I was trying to free up some space on a photo storage account recently and started going down the rabbit hole of old family photos. While going through old pictures of when my first born was a baby almost 4 years ago and videos of milestones for both my children, I got a little teary. Sometimes I get so entrenched in my day to day life of meeting the needs of my kiddos, I forget how much they’ve grown up. Everyone says kids grow up too fast and it’s true! By taking a look back in these digital photo albums, I realized how far we’ve come as a family. Looking through these photos brought to mind one overall theme that I’d like to share with you.
Am I doing this right? This was probably the number one question I asked myself after my son was born. I was so insecure with the fact that I had this little person to take care of that came into the world without an instruction manual. Before he was born, I was pouring over infant care and sleep training books in an effort to be the best mom possible. After his arrival, I was too distraught with hormones and stressed out in a vast array of anxieties to tune into my “mother’s intuition”. It wasn’t until months later that I came to the realization that although there are so many books about childcare, every child is different and there was no book written on how to parent my child specifically. It is for me (and my husband) to discover the best way to parent them. There are so many different ways to raise children hence so many different types of people in the world.
Before we had children, my husband and I had the privilege of assisting our church’s youth group as weekly helpers for a few years in our early 20’s. I came to the realization that children are a reflection of their parents. The kids in that youth group behaved similarly to their parents. For example the ones with sarcastic parents tended to be more sarcastic. The ones with more serious parents tended to be more serious but that being said those kids were their own individuals. They had their own experiences, likes and dislikes as well as how they were raised that shaped who they were. The same is true for my own children. My son is at an age that he can tell you what he enjoys but also has completely different personality than his sister, even though they enjoy some of the same things.
As my husband and I parent these kids, there is one word I find myself being especially thankful for. Grace! I find that there isn’t as much pressure to be the perfect parent as I trust in the grace that God gives me. When I acknowledge that He is the one that gave me these children and He will give me the wisdom I need to be the best mom I can be, I don’t have to worry if I am raising my kids to others standards. I can rest in the fact that I have the unmerited favor of God moving forward in parenting. Will I do things perfectly? Not at all. Will I make mistakes? Of course, but there is so much freedom in knowing that I have a God who loves me so much and is right there with me cheering me on when I get it right and holding my hand when I don’t. He is faithful to fill in the gaps when I miss the mark or am completely oblivious. This upcoming Mother’s Day, I’m going to enjoy my children and give thanks for all of the abundant grace I’ve been given as I keep putting one foot in front of the other on my journey in motherhood.
John 1:16 NLT – From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.