I have been pondering lately all the things I thought life with a kid would be like. You know, those thoughts we all have before kids where we mentally (or oftentimes verbally) note what we will or will not do as parents?
- "I will never let my kid throw a fit in the middle of Kroger."
- "My kid will not talk back to me."
- "I am not letting my kid use a pacifier."
- "I will never complain about my kids."
- "I will not let my kid watch tv, their minds need better stimulation."
- "I will always clean my house, I would never let it get that messy."
- "I will continue to blog even after kids, I mean how hard is it to blog? Why does everyone quit once they have kids!"
- "My kid will be on a schedule and sleep. We will not revolve around him!"
- My kid may have thrown a fit in all kinds of public places.
- My kid just may tell me "NO!" quite often.
- Our pacifier might have been a lifeline the first year of his life.
- I may complain about fits or lack of sleep or lack of personal space from time to time.
- The kid may watch tv first thing every.single.morning so mommy can get ready.
- He may also watch Elmo many other times in the day. It just depends on how our day is shaking out.
- The house might look like a war zone from time to time... maybe more time than less.
- The poor blog might have weeks of neglect quite often.
- My kid may sleep awesome. He may go a few months not sleeping at all. Who even knows anymore.
So what would I say to someone trying to prepare for this crazy journey called parenting?? Sure, read the books, take the classes and hear the advice. Soak in as much as you can of course. The more you know the better.
Then prepare your heart and mind for the truth that your situation will be your own. And no one but the Lord can help you with it really.
"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)
"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." (Proverbs 19:21)
Breathe and remember that the Lord has called you to this, and He will bring you through it. There are a million and one ways to raise a kid. Yes some are clearly better than others, but many are great. Don't get caught up in trying to be the best parent in the eyes of the world, or your church, or your friends, or facebook. Aim to be the best parent you can in the eyes of the Lord. One full of humility and love and grace. "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matt 6:33.
So yes, parenthood looks different than I pictured it for sure. My kid disobeys me all day long right now (Yay toddlerhood!). But the Lord has given soooo much grace and blessing. I also didn't picture how my heart would almost explode every time those tiny fingers play with my hair, or those little arms wrapped around my neck, or that sweet little voice said "wuv you". I didn't picture nights filled with "tackling" mommy and daddy in the living room floor and laughing so much I cry. I didn't envision adoring every new 'trick' he does or getting to share a smile with my beloved every time we are amazed at how smart he is. The grace abounds. I was too wrapped up in picturing how perfectly I would raise a tiny human, I couldn't picture how the Lord would use one to raise me closer to Him.
It may not be what I thought... but what it is... is so much more.