What Parenting is Teaching Me

Door slams.

I turn away angry.

We both ache with a door–and a gulf of pain–between us.

And we try to navigate our way back to each other.

She is in-between, changing attitudes like she does clothes. She craves freedom, independence. I hold on too tight. I engage and push.

I tap on her door, crawl in bed beside her. I pull her close and hang on. The quiet of just being there heals us both.

Parenting is God’s mirror: it shows us a reflection of ourselves.

I see myself in her, the way God sees me: I am stubborn. I want freedom and choices. I want things my way.

He is there, constant.

He never stops loving me.

He is patient.

He waits.

I can see it now. The reflection. The gentle way He parents me. His discipline comes from abiding love. Yes, I understand.

She is becoming.

So am I.

What Parenting is Teaching Me:

  • Parenting is a journey, not a destination. We don’t ever truly arrive. As our children grow, their needs change. Problems come and go, but they will always be our kids. I still call my mom when I need her. I don’t want to wish away today thinking tomorrow will be easier with my children. I want to live today the best I can and learn from it.
  • Parenting is more about me growing up then my children. I used to think becoming a parent meant I knew something, but the longer I’m a mom, the more I don’t know. God uses my kids to teach me about myself everyday. Ultimately, he shows me that I can’t be the mom I long to be on my own. I need His help every.day.
  • People who love each other, sometimes hurt each other. But people who love always choose forgiveness. Parenting was so physical when my kids were babies and toddlers. Exhaustion was a constant. Parenting is less physical and more emotional for me now. Feelings get hurt, words are said, but we are a family. Forgiveness is always the best choice.
  • Parenting is the hardest job. It’s also the best. I’ve never done anything harder. It’s the most demanding, challenging area in my life. At the same time, growing these little people is the most fulfilling, meaningful thing I’ve ever done. It’s full of ups and downs. But I’m determined to love them well.

What I see in the reflection of Him, Me, Her:

Never let go– Never stop loving–Never give up–Always constant–Always present–Always forgiving

And just like that, we are as close as any mom and daughter can be. Loving, needing, trying to figure out this dance.

I thought I was teaching her, it turns out He was teaching me.

What are you learning on this journey?

Comments

  1. 1

    Linsay says

    Perfect timing. I am reading this as I sit in my car waiting for my moody teen who hurt my feelings and left me alone in a room full of strangers. I have no idea what to say when he returns to the car bit after reading this through tearful eyes I know it will go differently than I first pictured it. Thanks for the encouragement and reminder.

  2. 2

    says

    Oh, wow! I am learning that every child is different. I have a teenager and she is trying. She is very moody. I try to give her freedom without putting her in danger or allowing her the opportunity to do something she will regret. It seems with teens you can’t do anything right. Her latest bit of “trouble” is trying to figure out why I won’t let her have a facebook account. That is a no brainer!

  3. 3

    says

    I am learning that God is a creative parent, and to engage our children fully, we have to be creative too. Our unique parenting situation warrants all manner of frustration from time to time, but asking for a dose of His creativity in discipline or just to create a special memory with them can ease a lot of troubles in a heart.

  4. 4

    says

    My oldest is only 5, but we are already going through the battles that seem to go hand in hand with having a strong-willed little girl. The quote on your picture made me happy and sad at the same time: happy because I just wrote about the same thing yesterday and it’s nice to know somebody else experiences the same thing; sad because it’s another realization that a lot of the traits that drive me nuts in my daughter are the ones she got from me.

    I like your list of lessons you are learning from parenting. I hope you don’t mind if I save them to look at…a lot…in the years ahead!

  5. 5

    Nancy says

    Oh, so true! And the reflection gets clearer and clearer as they get older. I so wish I would have realized this back when mine were the age of yours. Would have given me more time to work on myself!! Thank goodness His mercies are new every morning!

  6. 8

    TheBabyWhisper says

    OH.. you hit me right over the head with your post.. My loving, sweet Strawberry Shortcake girl.. is slowly turning into this TWEEN, stomp up the stairs, shuts her door… what is she doing in there?, why is she wanting to chunk her little brother out of the window? I ask “whats wrong.. everyother time I ask this question I get an hour disertation on what is bothering her… Now it’s “nothing”.. how can it be nothing if she is acting like an ALIEN. Is this whats to come. Do they still have Nunneries? I called home to question this behavior and my dear grandmother explained pay backs are difficult.. and laughed??? I dont remember being an Alien. Independent, strong willed, and mouthy as she put it. I think she must not have the wrong granddaughter, she is 91 after all. I think I’ll try another relative. Pray for us, I think we are going to need it. Mostly my son, who seems to be target #1.

  7. 10

    says

    I am learning grace through the parenting of my children. Most recently my son has been required to “pay his daddy back” for a monetary mess up… But I have been thinking about that concept a lot… While he is selling something to pay dad back, it was his dad that bought that item in the first place. He is just recycling money back to daddy’s pocket. My nine year old is as powerless to cover his sin as I am to cover my own. It is a gracious Father that both covers AND disciplines…

  8. 11

    Sara says

    I really enjoyed this post! I’m currently pregnant and I found your honesty to be very helpful and encouraging.

  9. 12

    Mary Jepperson says

    Your daughter is most fortunate to have a mom who listens to Father’s heart and loves her His way. Keep listening, my friend, He won’t lead you astray.

  10. 13

    says

    I’m learning so much that I don’t even know how to articulate all that I’m learning.

    Today I learned that, as much as Ruby and I are both ready for her to go to school, we’re going to miss each other something awful when it actually happens.

  11. 14

    Tara says

    I’m having one of these days/weeks with my 9 year old. It is frightening the mirror part but I am so at a loss how to connect. He pulls away, I pull him back. I know I have to let him go but the disrespect and bad choices are hard to accept…

  12. 15

    says

    Whn I was growing up, it seemed like my mom knew EVERYTHING. I thought it came with being a mommy, so it stuns me that I don’t know everything. I am not sure if it’s because I am failing at this, or if my mom knew less than I thought she did. Maybe my kids think I am all knowing and wise?

  13. 16

    says

    Wow, this is a fantastic post. This is my first time here, and I love what you do. Surely, I’m going to subscribe to your blog. Here-here, especially on the last bullet point you mentioned.

  14. 17

    says

    this post resounded with me. just had my 5th baby 3 days ago and i feel like i have learned so much the past 8.5 years of parenting and been refined in so many ways (and have so much more room to grow!). love what you shared!

    my recent post: introducing…

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