Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Guilt-Free Parenting

Awesome Pinterest parties.

Numerous homemade meals.

Keeping your smartphone in your back pocket and not in your hand for browsing.

Not allowing your kids to watch cartoons.

Having your child on time, dressed, and hair combed for outings.

Your house designed and clean like a Pottery Barn magazine (not just during nap time).

Your husband returning home with a warm meal, clean house, you in a dress, and smiling children.

Laundry always done on time and put away.

Never making time for yourself.


Parenting has it's ongoing lists of what it means to look like a "good parent" (and wife).  If I spend my days and nights making my kids feel like a Perfect Home is what matters most, they will grow to see my guilt (and shame).  If my time and energy is spent on trying to look good rather than doing what is best for my family, am I really benefiting anyone?

My parties are not going to be Pinterest-worthy.  Am I okay with that?  When I post my party pictures on Facebook or Blog will I feel guilt or happiness?

If I have to stop through a fast food drive thru will I be able to do it without thinking my kids are not getting the very best?  (It's okay to acknowledge the unhealthy choice but there's no need to feel guilty about it.)  There's a time for fast and easy.  There's time for a good, healthy homemade meal.

If I'm searching my smartphone constantly just to fulfill my selfish habit, that's a different story.  But what if I'm doing it to check my email for something I need?  What if I'm checking my email to someone who is posting a prayer request?  What if I found out I'm attending a party and need to bring something and I'm about to leave the house?  Am I going to feel guilty that I just had my daughter play with some toys while I checked my email real quick?

Your child is sick.  Has kept you up all night.  Your baby is teething.  You are exhausted.  Might me a good afternoon to watch a movie or cartoons.  I'm not judging.  Feel guilt-free Mommas.  If it's what you need to get through the next day, go for it.  And while you're at it go ahead and order pizza.  I'm exhausted just thinking of that scenario.

Having your kids look a certain way outside of the house is not a bad thing.  It's where your heart (and others) heart are at.  If we all go out of the house in pj's in Walmart you won't be as noticed with "looks" if you went to a sit down restaurant.  But the stress you give off to your children to try to make them look a certain way before leaving the house, is rushed and not very beneficial.  If peacefully you can get ready to leave the house, that would be the most helpful.  Something I surely want to work on.  It rubs off on the kiddos.

If you want my house to look a certain way (Pottery Barn), that's not a bad idea.  I like Pottery Barn and I like their stuff.  However if you feel like your house can never look "good enough" there's something to sit down and discuss with your spouse and God.  What is it about your house you don't like?  Why is it so bad to have discounted furniture while you have young kids who like stickers and markers?

The idea of having your hubby come home and everything looking perfect.  Is such a nice thought and something to motivate me, that's for sure!  However if I continue to struggle with making that happen, I'm going to shame myself into thinking I'm failing as a wife and mother.  When Jon and I first got married, I asked Jon what was the top things he wanted to find when he came home for dinner.  There were a few things I thought he would say and then a couple that I had never thought of.  But it helped!  So if I'm not going to get anything done that day except those things that are on my hubby's top priorities--I call it a good, productive day!  It's a way to have a better attitude and response to the idea of having warm meals and a clean house for dinner.  It also benefits the marriage. :)

Laundry is always going to be an ongoing battle.  So why even bother?  Well, you might want to wear clothes tomorrow!  The laundry issue is always a hard one.  But what works best for me is to try to get it all done in one day, and then the next day to make sure it all gets put away (the clothes that were air dried as well).  If I keep my focus on knowing I have set aside a day for it, then I don't feel guilt when I see it starting to pile up.

Feel guilty when you set time apart from your kids to have time for yourself?  Well, I'm still working through this.  I know it's an ongoing battle.  What about time just for YOU even without hubby AND kids?  That's rare for me.  Right now it's mostly during a good nap. :)

Today I saw Ellie go off and play on her own and she wasn't getting into trouble so I just let her play.  I then returned to the couch to browse the internet.  Should I have been down on my knees playing with my daughter?  Sure.  But when my daughter is playing independently I encourage it!  I want my kids to be able to play without having to have their Mommy with them every possible second.  Now, if only I could figure out how to have her do that while I'm trying to fold laundry or make my lunch. :)

In result dear other parents, don't feel guilty about being the Perfect Person for your children.  This culture has pushed every possible temptation to allow us to feel such guilt and shame.  Gain confidence in knowing who you are as a parent.  You know your child(ren) the best.  Do what works best for your family.  Because what works for us, probably doesn't work for you.  And know that Jesus takes you as you are, because the person that is overlooking your act of parenting could cause harm.  Don't allow yourself to feel guilty.  Press on and know that Jesus takes you as you are, not as what people think you should be.  If anything lets encourage one another.

Encouraging Scripture from Hebrews 10:

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[e] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

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