My mom has told me a story time and time again. It’s one that I’ve learned to appreciate now more than ever:
My parents were blessed with my oldest brother Brian. He was a relatively easy baby. As a toddler, he was very easy-going and obedient. He had a naturally compliant disposition. He had energy, but he could sit still if need be. Meanwhile, another couple at their church had a son the same age named Brian as well. This Brian, however, was wild! He had TONS of energy and ran around like he owned the place. Everyone thought his parents had no control over him. My mom distinctly remembers talking to my dad and saying, “Our children will NEVER act like that.” And then their second child was born…
My brother Chris loves life to the fullest. He is so fun to be around because he has natural charisma and a great sense of humor! As a toddler, he had LOTS and LOTS of energy.
My mom always says the moral of the story is…don’t judge or else you’ll be given a kid just like that! :)
This story is easy to laugh at, but it is all-too-familiar. I myself remember saying (prior to having children), “I will never do _____.” And even when we only had one child, I could sometime sit atop my high-horse and pass judgement.
|Why yes, my children are tackling each other.|
God has humbled me these last 18 months by showing me that all children go through phases and various struggles. And all parents are imperfect. But the vast majority of parents genuinely care for their child(ren) and are doing the best that they can!
I too have been on the receiving end of judgements in regard to my children’s behavior. Even if it isn’t outright, but is implied by a snide comment…it is hurtful. Even if it isn’t spoken aloud, but typed…it is hurtful.
Being a parent is the hardest job I’ve ever had. It is the most draining and the most tiring (but also the most rewarding). My children are completely dependent on me and my husband for EVERYTHING. And I know I don’t get it all right. Yes, I should probably do a better job of making my kids sit still in church (or whatever it might be that I receive criticism for). But you know what, they are kids. This is a phase. Little Brother will get older and will sit more compliantly (when he is developmentally able to do so) . And…there’s an attended nursery right down the hallway for that very purpose!
We have enough battles…there are some things I choose to just “let go” so that I can instead focus on the real issues…the heart issues.
But what pains my heart is to see mothers judging and degrading each other because of very personal decisions they’ve made in parenting their children. Decisions like breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding, discipline methods, public school vs. private school vs. homeschool, and television watching are all issues where we are tempted to make snap judgements based on our own personal experiences. But every person’s situation is unique! Every child is different. Every child has a different temperament…some are more naturally compliant and some are born strong-willed. Some are born completely healthy and some have special needs. Let’s not condemn a fellow mother in doing what she feels is best for her children…or perhaps simply what she’s doing to survive! Instead, let’s be an encouragement to one another!