Parenting Is Neither Heaven Nor Hell

I was reading a random blog post the other day that was telling moms that they shouldn’t give into the culture around them that says that children are basically a pain in the butt.

I agree with that woman.

Somewhat.

What she had to say was true. It’s sad that our culture mostly teaches us to raise kids that are out of control, and then blame our kids for being that way.

I just wish that when women advocated for a different attitude towards parenting, that they would be able to stay in reality. It’s like the labels for parenting either fall in to the category of ‘This is HELL!’ or ‘This is HEAVEN! everything I’ve ever wanted is now fulfilled in motherhood.’ It’s like the only two perspectives on parenting are: ‘My kids are insane. They better not bother me too much. When can I get a break? My kid is uncontrollable. And it’s not my fault’ type of mindset that our culture tends to portray, or the ‘This is such a sweet time of life, I never want anything else than to be a mommy. I’m in this idealistic world where I’m just riding along on this cloud while my toddler screams and wipes his jam hands on my white dress yet nothing ever bothers me because I’m a mother cherishing the little years’ opposite ‘Christian’ mindset.

parenting

Ah! Such polar extremes! I don’t know if you’re like me, but I find that either of those extremes is not a healthy place for me. The best place for me is right there in the middle of the two. I don’t naturally want to lay on the floor and play dollshouse. Again. Instead of plopping on the couch. And I don’t want to constantly redirect my two year old, doing the plain old hard work of teaching her to obey. I don’t love answering the thousandth question of the day.

BUT!

God has  called me  to mother these children. And when I can slow down, really look at them, and intentionally choose to give up myself and what would make me feel more comfortable, then I find that those are my very best mothering moments. It’s like acknowledging the reality of motherhood, while at the same time, trusting in the unnatural truth that God’s ways are better than mine. He says that my job is VERY important, that I am the biggest influence on my girls, and that I am in the position to pave the way for a soft heart and settled identity in the way I parent and love my children and teach them about the Gospel in everyday situations. When, in faith, I put my agenda aside and die to my own desires for comfort and not being bothered, it’s like I’m living in the tension of the hard reality of life and faith. I’m holding each in one hand and hanging in there balancing the two extremes. It’s not idealistically riding on a cloud of the wonder of motherhood. And it’s not plopping my wild animal children in front of the TV so I can spend my time doing what I want to do. It’s both living in reality and also choosing to believe what God says about family and children and mothering.

I don’t know if this makes any sense to anyone else. It’s a difficult distinction for me to describe. But for me, it makes a world of difference for me to acknowledge that I will do best when I reside neither in hades nor in heaven. God has called me right here, to parent in the middle of the pain and beauty of being on earth.