I've been doing some learning lately. I wanted to work my lessons and thoughts out here. I hope you understand that I don't wish to offend anyone so please don't offend me with any ugly comments. This is my own personal space to write out my thoughts and feelings. If you don't share in my beliefs and they offend you, then just don't come read my blog anymore. But I hope you will because I really want to share how awesome my lilfe is with God in it. Or rather how awesome my life is when I am in God. Anyway, just going to be thinking out loud here. I'd love for you to think out loud with me.
Do you ever get overwhelmed at the immense responsibility you have as a parent? I do. To be responsible for my child's physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health is stressful. And I think you can multiply that stress by the number of kids you have. And if you don't have a support system, if you are doing the parent thing solo, then I think you can quadruple that stress amount! Bottom line. It's stressful for all of us. But what you do with that stress is what matters.
I really think some of our stress has a lot to do with our expectations. Our unrealistic expectations. There are so many voices out there, and they are all screaming for our attention. It's great to get others opinions, to get tips from those who have gone before us. However, they may not work for you. I used to go into a situation with an opinion or two in one hand and several tips in the other. If none of them worked for me, well I felt like I failed. I had tried, why didn't it work? Well, I have learned that just like everyone is different; there are different solutions to the same problem. Like many math problems, you can get to the same answer by a multitude of different ways.
Always, make sure the opinions and tips you are getting line up with God's word, the Bible. "Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart." Job 22:21-22
How about your parents (the grandparents)? What role do they play in your expectations? Do you feel that there are expectations that they have for you and your parenting skills that you just can't live up to? Are they real expectations or imaginary ones? I am the queen of imaginary conversations. I have this whole conversation between me and whoever, in my head, and then I get myself all worked up with real emotions, over a very unreal conversation. Then my real relationship is filtered through the fake reality. That's not good. I know this and I have been working on it. I've come a loooooonnngg way.
I have learned that communication is key when it comes to this. My parents are not the same people they were 31 years ago. They have changed and developed as people, just as I have. So my past experiences with them are just that. Past. I shouldn't get worked up trying to meet an expectation that has carried over from my childhood. For example, maybe your Mom stayed home with you until you went to Kindergarten. However, you work and your children go to daycare/preschool because your household needs two incomes. Should you assume that your Mom expects that you should be staying at home with your kids too? No. Just ask.
We have also been fed the ideas, "You can be whatever you want to be.", "You can do whatever you want to do." and "You can have it all." All that stuff, feeds our stress. You can not be whatever you want to be, you can not do whatever you want and you can not have it all. Now before you start getting really mad at me, please keep reading so I can explain.
You can not be whatever you want because you need to be whatever God wants. If you aren't in line with Him and what he wants you to be then there won't be the fulfillment of "being". You will strive and strive to be what you want and never reach it. Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lords purpose that prevails."
You can not do whatever you want because God wants you to do what He asks. It's selfish and self-serving and no one is truly happy when they are just thinking about themselves. Look at Jonah. He didn't want to go to Nineveh even though God asked him to. He did what he wanted and tried to run as far away from Nineveh as he could go. Did it work? No. Was Jonah happy while he was doing what he wanted? I really don't think so. I mean not unless he really always wanted to be eaten by a big fish.
You can not have it all. You can have many God given blessings. Things that God has promised his believers and followers. But if you are looking to have all that the world gives and all that God gives. You can't. Matthew 6:24 says it well, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You can not serve both God and money."
So what can we do to help alleviate some of the stress that comes with being a parent?
We need to constantly reevaluate our expectations. Our expectations for ourselves as parents and for our family as a whole.
Are they realistic within the boundaries of Gods word? Because if they are, then those expectations should be freeing and not stressful.
"Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 2:22-24