Saturday, October 15, 2011

5 things I wish I'd known

What are 5 things you wished you would have known BEFORE you became a mother?

Before I became a mother, I knew the very best way to raise children. It was easy for me to judge “those” moms who simply did not raise their children appropriately. Too often, I shook my head in disgust. If those parents would only invest the necessary time and implement the necessary rules, their children would not be behaving that way. Then I had kids.
I wish I knew how futile it would be to measure myself up to other moms. Every mom is different. That’s the bottom line. No two women mother exactly alike and there is so much freedom in knowing that. Too often, I succumb to the lies that other moms are better. It’s just not true. We are certainly different and they may have strengths I don’t but that just means I have strengths that they don’t. It’s time to quit the comparison game in mothering.

It’s time to quit the comparison game between our children as well. No matter how hard we try, we cannot hold to one set of rules for every child. We have to be flexible because our children our different. What works with one child may not work with another. It is important to modify our plan of action to best suit each child. I wish I knew that determining my list of rules before my first child was born would only lead to frustration. Circumstances will change. With each new scenario comes a need for flexibility.

I wish I knew the certain failure that came with parenting. The failure of living up to my own expectations as well as the expectations of my children and the expectations of others are inevitable. There is no possible way I can live up to my own expectations. They are always too lofty. Inevitably, my children will grow up with a list of the way I failed them as I did with my parents and they did with theirs. Children always know better than their parents (until they become parents anyway). Just as I judged others, they are judging me and it doesn’t matter. Until they walk in my shoes and know the life I live, they cannot judge accurately. There is only one Judge whose opinion matters and I will face Him on Judgment Day.
Pain in parenting is unavoidable. I certainly could not comprehend that fact before my first child came along. There is pain for our children the moment we dream about their existence. In bringing the child into the world, we endure pain. Once that child is here and has to experience pain for themselves, it is utterly heartbreaking. In those moments where I cannot take the hurt away, all pain is magnified. It saddens me deeply to watch my child endure the pain. In this pain, I am drawn closer to God. The love I have for my own children gives me a glimpse of His indescribable love.

There are a lot of things I wish I had known before I had children. Just like being a teenager who has to experience it before they’ll ever understand, however, I had to become a parent first. The pains of parenting are completely outweighed by the joys. I’m so grateful to be the mom to three little girls. More so, I’m grateful to have a Heavenly Father who is the only perfect parent I ever need to measure up to.

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