Monday, November 18, 2013

A Parental Confession

Let me preface the following sentence with a disclaimer: it is the understatement of a lifetime.

Being a parent is tough.

That tiny little statement does not even breach the reality of what being a parent is all about and how tough our jobs are.

Parenting period is no small task...but parenting a toddler? It is not for the faint of heart. Apparently, I was a fairly easy child and did not have the terrible two or three tantrums like I am being blessed with as a parent myself right now. Don't get me wrong...I love that little boy of mine with every fiber of my being. But sometimes, I simply don't know.

I don't know if I'm doing the right thing.
I don't know if I'm saying the right thing.
I don't know if I'm disciplining in the right way.
I don't know if I'm showing him enough affection and attention.
I don't know if he comprehends how much I truly do love him.
I don't know if I am a good enough mother.

And there you have it. What is "good enough?" Our society seems to be overrun with "mother wars" as I like to call them.

Breastfeed vs. formula
Cloth diaper vs. disposables
Co-sleep vs. independent sleeping
Cry-it-out vs. on demand
All natural everything vs. convenience
Santa vs. no Santa
Vaccinate vs. no vaccinate
Spanking vs. no spanking
Circumcision vs. no circumcision
Stay at home vs. working mom


This list of arguments goes on and on. As mothers, we are the quickest to judge another mother who does things differently than we do. That's why it is so hard to take advice from others these days. Because if you're doing it one way and you seek advice from someone who does it differently, 9 times out of 10, they are going to make you feel inferior. They are going to make it sound like you have been neglecting your child or not raising them properly. In a really nasty nutshell, you'll end up feeling like a bad parent.

But why should you? Do you love your child? Do you provide them with the care they need? Do you feed and clothe them? Do you spend quality time learning about them and teaching them the skills they need to be successful? Isn't that what being a parent is all about?

Am I a bad parent because I only fed him breast milk for the first few months and then went to formula or because I use disposable diapers or because I don't allow him to sleep in bed with us or since I did use a form of cry-it-out or because I tend to buy what's convenient or because I'm going to allow my son to believe in Santa or since we vaccinated him or because we didn't circumcise him or because we do spank him or because I work away from home?

Does any of that make me a "bad parent?" Or make my husband and I bad parents? No. It makes us parents that try to do things that will work for our family. Everyone is different. Every child is different. And everyone is entitled to their own strong opinions as well as making informed decisions. Would I do things a little differently knowing what I know now? Certainly. But I have no regrets.

My number one prayer is that we cultivate the love of God and the love of people in the heart of that precious boy that has been entrusted to us. I pray that he will learn the importance of forgiveness, serving others, and unconditional love from both his father and myself.

If you do things differently, I'm happy for you. If it works for you, then keep on keeping on. Instead of bashing the decisions of other mothers or fathers, we should support them when they are struggling. Instead of saying, "You should do it this way," maybe we should try, "Well this worked well for me. You could try it and see."

I'm tired of seeing the "mommy wars" on facebook and in magazines. We are so judgmental of others - myself included. Let parents be parents - if it's not emotionally, physically, or otherwise hurting the child, let it be. Let's support each other and uplift each other.

My confession to you is that I don't have it all together as a mom. I certainly don't have all the answers. But guess what? Neither do the rest of the parents out there. It's okay to question if you're doing everything right by your child. It's natural. Healthy, even, I would venture. But don't let that stand in the way of standing your ground on how you choose to raise your child. And definitely don't let anyone tell you you're wrong.

The End.

Photo retrieved from www.christianitytoday.com - It's such a great reminder!


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