Disclaimer: This post does not include advice from a parent who thinks she has it all together!
I would describe parenting as a dance. As I move forward, my children either move back, or they step on my feet. Or, I step on their feet. Or, we both fall over and laugh hysterically.
When my first child was in my belly, I read all the books about what to eat and what not to eat when I was pregnant. How much to exercise, sleep, and work. I tried to follow the best advice in order to prepare for his arrival.
As most parents know, all of that information flies out the window when that bundle of joy cries for no apparent reason and the mystery scavenger hunt begins.
What is wrong? What am I doing wrong? How do I figure this out when I am exhausted and my patience is still asleep?
I was 25 years old when my first child was born and 30 years old when my fourth, and last, child was born. Needless to say, I was in survival mode most of the time. I have joked on several occasions about being thankful that I journaled and scrapbooked pictures and thoughts about those years because I don’t remember ANYTHING.
Shortly after my last child was born, I got divorced. So, the survival mode that I was already in kicked into overdrive.
Now, she is 15 and I am 45.
Back to parenting… the point I wanted to make today is that none of us really know what we are doing. We try stuff that we hope will work because it sounded so perfect in the books we read. But it doesn’t seem to work on OUR kids, because, well, they’re unique. And so are we.
So, we adjust, and then readjust, never really getting it right. And, that is OKAY!
I read this recently, and loved it: “God didn’t make perfect parents. He made mothers and fathers perfectly suited for the unique needs of their children” (Dave and Ann Wilson, in their new book titled, “No Perfect Parents”).
I love this because it gives parents the validation, affirmation, and freedom to just be themselves. Accept the fact that you aren’t perfect and you aren’t expected to be perfect. Embrace the fact that God knew you before He gave you your kids, He knows you now, and He even knows what you haven’t done yet. He chose you to be their parents anyway!
I believe that kids need us to just love them where they’re at, for who they are. We can dance with them, we can definitely try to figure them out, we can attempt to improve, and we can make changes when necessary. At the end of the day, they just need us to love them.