4 Steps to Parenting Unapologetically

Parenting UnapologeticallyParenting is not for the faint-hearted. It is a nonstop, incredibly demanding, often moving in circles while talking to brick walls, kind of life. Thankfully, there are plenty of  parenting blogs and unsolicited advice from well-intentioned (and some not so well-intentioned) sources to damage a parent’s self-esteem for them. Often free of charge. 

Nay, I say. No more. The time has come to Parent unapologetically. Follow these steps to become a more confident, secure parent.

Step # 1: Identify Your Priorities

Without overthinking it, sit down and make a list of your priorities. What do you spend most of your time doing? What is important to you? What are you willing to make sacrifices for? Make sure to identify the things you truly value. Avoid adding to the list items you think you should value.

When it comes to determining what is most important it’s necessary to remember that it’s impossible to say yes to everything. Knowing what your priorities are is a vital component to parenting unapologetically. Identifying your priorities allows you to make the best decisions for you and your family.

That brings us to our next step.

 

Step #2 Make Decisions Based Upon Your Priorities

I realize this sounds obvious, but it’s not as easily put into practice as one might think. Go ahead, try it. Think about what you spend most of your time doing. Where is most of your energy being expended? If you were to now create another list; this one being an inventory of how your time is spent, would it match your priority list?

cosleep

We choose to cosleep. Because this.

 

For some, the lists are practically spot on. However, I believe that is probably the exception and not the rule. If your lists don’t match up; what changes can you make in your schedule to reflect your values and priorities? Are you willing to make those changes? 

A woman was telling me how she longed to add to her family and stay at home with her children but she was unable to do this because she had to work overtime nearly every week to pay for her mortgage. Her energy expenditure did not align with what she believed her priorities to be. Could she downsize to save money on her mortgage which would allow her to stay home? Or did she value the prestige that came with owning that home in that neighborhood more than she had originally thought?

Which, again, brings us to the next step (see how this works?):

Step # 3: Own Your Decisions

You’ve listed your priorities and you’ve made decisions to reflect them so don’t second guess them. If you’ve taken the time and thoroughly thought through the choices you’ve made, then own them. Take comfort in knowing that you are making the best decision for you and for your family at this time in your lives. Maybe these decisions will change with circumstances, but, for now, anyway, these are the decisions you have made.

Own it.

Live it.

You stay at home instead of working full time? Great, own it.

You chose disposable diapers over cloth? I don’t blame you. Own it.

You choose to work two jobs so you can invest thousands of dollars into your daughter’s dream of becoming an Olympic gold medalist? Super. Own it.

These are your choices. There is no need to make excuses for them. They are yours. Own them.

Step #4 (It’s a Doozy) Allow Other’s to Own Their Decisions 

This is probably the most difficult for the majority of people. This is when it is important to remember that your priorities are not their priorities. 

This is okay.

The fact that we are all created to be individuals who will ultimately have different priorities and make different choices is an indispensable component in this life.

Embrace it.

It’s time to Parent Unapologetically.

The Elusive Quiet Time

Quiet Time

There are very few things in a Christian walk that are emphasized upon quite like our personal, intimate time with God.

As parents, it doesn’t help when we find ourselves in a place and a “season” in life that allows for people to show a little more grace whenever the lack of intimate time with our creator comes up in conversation. It’s easy to come up with an excuse as to why quiet time is an elusive occurrence and appears to be a nearly unattainable state.

However, this insatiable need for intimacy with our Heavenly Father leaves us desperate for that time.

As a follower of Christ, our heart’s desire in this life should be to serve Him. We should long to be used as a vessel for Him and all those other very “Christian” things that can be (and have been) said. Because of the indwelling of Christ, our hearts long to teach others about Him and to love others the way Christ loves them.  All of them. Even those who make us want to pull our hair out because they just don’t seem to get it.

We spend so much time seeking and searching for our “place”. Sometimes becoming resentful towards those who have reinforced our current place as being where God wants us to be. We can be overcome with envy towards those who God seems to be using to do great things here on this Earth to build His eternal Kingdom while we’re stuck at home playing referee.

And, sadly, we often take for granted the gifts he has given us.

I have been guilty of this.

I have been handed a houseful of blessings on a silver platter and I have scoffed at the opportunity to savor every joy. I have longed for the greener grass. I have allowed the desire for earthly treasures to slowly procure parts of my heart I had set aside to be used to serve Him.

During this season of our lives, it’s not uncommon to feel as though we are drowning and begin to desperately reach for anything we can get our hands on in an effort to pull ourselves out of the current.

The reality is, we’re acting more like a scolded child being sent to her room so in a desperate attempt to prove we’re in charge we grab everything we can get our hands on and chuck it at the floor.

Making excuses for not having a quiet, intimate time with God does not pan out well for anyone. Ever. While we are desperately searching for something to make us feel valued and loved, God is right there waiting for us to find refuge, strength, and value in Him.

Dear Momma Bear, there are a million others things in this world that we can choose to spend our time on. We can look at the messes that surround us and decide that we’re better off cleaning up that spill or wiping that nose or changing that diaper. God sees that spill. God sees the yucky noses and the dirty diapers.

