If I Write Without Love

For the love of it all. I just want to raise my children in a way that either makes it so they don’t need a therapist or that at the very least my mommy-antics amuse future said therapist.

Open your Facebook page and you are instantly bombarded with blogs instructing you on raising children properly. And every stinking time I feel like I’ve got one ideal down the pressure is on for the next and the next and the next. We’ve unintentionally entered a new round of mommy wars. One fought with a keyboard and a monitor instead of skinny jeans and homemade, locally sourced, organic, gluten, egg, nut, and dairy free, all natural lemonade cupcakes.

Friends, I just cannot take another blog that reminds me that the way I am parenting is subpar at best and likely traumatizing my kids. Just can.not. If you’re keeping up with the latest and greatest you’d know I’m supposed to socialize my kids but not plan play dates for them, protect them without hovering, teach them to follow me like quacky little fluffy ducklings, but give them wings to fly away from me like eagles. I’m supposed to make sure they are cultured, nonbiased, obedient, and respectful while they are simultaneously firmly rooted, unafraid to speak their opinion or share their faith, and challenge conventionality.

So after all that, I’ve thoroughly stalked my kids’ friends to know where they’re at after school so we can casually drop by that same location and oh, looky here – why don’t you guys hang for a bit, and please make sure your agent-of-change-go-get-um-fight-for-the-underdog-ness that we’ve been working on but not working on because I’m confused and conflicted after reading so many blogs doesn’t step on anyone’s toes; share your faith at every single twist and turn, but don’t beat them over the head with the Bible, and make sure everything that’s said is PC, but don’t really because – remember! – you’re a warrior! I’ll just be over here, but not TOO close, wearing your 5 year old brother in an ergonomically correct in-facing child carrier in case he needs to be breastfed (I read a blog about the benefits of extended breastfeeding. We’re thinking at least until college. Maybe grad school). And don’t worry, I won’t do anything dangerous like put your baby brother in a carrier on top shopping cart. Better yet, I’ll scout out the store while you’re here just in case other moms haven’t read that blog. I printed extra copies to handout. But sweetie, don’t forget have fun!!

Please someone tell me how I’m supposed to do all of this. But not in a 3 page blog with gorgeous pictures of your beautiful children in white clothing reading Tolstoy in Russian on a fallen tree in the middle of an enchanted forest.

No.

I need someone with a dirty oven. Or, you know what, a clean oven. I don’t freaking care. I don’t. I just wonder when everyone became an expert on parenting. I’m not knocking these blogs. I often find little gems of wisdom or feel the pain of truth about what’s at the heart of my parenting. But I think what started off as sharing and encouraging took a wrong turn and left us somewhere in the wastelands where no one is winning. Opinions and experiences started be shared as absolutes and truth leaving many women I’ve talked with feeling tired and defeated.

I sometimes raise my voice at my kids or say things I regret. And I apologize. My kids act cruh-haze-zee. A lot. And I love their precious crazy little souls to pieces. They get upset at each other and are learning to take discipline well. Dan and I get upset at each other and after 15 years are still learning to apologize and put the other one first. We are a mess and almost all of the time. A loving, caring, trying-our-best, praying-on-our-knees, screwing-it-up-and-asking-for-forgiveness mess.

Please know, mamma reading this, that you are loved beyond measure, created specifically for your children – your artistic abilities, love for cooking, enthusiasm for football, tech savness, compassionate heart – whatever it happens to be and everything it happens to be. All of your gifts and talents were woven together to make you the mamma for these kids. And please know the God who prepared you for this job is the same God who will fill in the gaps. Keep striving for betterment, but don’t make it your focus. Give yourself some permission to make mistakes; any and every mess you make is within the reach of his loving and able hands.

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