you just bit into. Give it an hour though and you’ll want to reverse which child that is. Some days are awesome; some days you go to bed to find an entertaining ‘I hate you’ note on your pillow. Some childhood years are soothing and some are a ton of fun just like the box of chocolates that stay on your hips. Be honest you aren’t running that off in the morning and regardless of how gross and unappealing they look, you ate them anyway.
So how do I regain some sense of ability to parent like in those early years? This is what I am asking myself now. The difference I see is I was diligent and well rested. Now life is faster and way more complicated.
Children hear everything adults say and ask questions faster than a firing range. This means we need to have answers; be prepared somehow. So although being well rested is not in my future, be serious, I can have a plan. I can and will learn to swim in these new waters which feel more like the white water rapids lately.
So what is my plan?
Family time and Jesus. I cannot influence my children if I am not around them and I cannot know how to influence them without Jesus. The Bible is the manual we need and the relationship between God and Jesus is the one we need to model after.
Since instilling our values and traditions requires me to be around our kids then they need to be with us; this is not rocket science, right? It is hard because it requires us to give of ourselves though.
So, what does this look like to me? I am not the type of mom who loves to do crafts and sing songs all day; I am a Mom who likes to wish I was. Amen?? Realizing this form of bonding is not realistic, I had to go out of the Pinterest box. So, the family came up with our own creative ways to incorporate family time that we all enjoy: Mexican Monday (a family favorite), Wacky Wednesday (all things kids love), and on Saturdays (when we are home) we alternate kids each week to have quality one on one time with. Not too bad. These are standards, our calendar moves around them. We are also big board-gamers, puzzlers, and readers. Our efforts are a vast improvement that ensures we have these family focused times set apart along with nightly family dinners and Bible readings before bed.
Now that I have made us sounds fantastic let me assure you we do plenty of things wrong but lets keep with the positive momentum, huh? There is plenty of time to share parenting dirt!
Parenting is challenging, exhausting, and painful. That saying, “Sticks and stones may brake my bones but words can never hurt me,” came from someone without kids. Period. Just today, Mother’s Day, I have been told I was hated, worst parent ever, she tore up my card, and stomped off. My offense? I wouldn’t let her play Rob Top on my iPad. Lord help me. No seriously, help me.
My kids are famous around the house for leaving those above mentioned “I hate you” notes on
my pillow, run-away threats, destroying rooms, and slamming doors. If you spend anytime on FB you’ll think everyones kids are straight A students, send prompt thank you notes, and are all around perfect little beings. Which is great really, I love that my friends share highlight moments in their lives and we should be proud of our little people. It is also encouraging to know we all struggle and have hard parenting days too; these are never posted. Well, until right now I suppose.
Clearly, even if you did not know our children ages you could guess puberty is lurking by the behavior I have mentioned. This also means the years left to ensure we raise kids to God’s glory is running shorter. Now, don’t get me wrong, they are good kids. They do their chores, get good grades, are helpful, polite, and care for their friends… some of the time. Like any human, they are a work-in-progress too.
Man’s wisdom is fleeting so this is not my idea but God’s plan (1 Corinthians 3:19). How amazing it would be if we followed his instructions perfectly the first time. Oh well, good thing his mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). Here are a few scriptures showing God’s wisdom for parenting.
Here Titus tells us how our household should run, the man needs to spiritually guide the home.
Children do not have a free pass to act out just because they are children. So those that say, “Boys will be boys”… think again. Those who believe girls have the right to act snotty and over the top, wrong again. There are so many one liners we perpetuate in society allowing misbehavior. If we all made the choice to quit allowing it and to mold it to God’s standard instead of societies the children would be better off.
Titus 1:16, “An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.”
We are His children and need to act as well as we wish our children too. We are not allotted to have “do as I say” attitudes. Our behavior is an outward expression to whom we belong, this includes how we treat other parents. Causing harm to another parent for any reason is not okay in His kingdom and does not bring Him glory.
1 John 3:10, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.”
1 John 3:18, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
This scripture charges me with being more diligent in my parenting. I talk with my children a lot. Many of you know this. I have carved out alone time with my children since they were 2 years old. The safe place happens to be on my bed for whatever the reason. I have heard their heart many times there. It is talk though and I feel compelled to do more. Not just impart my wisdom of life or heart as their mom but to guide them to the Word now. When there is an outburst I want to take them to the word of God and show them that God says to be slow to anger. This furthers our parenting beyond the “because I said so” to having them realize God commands it and He loves them more than we are capable of nor comprehend.
So here is my proposal, hubs and I are focusing on their hearts and being in God’s Word together. This is nothing new. We are not coming up with some new invention on how to parent. It is old as time and a proven technique! We are simply striving to improve and be more consistent. I will blog about our adventure and hope you join us on this journey.
That is it. I am a mother and I need encouragement just like you so if you want to follow along our story, great. If you want to jump in and share yours, even better!
It is about doing life together! I do not know about you but I could you a “you go girl” or a shoulder from time to time. Knowing others are praying for you is strengthening. Let’s be Titus 2 to one another.
Words can hurt and words can be encouraging. Would you join me and be an encourager to your children, yourself, and other parents around you? We all struggle and none of us have it figured out. Regardless of whatever trend or fad we decide to follow or not, we have good intentions.
We are all doing our best.
Parenting is hard.
So with that, do you go for dark, milk, or white chocolates first? I am a dark chocolate girl myself.
I pray peace over you and your house,