Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Being a "Good Enough" Parent

My husband and I have had our fair share of struggles.  Particularly in early marriage.  We came from two very different families and are complete (and I mean complete!) opposites.  Besides the normal, newly married trials, we had some pretty major issues to work through.  Thankfully, by God's grace and provision, we started seeing a wonderful Christian counselor about 2 months into our young marriage.

Over the last 4 years we've learned many things through our relationship with our counselor.  God used counseling to save our marriage, give us hope for a future, and help us develop a loving, solid and secure marriage!  Praise the Lord!

When we became pregnant with our first child we had many questions, fears, and "what ifs".  Were we ready for this?  Could our marriage survive with a baby?  Were we going to be good parents?  I will always remember the words our counselor said to us.  "Bad parents create weird, screwed up kids.  Perfect parents create weird, screwed up kids.  But good enough parents create normal, well adjusted kids."  Seriously?!  Just "good enough" parents?  Those words came with some relief.  The pressure of being the perfect mom was lifted.  All I had to do was be good enough.  I could do that.

Fast forward 2.5 years later and we're sitting in his office, with our second child, having that same conversation.  Me not wanting to give up my perfectionism.  Me needing to be the perfect parent.  When he gently reminded me that I only needed to be a good enough parent, I said "But I want to be the perfect mom!"  He looked me straight in the eye and said "Then you're going to screw up your kids."  Tears filled my eyes.  My 2 month old son was snuggled up in the carrier sleeping on my chest.  I just looked down at him and cried.  How could I have gotten back to this place?  How did I let my need for control trump the best interests of my children?  What a lonely, dreaded place to be.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2: 4-5)

Thankfully, God has bestowed upon us all grace and mercy.  Without that I would be lost.  My need and desire for control is just another symptom of my unwillingness to give everything to him.  On our way home I prayed that God would take my control freak heart, break it and make it new.  I'm not going to be able to do it all.  I need to be ok with being in that uncomfortable middle ground where somethings are left undone.  I really don't think I'll look back on these baby years and remember a clean house or folded laundry.  But I do know I'll look back and remember the time I spent with my children, how valuable it was and how I wish I could have that time back.  So please, God, help me to remember that.  Help me to enjoy this time and be the mother you want me to be.  Enable me to let the petty things go and embrace the new life you have called me to...smudgy windows and all.

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