(I know I used the "s" word mom. Sorry.)
It begins with sleepless nights and morphs at the speed of light into mouthy, eyeball rolling, teenage years that seem to drag on with no end in sight. Where are you Hallmark family moments? Why do you taunt me Full House family? Parenting isn't supposed to look like this.
Parenting is tough stuff. When kids are tiny we think it's hard. We have no idea what we're in store for as they age. It. Only Gets. Worse. Parenting in every age and stage sucks.
We are expected to keep these messy, eye-ball rolling humans alive, all while providing emotional security, healthy meals, and the resources so that they can excel at whatever facies their little self-centered hearts at the moment (think dance age 4, Homecoming Dance age 14).
When I consider the fact that I want to raise my kids to know the hope found in Jesus Christ, the sucks in "parenting sucks" goes to a whole notha level on the suckage meter (known commonly in parenting circles as the suckometer). The frustration and confusion that the every parent experiences is compounded by the fact that I want to raise them to be in love with Jesus more than the world.
3 Reasons Christian parenting sucks
1. It Changes My Focus: God's goal for me as a parent is to raise kids who look like Jesus. My goal is (aside from keeping them alive and not scarring them for life emotionally) that they graduate, have lots of friends, and are successful in life. I want them to resemble me. I have to change my focus as a parent.
2. My approach changes: all good parents put boundaries around their kids. Christian parents establish boundaries based on God's standards. This makes me look mean. Sometimes it's nice when my kids actually like me. When I get to be the cool parent instead of "that parent" the homestead is full of warm fuzzies. Christian parenting requires that I operate with different standards than the typical parent. That makes me uncomfortable sometimes.
3. The workload increases: on top of the school projects, girl drama, and grades, I am supposed to take them to church, have regular faith talks, and get them a purity ring?! The inequality of it all flies in my face. This. Is. Too. Much. Seriously.
Why can't I just worry about grades and sports and regular parenting stuff? Sometimes I wish I could just take it down a couple of notches.
As I wallow in self-pity I am reminded that as much as I feel overwhelmed and ill prepared to parent my kids to know Jesus, I am so in love with being their mom. I love watching each new discovery and cheering for each milestone. The truth is too, that I love watching them fall in love with Jesus. I love seeing them come to experience peace found in Him. These are the lessons in parenthood that really matter.
I find comfort in knowing that when I am at the end of myself I can allow Jesus to really take the credit. The truth of the matter is that the only way I will survive the suckiness of being a parent is through the strength of my Father. He carries me through each parenting experience.
- He sustains me as I change my focus to showing my kids how to imitate Jesus.
- He reminds me of my identity in Him as I learn that it's ok to not be liked in certain moments.
- He gives me the rest I really need when I rely on Him to guide me.