Friday, June 27, 2008

Maybe it's just harder then I thought...

Not sure if this picture is funny, or just a little nuts!

So, lately the subject of being a good parent has been on my mind and heart. It's something I think of often, as I'm always picking the brains of my friends that already have kids. When the day comes (and no, there is no news to just want to be ready. The biggest conclusion I've come to is that parenting seems harder then I ever thought.

I think part of the reason I'm interested is because I had few examples good parenting in my life. My parents just weren't there for me when I needed them. I look back on my childhood and young adulthood with few if any fond memories. I wish that wasn't the case. My mom has major depression and is bi-polar. She spent my whole life cutting me down, "canceling" holidays (even throwing our Christmas tree, ornaments and all, out the door more then a few times), telling me how worthless I was and how she never wanted me. To be honest, her words still haunt me. I had an awful 8th grade year. I couldn't focus and didn't even want to go to school because I was so beaten down at home, so then my teachers would get upset at me. So then I was "getting it" from all sides. I wanted to tell someone what was going on at home, but my mom always told me that if I said anything, I'd be taken away and never see anyone again, so I stayed quiet. As an adult, I've chosen to keep her out of my daily life. That in itself scares me about ever being a parent myself. I'm actually not like my mom at all, but the thought that I grew up in that and I'm expected to raise my children differently... that's a major issue for me. What if I end up like her?

I believe that in a lot of ways, my parents just didn't know how to parent. Not to say they never gave good advice (my dad was actually almost always right on target when it came to matters of the heart), they just didn't know that what they were doing and saying had such a profound impact on how I've always felt about myself. One day, the things I do and say are going to have a profound impact on my children. On how they view the world, God, people, and relationships. While I would consider myself a fairly decent advice giver, I know my life doesn't always reflect my own "good advice". Children silently demand that your actions line up with the words you speak. That can be a somewhat scary feeling. Any child, whether it be your own or someone Else's, is always going to listen to your actions before your words. They also ALWAYS catch you if you skip a page in a particularly long bedtime story!! :-)

So while parenting is the next natural step for Matt and I, we still have a lot of learning to do before we go there. However, I do have the "functioning on little sleep" part down pat (it's 1:45am and looks like tonight will be a restless one). For now, playing with the adorable kids all of our friends have is enough for me!! Much less work involved!

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