I’m honored to be a contributor over at iBelieve.com. Here is my latest post in that space.
My kids are growing faster than I would like (and also slower). I’m not eager to be rid of the sweet morning cuddles and adorably mispronounced words, but I could live without helping them use the bathroom all the time. (Seriously.)
I worry that I’m wasting this precious time. I can beat myself up for not grabbing these moments and keeping hold of them, for not being more intentional with these fleeting days of early childhood.
Should we have crafted or cooked more? Will they have enough memories of messy painting parties and standing next to mom in the kitchen? Should I have taken them out more in nature or to parks, or should we have stayed in and snuggled and read books? Should we have prayed more, talked about God more, read devotions and sang worship songs? What will populate their memories of childhood, and will those memories shape them in the way I had intended?
I’m not a Pinterest-perfect mom by any means, and I’m definitely not naturally domestic. I’m loud and awkward and unapologetically sarcastic. I see these tender, nurturing moms and wonder what sweet memories their children will have. I see truly gifted homemakers and wonder what valuable skills their children are learning. I see organized, intentional moms and envy how well prepared their children will be for this world. It’s hard not to compare myself to all of them and feel inadequate, like my kids are missing out.
There seems to be about a million flavors of parenthood. Some co-sleep, some cry it out. Some bottle feed and some breastfeed for years and years. Some spank, some don’t. Some schedule everything, some roam free. Some abstain from technology, and some embrace all forms. The list could go on and on. For someone like me, someone who would prefer a guideline outlining the correct way to parent, this endless stream of decisions is exhausting.
What if I’m indulging them too much or not enough? What if I’m too strict or maybe I’m too lax? What if we’re too structured, or are we not structured enough? There are no take-backs, no do-overs, and almost daily opportunities for second-guessing and regret. What if I’m totally screwing up all three of these people right now, as we speak? Will I look back years from now and sigh at all the many, many ways I got it wrong?
I hope not. Not because I have any expectation that I’ll figure this parenting thing out tomorrow and never make any mistakes again. I hope that years from now, I’ll recognize all my faults and failures, but also give myself grace and offer myself forgiveness.
Regardless of all the numerous ways I question my parenting, there are a few things I’m absolutely sure of, 5 things I will never regret doing with my kids: