My husband and I have determined that we will never be ones to write the “How to…” parenting book. The other day, however, a new friend asked me for a few tips about parenting young ones, and I quickly thought of a few things that helped me enjoy the process. I hope they might be an encouragement to you…
1. dynamic walk with the Lord… I just couldn’t ever make sense of the daily struggles and sacrifices, contrasting opinions and peer pressure, if I wasn’t secure in Him. Time with Him was often just snatches of desperate pleas for help during the day, but I realized that when – although I didn’t always get it – I longed for time with Him, I was probably doing OK.
2. investment in my marriage: Conferences, counseling, regular (every week) dates, communication, getaways… so essential and very worth it for us to stay connected as partners! We loved parenting, but we always understood that our marriage was a priority, and we made time for us. Now that the kids are almost all moved out, we are really looking forward to being together – just the two of us – not dreading it or wondering what we will do without the kids around.
3. with #1 and #2, reflect on and choose what works for YOU and YOUR family! I am not a “kid’s world” person, so I needed time with adults each week. I loved being involved with the university ministry – discipling and mentoring, and involving our kids. I also home-schooled for many years and loved it. I have the gift of leadership and always led side-by-side with my husband. I used a lot of organization and structure to make life “livable” for me. Living in a foreign culture, I had help with cleaning and cooking. (I still don’t do much of that!) BUT… that worked for ME… each woman and marriage is different… God’s incredible creativity isn’t limited to creation… it is available for each marriage and family also. It is available for you!
4. last, but related to #3… do what YOU need to do to get refreshed… I spent so many years feeling guilty because I thought I “should” want to dress up and go out to a fancy dinner for a date, when I really preferred to lay out in the sun and read/discuss a book with my husband… or go to a yard sale… or run by myself… coffee dates with friends and women’s Bible study groups were also great for me. My recharge is not the same as others – I finally figured out that was ok…
I was so encouraged that my friend was asking questions, because asking questions is the first step to finding the way in a very complex and challenging life… May God bless you on your journey!
What are you doing to enjoy the process? Are there some other “tips” you would suggest as an encouragement to others?