If you are one of my regular subscribers, then today we are talking about parenting. But if you are visiting my blog today from my Proverbs 31 devotion, then welcome! I imagine you might be here because, like me, sometimes you struggle with doubts about your parenting skills, or wonder if you are doing things right. There is so much information out there about parenting, and so many contradicting suggestions, how does a mom really know if she’s doing the right things?
The only answer to that question is to do what you feel is right in your heart, and what God confirms is right in His Word about the responsibility of parents. We will never be perfect, and that nobody expects us to be – except maybe ourselves.
Below are a few tips that I have found to be of utmost importance, but they are certainly not the only suggestions out there.
I would love for your to share your confident parenting tips too, since we are all from different walks of life. If after reading the tips below, you have some great confidence-building tips that have helped you get through the hard days of parenting or worked well for you with regards to difficult situations, will you share them in the comment section? Fellow moms will thank you!
1. Know that you can never love too much. Spoiling a child with too many ‘things’ is something we might want to avoid, but we can never spoil a child with too much love. Whether girl or boy, children need love. Whether girl or boy, children need hugs, kisses, attention and compassion. Don’t worry about spoiling your daughter by loving them too much, or making your son less masculine if you shower him with love. God is love, and He calls us moms to be love too – even when the kids are not being lovable. If someone tells you you’re spoiling your child by being too loving or attentive, ignore the advice and do what your heart tells you. You may not feel like the perfect parent, or buy them every thing they want, or be at every ballgame or dance recital, but you can always make sure they know how important they are to you and that they are loved unconditionally.
2. Allow yourself to live and learn. They don’t say parenting is a journey for no reason. With passing year, we learn a little bit more about how to be a better parent and effectively raise our children to the best of our ability. What we did with our first child, we may or may not do with our last, because we’ve lived and learned some lessons. Give yourself some grace when you mess up, recognizing that each parenting experience, good and bad, is a learning one.
3. Tune out the voices of criticism. From the moment you swaddle your newborn infant, to the first day your teenager asks to go out on a date, people will be full of advice. Sometimes the advice is valid and helpful, while other times it may be overbearing and critical. The trick is learning to filter the advice we receive with our own gut feelings, appreciating the advice but determining what works best for us. Just because we may disagree with someone’s advice or parenting style, doesn’t make them wrong, or us wrong. It just makes us different. Trust that God has equipped you to be the mom your child needs and will give you the wisdom to carry out the task of motherhood.
Our kids are just that - our kids. Although we can seek advice from others and respect suggestions from other moms or trusted resources, what is most important is that we recognize God gave us our specific kids for a reason, knowing that we have been equipped in unique ways to raise them. We may not be an expert in raising someone elses child, but we are the expert in raising our own. We know our child better than anyone else, including their emotional and physical needs, strengths, weaknesses, talents, soft spots and trigger points. So making decisions based on our gut feelings, our Christian beliefs and mommy intuitions should always be our first priority.
4. Focus on what you’re doing right, instead of what you feel you’re doing wrong. It’s easy to get hung up on our imperfections as parents – like those times when we left our baby crying in the crib longer than we should because we were tired. Or the time when we punished our toddler for spilling milk because our frustration got the best of us. Or when we lost our temper and yelled words in anger when our teenager spoke to us disrespectfully. We all mess up at times, but most likely, our parenting successes far outweigh our mess ups. Give yourself a break and focus on all the good things you do for and with your kids, instead of the few times you fall prey to being human.
5. Don’t compare yourself to other moms. It’s hard not to, especially when you see a mom who lost all her baby weight, manages to keep her kids under control in the grocery store, and all dressed in matching outfits. It’s hard not to, when you see a mom who seems to have the perfect teenage kids, who attend bible study and never get into trouble. But everything is a package deal. No mom goes through this journey of parenting without her own set of mess-ups, struggles, successes and failures. Remember that if God thought enough of you to bless you with children to raise, whether you gave birth to them, adopted them, or just taken them under your wing, He has also gifted you with the ability to a great job if you put your mind to it, and keep your heart tied to His.
Bonus tip: BE CONFIDENT IN WHO GOD MADE YOU TO BE! When we love ourselves, we are better able to love others, including our children. Kids need confident moms, and our confidence comes from Christ and knowing that we are not only fearfully and wonderfully made, but loved, and gifted with the ability to be the mom our kids need.
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Happy parenting! Smiles.
(The randomly selected winners of last week’s book giveaways are Teresa Anderson and Maja Caldwell)