Maybe I’ve been watching too much of my favorite baking show, but I see now that parenting puts said parent on a floured counter to be kneaded and rolled. We get worked until the gluten of flexibility emerges. Life pours vinegar into our mixture until bubbles of strength come out in the fryer of reality. And if you plan to use artificial sugar… Well, you better know what you’re doing!
We need flexibility, like you wouldn’t believe and, strength, too. I hope you don’t mind me mixing a military metaphor into the batter, because parents are soldiers. Soldiers don’t get to choose their orders. They don’t get to decide whether they’ll be sent into this or that conflict. But the veterans deserve (in my opinion) honor for their service.
Getting in work, cleaning, or exercise with limited time is an ongoing battle – figuring out the balance. Waking up each morning and deciding out how the priorities will be ordered for that day… Under these conditions, it’s so brave to have goals. It takes God to maintain a positive attitude.
I have to believe even when I don’t. I have to answer questions when I don’t know the answers. I have to do it when I don’t know how. And I have to keep going when I’m finished. Exhausted… Discouraged…
I explained to my son what it means to be discouraged. I said: You know how people tell you it will all work out? When you’re discouraged, it means that you don’t feel like it will work out. Discouraged means you don’t believe it will work out. I also told him that we have to trust God when we feel like that.
I told my oldest 2 kids: You know now that you have both faced the same challenges. That there are universal challenges, right..? Well, there are more challenges coming. People doing sex (I said it this way, for some reason) and people doing drugs, right? Yes, it seems gross right now. But you might like it later or, have friends who do. You might want to do it or watch it on TV. Yes. And the things you said you’d never do..? You might want to do those things. But this is the thing: God already knows everything you’ll do that you said you’d never do. He knows all the good and bad things that are coming in your life. So, don’t hold onto what you do, okay? Don’t hold onto whether you’re good or bad. Trust God. Hold onto that. He’s going to take you through every challenge – the big ones and the little ones.
The biggest challenge is: this life, which, like a rapper said, is all wilted roses and no leaves. I don’t know about that, but God will take you through the challenge of this life to heaven, if you believe in His Son.
The challenge you face today might be to do with nursing or getting in some sewing or exercise during a child’s nap. But it might be bullying on the bus or in Math class. It might a sassy teen or a teen who doesn’t know how to manage his rage. It might an older child who doesn’t want to live through social media attacks to see that facts on the ground change in life; the world is bigger; and death is too final.
The beautiful moments of parenting are real. Developmental Psychology says: The moments of joy in our lives are spiked way higher for parents and that the moments of distress are lower. So, there is stress, and the struggle is also real. But an accurate picture of parenting is one that recognizes how the times of pure joy make being a parent a worthwhile occupation. And I think: Parents who have God as their foundation have their hope in Jesus to carry them through it all.
In all cases…my advice is the same: Soldier on. Trust God.