Sunday, January 12, 2014
Giving Your Children What No One Else Can...You!
I used to have thoughts of being a bad parent. As it turns out, my thoughts were formed from the notion that my parenting did not look exactly like someone else's. Mom A did crafts with her kids every day, Mom B fed her children all homemade snacks and meals, Mom C had the patience of a saint, Mom D took her child to experience the great outdoors. And on and on it goes.
From a quick glance, these were "amazing moms" who were offering their children all these amazing experiences in life. What were my kids getting? Not those, obviously. And therefore, they must be better than me.
It took me a while before I realized that each mom was simply offering herself to her kids. Mom A did crafts every day with her kids because she loved crafts. Mom D took her children into the outdoors because she loved all things nature. Mom B enjoyed cooking from scratch. And Mom C, well, maybe she is just better than me :)
The point is that I had been comparing myself in all areas of my life up to the areas of passion in other moms. I hate nature. (Okay, I don't hate it, but I don't like hiking or camping.) Why, then, was I comparing myself in that area to a mom who is absolutely in love with those nature?
I like crafts, but definitely don't need them all the time. And yet, again, here I was comparing myself in that area to a mom who lives for arts and crafts!
It seems silly to assume that I could adequately "give" my children all things in all areas of life. Because I can't. And I won't. Perhaps for the areas I think are important, but for which I have no skill set or desire, I turn to extra-curricular activities. Or allow that "nature" mom to take my kid on a hike with her while I in turn take her child for a soccer game in the park.
It's the age old question...why do we keep comparing ourselves? I am not you, and you are not me. You are equipped to raise your children just as I am mine. How that looks, though, may be completely different.
So now, instead of sulking at how another mom is doing better than me, I do two things. Number one, I get excited for her. After all, she has something great to share with her kids that is uniquely different than every other mom on the planet. How cool is that for her kids? and number two, I remind myself of all the great things I get to offer my kids that are unique to me and my family. Like how I'm are able to teach our children to garden, or how to creatively make a meal out of items from an empty pantry, or how to shop frugally and cook yummy foods. Or how I have a high energy level to do a lot with them each day. Or how my husband and I can give our children piano and guitar lessons on our own. Or how we coach our girls' soccer teams. Those are things that are unique to me and my family. It's what makes me different. It's what my children get to learn from and experience regularly. And that's something worth celebrating.
My children may never find me out hiking or serving homemade snacks every day. But my children will have other things. And that's beautiful.
So let's make a deal. You be you and give of yourself to your children, and I'll be me and give of myself to my children. Our kids will be different from each other, but so very loved. And most of all, let's not compare ourselves in any area to someone else. It will only steal the joy out of being exactly who you were made to be.
What are the unique things about you that your kids get to experience? I'd love to hear them in the comments below, but I also encourage you to write down everything you can think of, and celebrate the uniqueness that your children get to experience from being your child.