Friday, September 12, 2014

One of my best realizations about parenting...

Do you ever get frustrated with parenting?  Then you let someone make you feel even worse?

I had recorded a television show that boasted a new revolutionary way to parent.  How could I not be intrigued by this promotion? 

There are some things I have been trying to teach my boys for years and sometimes it seems to be working and other times I think I need a new trick up my sleeve.

I flipped on the television in hopes of finding a new trick.

Instead I found a feeling of inadequacy. 

I assume the show was trying to empower moms, but it didn't me. They host and author of the book raved about the success of this new way of parenting and sold it with such enthusiasm and authority, it made me feel like I was doing it all wrong.  The problem is, I wasn't really sure what they are preaching.  It was vague and seemed to be more in theory.  The message I heard was that if my kids still work on some areas of their life, then I am not doing this parenting thing right.  Well...of course my kids need work in some areas of their life. (Really, don't we all need to work on something?)

The show left me feeling empty and discouraged.   And defensive. 

So, to make myself feel better, I went straight be being judgmental.  The host, though seemingly brilliant, didn't have children. I was done listening to her. And the author of the book, I am pretty sure she has had only one daughter.  I am going to give her the tougher parenting job award for the preteen and teenager years, but has she ever hung out with my boys who always seem to be in a state of motion?  The definition of kinetic energy at its best.  When they are bored they always revert to wrestling each other to the ground.  It doesn't matter where we are at: a friends house, the check out line, the church foyer...thankfully we worship a God of grace.  These judgmental thoughts weren't getting me anywhere. (I am pretty sure this is why being judgmental is not recommended.)

So, I moved on to whining to my close friends about it.  (Thank you to those that listened to my crazy babble on this topic.)

Thankfully, whining to my friends actually did work.  One of my good friends replied, "Sometimes what parents see as weakness in our children, can actually be strengths."

My heart stilled as I focused on what she was saying.

My friend elaborated with this example:

"Children that we might wish shared their emotions more or are more outwardly empathetic to others....well, we need first responders that don't carry their emotions on their sleeve and can calmly assess a crisis situation and be healing hands for the hurt."

My racing brain expanded on her example:

A overdramatic and whiney child might turn in to a wonderful, charismatic teacher that can capture her students' attention and inspire them to be great learners.

That child that hates to lose and let's everyone know in a less than desirable fashion might lead a company into great success, blessing all his employees and their families.

The strong willed kids that are challenging to parent might use that strong will not to give up when others do.  He might be the one to invent, discover or cure diseases.

What we parents sometimes view as our children's weaknesses are not always weaknesses. 

My friend's thoughts made me think of this scripture:

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9, ESV)
"For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor 12:10, ESV)

In this reminder that God has a plan for my boys' lives, my mothering heart found peace.

I still feel like I need some new and fresh parenting ideas, so I am reading two parenting books. But, I am reading them with a renewed confidence that God is working on my kids in ways that I sometimes don't always understand and that no parenting book has all the answers.

Thank goodness for good friends who talk me out of crazy-mother-land.  (How come crazy-mother-land is a comfortable place to reside sometimes?  All of us moms hanging out with our irrational fears and expectations...that is a different blog post....)

And thank goodness for a God that uses my friends to calm my heart and remind me that ultimately my hope is in God's powerful presence in our lives and His ability to guide and take care of these little people in my life who I love more than words could ever fully express.
 
Thank you to these blogs & Christian Mommy Blogger for letting me link up!

18 comments:

  1. Do boys ever STOP wrestling? LOL - I used to say we could never be invited to the Oval Office because they would end up wrestling on the floor! I also think that mothers with only daughters - or only one child - don't understand boys - or the multiple birth order character traits. I remember the 6 years when I just had one. Boy - did he make me look like a good parent - and that was because he was an only - first-born personality.

    I love what your friend shared with you. I so agree - every "gift" has a two-edged sword - and we as parents need to help our boys sharpen the strength of that sword edge. There are a couple of books that really helped me understand these boys - one was Don and Katie Fortune's Spiritual gift books about kids and one about couples (helps understand better how gifts communicate), The Five Love Languages - and a really good book on birth order personalities.

    Don't you feel like being a mom is like being in college in a doctoral program? I think we all need (especially moms with 3 sons + - no girls allowed) to be awarded honorary doctorates! LOL

    You are doing great, Mom! Keep it up!

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    1. I love reading all your thoughts. Thanks so much for the book recommendations and encouragement!

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  2. Wonderful insight. I remember when one of my children was younger & described as stubborn to a fault. It made me work to mold that trait into something positive. She is now a grown woman who never gives up, always persists & helps so many others. It is a wise mom who can help mold even negative traits into something beautiful. Visiting this afternoon from Fellowship Fridays.

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    1. Love everything you said in this comment! Thank you! My heart is encouraged!

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  3. Thanks for the reminder - "God is working on my kids in ways that I sometimes don't always understand and that no parenting book has all the answers." Often hard to realize that weaknesses have a side of strength to them. Parenting is so much more about God than us! (Visiting from Fellowship Friday)

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    1. Love what you said about "parenting is so much more about God than us!" I agree! I loved reading your comment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  4. I love this and I once wrote about "characteristics in children that are given a bad rap" - so I really agree with your friend! Praise God for those people in our lives... the ones who talk us down from our misguided notions.

    Thank you so much for sharing this at my #Blirthdaybash. I'm delighted that you took the time to celebrate with me.

    Wishing you a lovely week.
    xoxo

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    1. I enjoyed reading your comment and thanks for letting me link up!

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  5. I just LOVE that the body of Christ can encourage one another like this. Your friend sounds like such a wise woman! Your boys are lucky to have you as their mom. Thanks for linking this up with the Faith and Fellowship blog hop! :-)

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    1. Thanks, Susannah! And thanks for letting me link up!

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  6. As a mom of three girls I have to say my parenting feels inadequate all the time. Meeting the needs of three completely difference personalities can be difficult to say the least.. and I loose my cool way too often. :)

    I am a new follower of your blog :)

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    1. Yay! Thanks for following my blog. I am excited to check out yours!

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  7. Your friend is so right! I live a life where I have to foster my child's weakness so she can do basic childhood things like walk, talk, and learn. Our society focuses too much on the perfect child and does not focus enough on how weakness become strengths. Also studies show that rough housing is part of how boys deal with there emotions. That boys need movement to learn.

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    1. Candice, thanks for the comment and sharing a piece of your story with me. I will look forward to reading your blog!

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  8. Feeling inadequate as a mom can strike from so many different places. I used to think the "every child is different" line was a cop out, but after five kids I KNOW every child is different. Ultimately, we have to take all parenting advice and filter it through our own situations and parenting goals to see if it fits. Good for you for getting some different perspectives! Thanks for linking up to Motivational Monday!

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    1. Loved your thoughts and thanks for letting me link up!

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  9. Great thoughts! I don't think there is one size fits all parenting since kids are so different- even my three rough and tumble boys need very different things from me since their personalities are so different (although they share the need to wrestle!). The difference between boys and girls is so different too; my foster daughter immediately kissed her doll we gave her for her first birthday and none of my boys has ever done that :) They all keep me on my toes and trying to help guide them with their particular gifts is difficult and I am so thankful for the wisdom that God gives us in that! Thanks for sharing!
    -S.L. Payne, uncommongrace.net

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    1. S.L. Payne, I loved reading your thoughts and perspective. Thanks for commenting on my post!

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