I am not equipped to raise my child and you aren’t equipped to raise yours. God did not give my child the mother she needed.
It’s true. I don’t have the parenting strengths to raise my child and quite frankly I grow tired of reading all of those lovey dovey articles that God gave our children the exact parent they needed. That the person you are is exactly who your child needs.
Bull mookey. (<—made up word from when I was eight and cussed in the car when I smelled cow manure. My parents made me find a new word. )
Anyway…That type of thinking is letting parents off of the hook into apathy, pride, laziness, and selfish living.
Hang on with me for a minute here…
You see, God didn’t give Sweet V the mother she needed.
God gave me the child I needed to become the person I was meant to be. Parenting is such an up close and intimate look into all of our weaknesses and our strengths. As a mother, I have realized just how much I lack and how strong I can be.
There was a time in my life where I was pretty rigid in a lot of my thinking. I was a slight perfectionist and at times a complete control freak. I was judgey and critical. I was extremely fearful of new situations. I couldn’t even call for pizza and was afraid of the dark into my 30’s. Now I know I did and still do possess amazing qualities. It’s just that the weaknesses were much more a part of my everyday mindset and often overshadowed the strengths. Is this the mom that my girl needs?
And what about the parents who are addicts? Or abusive? Or absent? Are they the exact parent their child needs?
We wouldn’t have a foster care system if that were true.
And maybe you know the same moms I do who have very little expectations for their children and just want to make sure they are “happy.” Or that one who constantly places fear in her child’s heart because she herself is anxious about almost everything. Is this the exact parent those children need?
No. Nope. Nada.
Children are a reminder that life is short. Their days turn into years quicker than the 5 minutes snooze allows between alarms in the morning. They remind us to embrace our strengths and come face-to-face with our fears and weaknesses. And there isn’t much time to contemplate that change within.
When your newborn is crying at 3 a.m. and needs to be fed or your 5 year old cries out in terror at 4 a.m., there is no time to be afraid of the dark. You skip the stairs in the pitch black house to meet their needs.
When a storm comes sweeping across the neighborhood sky, you don’t get to panic and cry when the thunder booms and live in your own fear. You smile a brave smile, do some positive self-talk, and scoop up your frightened children and teach them to be brave too.
When you are exhausted from working all day and you swore you wouldn’t let your kid watch a screen during the week because using her imagination is more beneficial, but you recognize she needs a bit of downtime after school too, you learn to relax and find a happy medium without going too soft in the other direction.
When you run a tight ship household because your family is large and that’s the only way to stay on track, you may realize that one child is crumbling under the demands of the routine and can’t keep up, you relax your expectation and come alongside him without demanding things be done “your way.”
When education is important to you and you want excellence from your children, you may discover that teaching maximum effort is more important that expecting maximum results.
When you had your whole life uder control and you are gifted with a child with special needs, you learn to lean on others and that each moment is precious.
When you have always been looking for the next fun thing to do and experience, you learn to balance it with structure and routine that your kiddos need even if that means you miss the fun too.
When you are not one to express your feelings or give affection, you learn to snuggle and giggle with your girl until the fireflies emerge from the grass each night.
When alcohol grips your life and rules your household, you decide one day to be a different person and get healthy for your family.
When you have an unhealthy relationship with food, you learn to stop justifying treats for “your kids” and you commit to balanced meals that benefit you all.
When you have poured your heart into your child who turns away from you, you learn that you can’t want something for her more than she wants it herself and you learn the lesson of letting go.
When you hold onto your anger and let it grow to bitterness inside of your heart and snap at your child and disengage from the moment, you listen to that voice inside that says, your child needs better from you. So you release those negative feelings and give them to God to sort out. Start journaling. Get counseling. Take up a hobby. But the parent your child needs is going to do the hard work to be present to guide and love and encourage him to let go of bitterness too.
When you have turned away from God and your faith is faltering, you learn to keep leading your child to the higher power. You recognize her deep need for peace while deep inside you remember your need for peace too.
So no. God did not give Sweet V the exact parent she needed. He gave me the exact child I needed to become better.
Day by day I become a better student of her. If I listen to her heart embrace her light, recognize her dark, and trust God to let it shape me, guide me, and grow me I will become the mom she needs and the person He knows I am inside.
She has taught me to slow down, relinquish control, prioritize, be decisive, face my fears, have fun, discipline myself, give grace and forgiveness, and make the moments count. I have had many a #momfail along the way and know there will be more, but when the next 4,380 days of her life have passed and she is ready to go out on her own, I want her to know that I am here and she can count on me to do what is right for her. Most importantly, I want to be a better me because of her.
Life is short. But life is good. Walk in your parenting strengths and work on refining the areas in which you are weak.
Keep on doing the next thing to make your house a love-filled home.
High five for home.