This Parenting Gig is Hard.

A bit of business before we move on…the names of the babies are posted on the pictures of the last post! I love looking at their chubby baby faces. Thanks for indulging me.

One of the great things about having a blog that’s a couple of years old is the archives. A quick look at some old posts showed that I have, indeed, blogged about a good many parenting issues, both positive and negative, over those years. And lots of other bloggers do, too. As I was midway through writing this, I stopped to clean out my Google Reader and read Kelli’s new post, which has some similar points about how hard, but worth it, parenting is.

We’re in a fabulous small group right now with 4 other couples. We’d been meeting with 2 of the couples for a year, and last December, 2 more couples joined our group. I love that as a group, we represent a wide range of ages with our kids (in-utero through 12 years with a total of 17 kids), a mix of stay-at-home and working moms, dads who all work in different industries, and a combination of public school, private school, and homeschooling. It makes for good discussion.

We decided that our first big study together would be a parenting one, and I’m really liking it. We’re using a DVD series based on the book “Spiritual Parenting” by Michelle Anthony. It’s raised so many questions for me that hashing out some of those thoughts here on the good ol’ blog seemed like a good idea, since I know I can’t be the only one who wrestles with these things. Right?

Thing to Think About #1: What Needs to Be Done? Michelle talks in the video about making this statement how you see the world, and training your kids to think this way; how serving your family/community is really serving God. I desperately desire to raise children who walk into a situation or our home and think, “What needs to be done?” I want their little minds to constantly be thinking about how they can make a change in the environment around them, and not be oblivious to what’s going on.

Honestly, I think that some kids and grownups have a more natural bent towards this way of thinking, and that others need to be trained a bit more. Especially in the realm of taking care of a home, I want the boys to eventually be good husbands and not suck the life out of their wives by being unhelpful. I want them to be able to walk into a room and not step over me and my laundry piles on the floor, but sit down next to me and help. I want them to see the trash can at the end of the driveway and drag it in, just because they should. Obviously, this takes a lot of work, but I think it’s going to be worth it in the long run. Remind me of this when I drowning in a heap of socks that no one is volunteering to match up, ok? 🙂

Thing to Think About #2: Comfortable, but Not Too Comfortable. I want our home to be a haven from the world: a place to relax, just be yourself, and be able to talk to people who love and care about you and your life. I want it to be comfortable. But, I don’t want it to be too comfortable. And that means that the boys, and Matt and I, need to go through things that take us out of of our comfort zone. I don’t know exactly what that looks like service-wise yet, but I’m thinking about it – because, hello, it means WE need to get out of our comfort zone, too. As far as around the house goes, it means that I’m not a maid and servant, as I don’t want to encourage laziness or entitlement.

It also means that we’ll have to deal with trials as they come up – bullying, issues at school or on sports teams, etc. Because living through trials builds character, even though sometimes it’s easier and less painful to just let Mom and Dad try to take care of it by making a phone call or solving a problem for them.

I think this post over at It’s Almost Naptime (seriously, one of my absolute most favorite bloggers on the planet) is just a perfect description of what I’m trying to say here.

Thing to Think About #3: Are We Making the Right Choice? It’s kinda crappy that, as a parent, you really don’t know if what you’re doing is the right thing until way after the fact, like when your kids are grownups and it’s way too late to do anything about it, except apologize to their spouses. This past week, we discussed allowances, and all of the families had very different takes on what they do. I feel strongly that what we’re doing is right for our family based on what I know now, but will I think that in 20 years? Who knows. Time for me to exercise a bit of faith and trust that we’re making a good decision.

On the back of her book, Michelle Anthony says, “It’s not about perfect behavior. It’s about passionate hearts.” Here’s hoping we’re on the right track.

What are the hardest things about parenting for you?

7 responses to “This Parenting Gig is Hard.

  1. Perfectly timed post for me! I’ve been pondering how so many of the issues I face as a parent have to do with the HEART of my daughter (9 years old) more than anything else. If I can, with God’s help, reach her heart, the right choices, attitudes, behavior, etc. will follow. But you are sooo right – it’s a hard gig!

  2. Awesome post! My issues are yours as well as: teaching a “rise above” attitude that takes them through life and avoiding spoiling despite that fact that we are more finnancially capable of doing just that than our parents might have been.

  3. This is a great post; I hope you get more comments from your peers!! My parenting was, for the most part, bad; and I’m not just being self-deprecating for “effect.” I marvel that all 3 of our kids turned out so wonderful! ♥ ♥ ♥ When ours were young, I wouldn’t have been able to even verbalize your 3 areas of concern. I think most of my angst was over #3, and I was always frustrated over #1–but I/we handled issues so inconsistenly & without clear focus. Your #2 is a great goal–and wasn’t even really on my radar screen–you & Matt are doing some really good work on this!

    The hardest part about parenting for me was the fact that my parents were gone before the kids were born, so I sorely missed talking to them, esp my mom, about problems & issues. The next hardest part was having Ron gone so much & feeling like we weren’t really parenting as a team. And another hard part was my own personality & issues, which would fill a whole year’s worth of blogs!!!

    • Your kids could not have turned out like they did without good parenting along the way! I know we all have regrets about things we’ve done, but I think you’re being too hard on yourself 🙂

  4. Thanks Again for your parental wisdom Nicole! We are (lacking) but slowing doing a video series on parenting by Les & Leslie Parrot (?) Where can I get ahold of this series?
    The hardest thing for me is to hope that she will fully appreciate what I’m doing now and apply the same qualities being instilled now in 10 yrs from now.
    Another difficulty is raising kids (12-7-2) in a blended family where none of the kids have a common parent and both parenting styles tend to be at opposite ends of the spectrum.
    Looking forward to more from these.

  5. Great post (thanks for the link) and great points. I might look into that book myself. And I laughed out loud at the having to apologize to their spouses in 20 years bit. I so know I’m going to have some apologies to make!
    *sigh* I miss being in small group with you guys… 🙂

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