No Perfect Parent
There are a lot of ways to be a good mom. It can be really confusing. No two women will live, act, dress, work the exact same way. No two moms will raise their kids in the exact same way. Unfortunately, in a woman's quest to try to find the "one true way" of motherhood, she often starts mentally sorting methods of parenting into "good" and "bad" categories.
Formula feed = Bad
Co-sleeping = Good
Working mom = Bad
Organic food = Good
Every woman will sort things differently and those choices will mold her method of parenting. She'll see other moms making different decisions and wonder "am I wrong or is she wrong?" So how do we know if we have chosen the correct method when everyone seems to be doing something different?
One of the pieces of wisdom I learned that has brought me a lot more peace in my parenting this year is that no matter what I do, it needs to glorify God. He doesn't lay out a blueprint for perfect parenting in the bible; instead, He tells us to draw near to Him so that our decisions in parenting can be rooted in the wisdom and discernment He gives us.
Any time we make a decision on how to parent, it's important to examine the why behind our choices. This will often give us an accurate indication on whether or not we've made our decisions with or without God.
Why do I prefer to feed my baby this way? Is it what is best for him/her? Is my decision based on fear or the expectations of others?
Why do I want to go back to work? Has God given me gifts and a calling to pursue? Do I have a standard of living that needs to be kept up for appearances? Do I work begrudgingly or do I joyfully serve my employer?
Why do I have this rule for my teenagers? Am I trusting my kids to God's care? Am I teaching my kids how to make their own wise choices? Am I eliminating certain risks to allow them freedom in other areas?
God gives us so much freedom in the way we parent, which can feel frightening. But when we learn to abide in Him and learn to hear His voice, He guides us in the day to day decisions that mold our children. Better yet, He offers forgiveness and redemption when we mess up. We simply need to course correct.
Change Your Method or Change Your Attitude
When I homeschooled my kids and became an impatient, angry, and unloving mom, I no longer glorified God with schooling my kids. My decision to homeschool may have started with godly intentions, but it no longer served my children nor honored God. When we consider 1 Corinthians 13, anything done without love has no reward.
I did not know clearly which way of schooling my kids was truly best for their education, but I did know that God's word told me clearly that I was neither glorifying Him nor serving my children well by schooling them at home with an impatient and unkind heart.
I had to make the decision: can I change my attitude and carry on homeschooling in an honoring way or did I need to stop?
In this particular situation, I felt led to enroll my oldest children in a private school for the following year. I knew that God had deep soul work to do inside of me and that changing my impatience and high-expectations was not going to be resolved easily.
In what ways is God asking you to change your attitude?
What methods of your parenting is God telling you to change?
We don't have everything figured out the moment our child is born and God doesn't expect us to know what we don't know. Our biggest asset as parents is learning to rely on the wisdom and discernment that God gives to each of us. This type of knowledge is timely, relevant, and applicable.
To truly honor God in our parenting is to fix our eyes on Him--the One who parents perfectly.