Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Guilt Trip

I wish I was a better mother.

Don't we all think that to ourselves sometimes?  Unless of course you're a dad.  But the same sentiment holds...I wish I was a better father.

We are a new generation of parents.  The internet is our guidebook for all things: pediatrics, behavior modification, potty training, birthday partying, training up our children in the way that they should go.  Or the fifty ways that they could go.  Or the hundred.  Because that's just it, for every one so-called expert, you can find another that contradicts the first.  And if there's one thing I've learned from reading all the blogs that I do, it's that every family is just a little bit different.  And isn't that the beauty in the body of Christ? 

I was just reading a blog post by one of my favorite writers and she was talking about her family's "catch phrases."  And I thought to myself, "We should have some of those."  And I am currently reading a book on the Kindle app in which the authors were sharing some of their practices of faith in their home.  And I thought to myself, "We should be better about that."  And I also got on Pinterest while I was nursing this morning (why do I do that to myself?) and I pinned 20 different kids' activities that I will likely never do.

The point of all this is to talk about the guilt we feel as parents.  I think that one of the really positive things about having been a mom for ten years is that I finally (just finally) feel like I am coming into my own.  Like I am figuring out who I am as a mom and who I am not.  And I am learning to be okay with that.  It's still a process, and I don't imagine that will change anytime soon.  But there's a difference between feeling guilty and being guilty.  And how often are we really guilty, as opposed to just feeling bad about our inability to create a seasonally appropriate, on-trend preschool learning activity with accompanying gluten-free, sugar-free, designer snack.  All before 8am, while still showering and fixing our hair.  And it can be especially hard to discern that difference with all the voices on social media, parenting magazines, Pinterest boards, and blogs telling us who we should be.

The reality is that there is only one voice we should listen to.  God gave us our children because he knew that we were the specific parents that our specific children needed.  This doesn't mean that we are perfect, or that we should never feel convicted to grow or change.  But maybe this is one of those times when we should be listening to the still, small voice instead of the guilt-infused cacophony of the internet.  And we can trust that the One who gave us the gift of being parents will, in time, give us every tool and skill that we need to raise our children to be whole and healthy people.  Do I need to think more seriously about our family spirituality?  Probably.  Do we need to have family catch phrases?  Maybe not.  The trick is in the discerning.  And also in the ability to recognize that there is a season for everything, and as my children grow, so will my ability to parent them.

And now, all the crazies are acting crazy.  So that's enough waxing philosophical for me for one day.  Here's some pictures of the kids.  Only Emma and Luke because I love them the most.  JK. 

Who needs a pack n play?

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