Today’s blog has contributions from my favorite human: Husbandman, or Fatherman as the littles know him…or maybe you know him as Nathan. 😊
Parenting undoubtedly is making me be the best & worst versions of myself. Growing is never easy, but becoming this better person is difficult on a new level. Becoming a parent not only means becoming a better human, but doing so quickly, because if you don’t, you struggle even longer. It’s like a crash course in further developing the fruits of the Spirit.
- Love: Parenting means love. You don’t always like baby, but you will love baby. Liking a person means you have a mutually beneficial relationship. Loving a person means caring for them beyond what they can care for you. Baby doesn’t come out loving you, but you need to love baby. Love means serving baby through the good & bad. You’ll have intense emotions from the start, but parenting means more than emotion, it means you need to love your child as unconditionally (like God) as possible.
- Joy: Parenting means joy. & my friend, I don’t know who first told that great big lie, but let me tell you it’s not true-joy & happiness aren’t the same thing. Find the joy in the little moments. In the smell of baby, how baby grasps your finger, looks at you, how baby sleeps trusting you to be there when they wake, a hot shower, a delivery that result in a baby, a complete pregnancy, a job well done, a job you just started.
- Peace: Okay, admittedly, I have to really think about how peace & parenting went together. I think you have to work for peace. Peace in the middle of the night when the laundry is finally done. Peace in the early morning when the kids are still sleeping. Peace when you get to drink your coffee and it is still hot. Parenting is about making peace. When the kids are crying or fighting. Making peace with the changes. Finding peace in the hand God has given you. Peace in the good and bad moments, knowing that neither last very long.
- Patience: Parenting means patience. Patience for baby to arrive. Patience for the bottle warmer to heat the milk. Patience for baby to latch on. Patience when baby doesn’t sleep at night. Patience when baby is crying (again). Patience through exhaustion. Patience while waiting in line with baby at the store. Patience when baby starts crying while you’re driving the car. Patience with yourself because things aren’t the same. Patience with your body as it grows, changes, & heals. Patience with your spouse as they change. Patience with the new dyynamics in your marriage & friendships. I could type for hours on this topic.
- Kindness: Parenting is about kindness. Not judging yourself or others. Everyone parents differently. Kindness in listening to advice, giving it gingerly. Kindness in giving away what you don’t need, to those that do need. Kindness for your spouse who just needs 15 more minutes of sleep, so you deal with baby. Kindness in preparing different areas of the home for all possible disasters, because lets be real, baby is a (not yet) walking disaster. Challenge: Find more ways to be kind every day.
- Goodness: Parenting is developing goodness. Developing morality in baby. Goodness means selflessly acting on behalf of others. Goodness means being consistent in word & deed. Consistently working toward shaping Baby into the person we would like to be.
- Faithfulness: Having a child means God was faithful to give you the desire of your heart, He has faith that you’ll do your best. You’ll need faithfulness to attend church, to believe and have faith that God will provide, having faith that baby will be okay, faith that you’ll be okay, faith that you’ll make it through.
- Gentleness: Parenting means gentleness. First you have to learn to be gentle with your body as it changes to accommodate another life. Gentleness with the tiny, helpless human from the moment they’re born. Gentleness in voice, to speak gently to baby. Gentleness with yourself because becoming a parent is hard-you don’t need to beat yourself up. Life needs more gentleness, let it begin with you.
- Self-Control: Parenting means self-control. Pulling yourself together because you’re the one handling postpartum hormones. Controlling yourself because it’s not baby’s fault, baby doesn’t understand. Self-control might mean doing things you don’t want to do, it also might mean crying by yourself in the bathroom before you see the rest of your family. Self-control is a more difficult fruit than I ever imagined in parenting.