Imperfect parents still cherish children

Reading my cousin’s daughter’s honest assessments on Facebook of parenting triggers my own memories. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cry.

This beautiful, young mom stays home to care for her two boys. Whenever I see their cute pictures, I want to catch them up in a snuggle. Ah, yes, I remember that precious time so long ago. At the time, the days seemed long. Now, it appears they were just a blip on the journey.

A recent post mentioned a MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) article saying that children know when you don’t enjoy them. Then she talked about how imperfect a day can go with young children. Her heart hurt for fear that her loved children would sense a less than loving attitude at times. Of course, I reached for a tissue. I understand.

 

Reality doesn’t match expectations

While I remember precious moments, I also remember feeling tired, aggravated, and yes, bored. Raising children is hard work. Days become repetitious. Little people struggle to cooperate. Messy people make messy places. Cleaning never ends.

Because of the age ranges of my children, I spent a lot of years in the baby and toddler stages.

I spent a lot more one on one time with my boys than I did with my girls. In fact, my eldest two got the more patient, care-free, young mom. Yet, after playing for a while, I would be lured by other things to do. I remember reading the Sunday paper under a shade tree while they played in the sandbox. One day when my boys wanted to swim, I shaved my legs outside because they couldn’t be left alone.

The more kids I raised, the more pressing the list of things to be done became with the time seeming so much more compacted. The trips to parks, beaches, zoos, museums became fewer in number, and I didn’t sit around playing in the shaving cream or Play Doh like I used to. Pushing them on swings became a timed event. I also sang less and snapped more.

I didn’t love my children less. They may have felt that way. I don’t know. That’s what makes me so sad now. That’s why the MOPs comment struck so.

 

Advice might increase insecurities

No perfect parent lives though there are plenty of how-to articles suggesting ways for it to be done. I read plenty of magazines and books on the topic. My mother even advised me to stop, but I continued on, not listening to her wisdom.

We have so much information overload. A person can almost forget to form her own opinion based on her own experiences. When the advice doesn’t work, she feels like a failure. If it works, she feels successful. When experiences fail to repeat, she feels confused. Most of all though she just feels overwhelmed.

Plenty of mistakes pock my past, especially since you can add homeschooling into the equation. Reality never quite met with the way I thought it was supposed to be. I did my best, and thank God for answering prayers because it was never easy. Parenting and homeschooling each mean hard work.

If I think about my mistakes, I feel I was too hard on people: too hard on my parents, too hard on my children, too hard on my husband, too hard on my friends, too hard on my neighbors, too hard on me.

 

Bible offers solution

But the Bible rescues me. In Philippians 3, it says, to forget the past. Our righteousness comes from God and is by faith. Press on. Look forward.

I love my children more than words can express. I hope they know that and forgive me my failures and remember when they become parents that no one is perfect. Yes, kids may know when we’ve lost our joy, but I think/hope they know how much they are loved even in the tough times.

Love makes sacrifices. Sacrifices often hurt. But we press on for the prize. And we would do it all over again because we love them.

What are your thoughts?

8 thoughts on “Imperfect parents still cherish children

  1. Michelle, it’s nice to hear the perspective of a parent casting love onto a child but the child not always feeling loved. I know kids can often put parents through the ringer or even vise verse. However, our anger or frustration between child and parent doesn’t necessarily change the bond or the love we hold for each other in the situation. You are a great parent and love by God. I credit you a lot for always showing up to games, events, and most importantly raising your children to be strong in the Lord. They are making great disciples! Great article. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Sharmi. Relationships can get complicated that is for sure, but when we look at our hearts and theirs then we can determine motives. For parents that is always wanting what is best for their kids whether it is looking at the immediate now or into the future. Plus each of us needs to nurture our souls, which may include rest.

  2. I was definitely hard on myself as a stay-at-home mom! And I’m glad I didn’t add homeschool mom to my job description–I would not have been good!

    Looking back, there are a ton of things I would do differently, but when I look at my adult kids now, I guess my husband and I did a pretty good job. 🙂

    I am thankful that the internet wasn’t as easy to access when my kids were little. Now, there’s way too much advice being thrown around. I really would have felt inadequate!

    1. Yes, thank you, Lord, for helping us! In hind sight, there are things I’d want to do differently. Even so, I’ll read articles and think I will follow the advice, and then I don’t respond the way I ought or the child doesn’t so no matter what, we’ll always have that thought I guess. It is good that we can encourage young moms (and each other) so that they know they aren’t alone (and we know we aren’t alone) in feeling inadequate. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. As a retired teacher that had to 20 students in AM and 20 more in the PM from the neediest families and 3 precious boys of my own. I can only shake my head at the luxury of time a stay at home mom has.
    My heart aches at the times I couldn’t be there at a during school event and sent my parents so my boys could see a friendly face. I guess we all did the best we knew how.

    1. Yes, Sue, we each do our best and have our aches. It does hurt when you can’t be at a school event. I’m glad your parents were able to show their support to their grandsons and to you. I’m sure you were able to show your support in other ways to your boys over the years so be encouraged. As a teacher, you have touched many lives and been a light for them with your caring. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I was a stay-at-home mom until our youngest was in middle-school. I had only three children, but it was still a lot of work. I, too, can look back and see mistakes I made, but like both of you I must have also done something right. All three of our children end their conversation, or visit, with a “love you” comment and a hug. That tells me something.

    1. Indeed it does. Because we are human, we all make mistakes, and the responsibilities of parenting–no matter the number of children–are hard because we want to do a good job and life can get stressful. It is nice to have this discussion with other moms to know that we share similar feelings. Thanks so much for joining the discussion, Donna.

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