Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Purposeful Parenting: When You Feel Like a Failure

Before we were parents, we used to joke that if any future children ever yelled, "I hate you!" we would know we were doing our jobs as parents correctly. The goal isn't to be their friends. Our goal is to be their parents. A tough, unappreciated role.

Since we've grown in our role as parents, since we knew we were pregnant, and since we have fallen deeper in love with our Savior, we have a bit of a different view on how to know if we're succeeding as parents.

On nights like this one, I have to really remind myself what successful parenting looks like.

Our poor Bug. She's working on teeth, I'm sure of it. Why else would she cry and cry and cry but not be hungry? Not want to sleep even when her eyes are rimmed with red from lack of sleep? My heart breaks a million times over for her, as I can't imagine the pain she must be in.

Even if not from pain from her teeth, Bug is clearly unhappy and unable to tell me what's wrong. It makes my mama heart hurt.

Jason works third shift, so he slumbers peacefully (as peacefully as one can when a babe is crying in the home) as I just scramble to get Bug happy and preferably, asleep.

Eventually, I succumb to the fact that I'm just worn out and in need of a break. I reluctantly wake Jason up and ask him to bathe her - maybe that will help sleep come for our Bug.

Within an hour's time, Bug is asleep, peaceful in her crib. Jason goes back to back for another couple of hours. I am left feeling broken.

Clearly, I suck at this parenting thing. Clearly, I'm just failing.

According our standards of successful parenting, however, I'm winning!

Our standards of winning at parenting:
  1. Your child is alive.
  2. Your child knows and loves God.
That's it.

By those standards, I've won.

So why do I feel like I've failed?

It's really easy to give into what this world calls a success. Are your kids in fashionable threads? Are your kids involved in swimming, music lessons, tumbling, dance and play dates? Are your kids being socialized at a daycare? Do you take your kids on vacation to Disney?

That's what this world calls success.

But I don't adhere to this world's standard. I'm held to another standard - God's. I'm not walking the wide path. No, I've been called to walk the narrow, windy, bumpy and oftentimes lonely path, despite the fact I'm not walking by myself. God is there with me, in the darkness, in the rain, in the sun, in the fog and in the absolute treacherous storm.

Others are there - others who have been called to live this life, too. God's placed those people squarely in my life, so I can keep walking this path with companions. With supporters. With others who share my same dream.

But in the dead of night, when this world tells me I've failed, I struggle to keep my eye on the prize. Heaven!

Weary moms, take heart. God has conquered this world! He gave us His only Son so that we may have eternal life!

So that our children may have eternal life.

How much does it matter if our children don't have the latest toys, gadgets and clothes? How much does it matter if they never see far-away places their friends have visited?

It only matters that they know and love God. If your children do, I'm telling you you've won.

You've got this parenting gig figured out. You are a champion!

When you feel like you've failed, look at your sleeping babe and reflect on the countless times you've told him God loves him. God will never forsake him. God has plans for him - to prosper him and give him a future.

Take joy in your babe's breaths - steady in and steady out. Place your hand upon your baby's warm head and place a kiss against her forehead. Breathe in her smell and relax.

You're a winner.

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