“I have to ask – when will I stop second guessing my parenting?”
I cradled the phone with my shoulder, turned off the sink and wiped my hands while considering the question. Of my (almost) daily rituals, one of my favorites is the customary phone chat with my best friend. Together we talk through this crazy life of ours, sometimes with excitement and wonder and other times with fear and uncertainty. I move through the house organizing and putting away while we talk it all out together.
“I don’t think you ever will stop.”
I’m not sure if that is what she wants to hear, but I really don’t believe that there will ever be a time when the clouds part, the music soars and I’ll think “I’ve arrived! This is it! I have it ALL figured out, I am the PERFECT PARENT! Ta DAAAA!”
If you are anything like me, marking something as “unachievable” just doesn’t cut it. I’m one of those people with the stubborn belief that I can probably do just about anything if I work at it hard enough. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you work, how gentle or firm, scheduled or relaxed, consistent or gracious, fun loving or militant you are, achieving perfection as a parent is impossible.
I know this all sounds rather hopeless, but hang on a minute.
The good news about raising kids is this:
It doesn’t require perfection. It does require grace.
Grace for your children. Grace for other parents. Grace for you.
It can be hard to accept grace for parenting because it is important – and highly emotional. We carry these babies for 9 long months, stroking our bellies and promising ourselves we will never raise our voices, always be patient, make all the right decisions. Then they are born, small and helpless and the inner mother bear growls protectively.
The onslaught begins almost immediately. Epidural or natural birth? Formula or Breastfeeding? Disposable or cloth diapers? Convertible or Infant car seat?
I remember being a new mom, overwhelmed by all of the choices, exclaiming to my mother in exasperation “I wish the world was more black and white!” She smiled and patted my hand and said “Just wait until they are teenagers.”
The funny thing about grace is, the more you realize you need it, the more you are able to give to other people.
Becoming a mother softened my heart toward my own mother and the faults I perceived her as having. Now that I am on this roller coaster called “Parenthood,” I can recognize when someone else is just trying their very best.
And that is good enough, because grace covers us all.
2 Corinthians 4:9 says,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
His grace is sufficient to cover the nitty gritty of parenting, yes, even the ugliest moments. When we accept that grace, we can move toward a more peaceful, joyful and fulfilling life.
By Lydia J Will at smalltownsimplicityLeave a Comment