On Parenting Deeply and Well

Parenting is undoubtedly the most difficult job I’ve ever done. Can I admit it here — it’s not instinctive for me? It’s not intuitive. Though Tom will argue voraciously with me on this, and has, the fact remains that I do not feel like a good mother. Many times I wonder what I was thinking becoming a parent. But that’s me being negative and fearful, not living in abundance.

How does one become a good parent?

We look back at how we were raised. We observe others, although this can quickly turn into bad comparison for me. We work on our own s***. We pray a lot! (I know my father prayed for me every day. I felt that loss when he died.) And we hope that the days will s t r e t c h, time will slow down, much like a sci-fi movie. I mean who doesn’t need more time to improve upon themselves? Now, when life is moving quickly and my children are dashing into their teen years I want to press the slow motion effect. If only.

If the Bible were a parenting manual (which it is not) I think perhaps it would say work on your character and the fruits of your spirit and the LORD will add to these things, but there are no guarantees. The more you try to control the outcome the less likely you’ll get it .

So what’s a person to do?

Today I was thinking and wondering this.  How do we teach our children that they are unconditionally loved – that no matter what they ever do our love is irreversible. This superpower, called “unconditional love,” was modeled for us by Jesus Christ. I lay down my life, regularly.  Or,  is it more like giving up my rights?  My power. My control. Oh, we’re back to that again. Yeah, I was mightily controlled growing up so that’s one of my issues.

And I vacillate with my kids. Oh, how I hated feeling controlled as a child, and yet without boundaries children (and adults) flounder. So I regularly pray for a good measure of strength to apply appropriate boundaries with consequences without being perceived as or wanting to be controlling.

There’s a strange characteristic in kids — they believe in the live and let live, totally. Yes, even mom and dad.

If you loved me you’d just let me … stay up and talk to my friends on the computer. Leave my stuff all over the house. Lose my cell phone with no consequences. Not work that hard in school, I mean lighten up, Mom. It’s only grades. Not live up to my potential, I mean if it were important to me I’d do it.

Yup, true. But I definitely regret that I wasn’t pushed more when I was a child. I was left to flounder. So, I have to admit, I’m a bit befuddled.

What’s the best book on parenting you’ve read?

What’s the best advice you’ve been given about parenting?

What did your parents do that was really right?  

Do you have any advice for a young mom like myself?