For you parents out there who feel that you don’t get a lot of fulfillment out of parenting…
You’re not supposed to.
I cannot say that I have had many other experiences compared to the joy kids bring when your child hits a milestones, draws you an I LUV U note, or makes you a painted macaroni necklace for mother’s day. I have seen the Mona Lisa, I have seen in person, the Queen and Princess Di, and I have traveled to over 15 different countries, and I can’t say much compares to the joy you feel when your kids do great things!
The problem is, in between all of the great things they do, there is a lot of terrible. Like sleepless nights, barfing, tantrums, rebellion, “I HATE YOU!!!” door slams, crusty boogers on walls, teacher phone calls, back talk, ER visits and much more.
If I were to be honest, the bad can sometimes outweigh the good, and not many of us expected that when we signed up to be a parent, or in my case (conscripted). We feel exhausted, worn out, overwhelmed and if we were to truly admit it, some of us resent parenting.
I’ll never forget the moment when my husband and I rushed to my daughter’s dance recital. We were late because one kid was sick, the others needed dinner before we left, the babysitter was late, and then we had a huge blow up with our teen right before. We had many sleepless nights, and it was just one of the crappiest weeks in parenting we ever had (that’s past tense, we’ve had crappier since).
We rushed to the theatre, we could see all the other showered, wealthy parents gloating, and excited, grandparents sat with roses, siblings in their best dressed, and we slumped in our chairs like we were being forced at gunpoint to see our daughter dance. My husband let out a huge huff of weariness, and I quietly moaned and for a moment hated my life. We looked at each other, so frazzled, so worn, and then, by the grace of God, I just started laughing, I couldn’t stop. “look at us” I said. “Isn’t parenting awesome!” We laughed and enjoyed a great evening, but man, were we a wreck!
Can you relate to this feeling? This “what the heck?! I thought parenting was supposed to be joyful and empowering” discouragement?
Can I tell you, from my experience, why you feel like a failure because of it?
Because you have been brain washed.
Leave it to Beaver, happily ever after stories, The Brady Bunch, commercials, hollywood families, and more, have made you think that when you chose parenting (or when it chooses you) you thought you would be buying a ticket to the fair, or a handbag to match your shoes.
That’s not a merry-go-round ticket you hold in your left hand, look closer, you just enlisted in the army. Oh, and the cotton candy you think you hold in your other hand, look again, it’s actually a bayonet.
When you stepped into parenthood you stepped onto the Battlefield.
You fight for their health
you fight for their hearts
you fight for their thoughts
you fight for their purity
their mental health
their overall outcome as an adult.
That’s why you’re tired, that’s why you feel strained, and pulled and defeated, and overwhelmed and…unfulfilled.
We are raising souls, who will either take from society or give, and with the world the way it is, this is not an easy job.
The most dangerous lie out there is that our children should bring us joy, so we cater to their every need, (if they’re happy, we are happy, right?) we feel like a failure when they are mad at us, we avoid confrontations with them, we spoil them so they don’t know want like we did. We feel guilty when we put our foot down, and even other parents look down on us when we slip up, or when we have too high of expectations.
We hover over them, trying to protect them from every ill in the world, because we want them to be happy, so we can be happy. And if they bring us joy, then we are good parents, right?!
God has given you people to raise who have a plan and purpose, and you need to get them ready, you need to get them across the battle field, you need to shield the bullets, but also you need to teach them how to stand and fight too.
You’re weary because you’re guarding a soul, and fighting for a cause.
You’re exhausted because you are running against terrain that keeps trying to push you back.
You feel frumpy because there are no showers in the trenches.
Feel proud that God has entrusted you. It’s in you to fight and to raise those kids for good. When you get through the battle field you will be proud of the victories and the failures will seem minor. It is then that you will receive the fulfilment, and joy and medal of honour for a battle won.
Hang in their, fight momma, don’t let pressure tell you you’re a failure. There will be battles lost and battles won, but the victory is already won!
You can do it!