He also sees you. He knows your heart. He knows your desires. He loves you. More than you could ever love another being. He loved you so much that He sent His Son to die for you.

There can’t be any more excuses. Busyness caused by daily caretaking of a child is not a burden, but a blessing.

The only way we will ever be equipped to go out into the world is if we first spend time with the One who created it.

So get on with it, Momma Bear. Protect and guard that time with your Creator. And do it fiercely.

 

 

 

Randy and Miki

Brooks-Blog-Board

Meet Randy and Miki (and their boys)!

Randy is the Regional Director for South Pacific Christian Fellowship. While the two of them have been here recruiting people to become church planters, I have been able to get to know Miki and have come to truly treasure our friendship.

Both Randy and Miki have incredible hearts for Christ and it has been a joy to watch them as they faithfully enter this new season of change.

Be sure to visit the SPCF website for more information about what they do and how you can help!!

Community

CommunityI witnessed a beautiful thing yesterday, while in the waiting room of the Emergency Department, of all places.

As I made myself as comfortable as possible in the chair I would be committed to for awhile, I briefly scanned the room before I picked up the National Geographic magazine that was haphazardly tossed on the table beside me. The cold, quiet room was filled with people who were awaiting news of their loved one.

Every few minutes I would glance up and take notice of the newest member of our quickly growing Waiting Club. I confess, my ears would perk up a little as they explained (either to the waiting room staff or the person on the other end of the phone) the reason why their loved one required a trip to the Emergency Room.

As my eyes carefully investigated the images within the magazine; my ears took notice of footsteps approaching the waiting room. My eyes quickly followed suit and soon fell upon the three women strolling down the corridor into the room. As they entered, one walked directly to the waiting room staff while the other two anxiously scanned the room.

My gaze fell upon the woman sitting directly across from me on the other side of the room. I had hardly taken notice of this woman until now but my heart knew this was who the women were searching l for.

And then the moment came. The moment this woman looked up and saw her community. These women were her people and they had come to her. They came to sit with her and talk with her and wait with her. And the weight of the world was lifted off this woman’s shoulders in a brief second. In one moment her eyes went from sullen to joy-filled.she-was-able-to-share-her-burdens-with-those-who-came-to-meet-her

She was able to share her burdens with those who came to meet her where she was and in her time of need. And it was beautiful.

It seems we have a hard time being in community with each other these days. There may be any number of reasons for our lack of community. It may be he a privacy issue or a busyness issue or a fear issue or any other excuse we can create in our minds. Unfortunately, community doesn’t often find itself at the top of our priority lists.

I believe there is a good chance that many choose to avoid community with others as a defense mechanism. Being on the receiving end of hurtful words or actions in the past prevent us from putting ourselves out there again. Why risk the hurt?

I’ve been privy to a lot of talk about the village lately. It takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to raise good mothers. It takes a village to raise strong fathers. It takes a village to celebrate joys and to mourn losses. These are not things we are meant to do alone.

Life was never intended to be done alone.

Don’t allow fear to prevent you from finding your community. And once you find it, trust it. Trust the process.

Sure, there may be broken hearts and hurt feelings from time to time, but if growth comes from those experiences than it really isn’t all for naught.

Renew a Steadfast Spirit Within Me

I’ve been working through some stuff this summer.

I mean, I’ve really been struggling.

Recently, I took a good hard look at myself and I’m not a big fan. I’ve become bitter and angry and resentful.

I want so badly to be that pastor’s wife who always knew she was going to be in ministry so she does all the ministry stuff and loves all the right people. I want to want to play the piano and organize get-togethers and, darn it, I want to want to write thank you notes.

Instead, I find myself having a really, really hard time loving some of His people. I struggle with the grace required with the demand on my husband’s time. I don’t play piano or sing and any attempt I’ve made at organizing any event has been nothing short of futile. To top it all off, I don’t get dressed up on Sundays nor do I require it of my children.

And this mouth!

Goodness gracious. Think before you speak!

And I don’t write thank-you notes.

I want so badly to be that stay at home mom who always had the desire to be at home with her kiddos. I want to want to make fun meals and plan fun things for my children. I want to plan fun crafts and be this super crazy fun mom who has lots of fun.

Instead, my children get me as a mother.  Did you know we don’t do Santa Clause?

Or the tooth fairy.

Or the Easter Bunny.

We don’t dress up for Halloween. They aren’t allowed to watch Disney or Cartoon Network, but they are allowed to have cold pizza and soda for breakfast.

I want so badly to have confidence that I am exactly where God wants me to be, doing exactly what God wants me to do, but then I have to question what in the world He is thinking because I’m not very good at the things he’s placed before me.

Instead, I’m here. I’m here in this house. I’m married to this man. I’m the mother to these poor children.

And, I don’t get it. I don’t understand how or why this is my life. It’s certainly not a bad life, but it isn’t what I would have set out to do or who I would have set out to be. But it is who I am.

And, unfortunately, I’ve struggled with that. And then I struggle with myself for struggling with that.

So, I pray.

Renew a Steadfast Spirit

Because more than anything in this world, my heart’s true desire, is to serve Him. And not just to serve Him, but to do so with joy.

So, I will trust. I will trust that for everything that I am not, He is.