Thursday, November 8, 2012

Parenthood: The Game is ON!

For some reason, our culture has become very competitive in a lot of areas of life that make no sense: my landscaping is better than yours, my SUV is newer, my kids are involved in more activities, and i'm a perfect wife, etc.

But the area of competitiveness in adults that boggles my mind the most is in the arena of parenting. Parenthood is absolutely the most demanding job on the planet, and if you do this full-time, all the time, without daily all-by-yourself breaks and a 2-week vacation every year, you deserve (but will likely never get) a medal of honor.

And rather than acknowledge that good parenting doesn't always come easily or naturally, we put on a mask for others as if to say: oh, this is fun and rewarding and i never feel overwhelmed! If you can TRULY say that - like, in the shower, all by yourself, between you and God - then go grab yourself a badge (or a straight-jacket, 'cuz you're delusional! LOL) and come back tomorrow. You don't need to read any further.

If you haven't hit your "uh-oh, what's the right way to handle this situation" meltdown yet, just keep waiting; it's coming. If you had an easy baby, you'll get yours back later. If the toddler years were a breeze, wait for the teens! And if this is you, please stop telling the other mothers how great your children are at the exact moment that they are bearing their souls to you about how anxious they are over Junior's recent behavior! So. Not. The time.

One thing i have always refused to engage in is the GAME of parenting. You can sit there and listen to me tell you that my child gives me the run-around or has screaming tantrums, and you can respond with, "Wow, my Joey would never do that! I just don't have that problem." Go ahead. I will not hit you. I promise. But i might say, "well, you should just thank God right now that He hasn't asked that of you, then." Because, seriously, folks, our kids are born sinners just like we are. Do you do everything right all the time? Do you absolutely never fudge on anything you know you should do a certain way? (think of your driving....) Of course not. So why do we have to pretend our kids are perfect?

I get it: our kids are a reflection of us, of our parenting, of our values. But sometimes, our kids are just exactly who God made them to be. Whether we like it or not. Sometimes, our kid has autism, emotional outbursts, behavior issues, speech delays, vision problems, self-control issues, or any host of things not going perfectly right inside his/her little body. And at the end of the day, it is our job as parents simply to love them and encourage them to be the best version of themselves they can be. Because, when it comes right down to it, any other expectation is just setting them up for failure.

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