Is it possible for narcissistic, self-centered parents to be in the Christian realm of parenting? Unfortunately the answer is yes.
My heart is overwhelmed with emotions as I write this post. I am angry, ashamed and heartbroken. I am also mildly concerned about possible negative reactions from my readers, however I feel the need to speak the truth. What’s the point of a blog if you cannot try to make an impact on someone else’s thoughts and opinions without sharing yours?
About a week ago I read a post someone shared via social media. By the title, I thought it would be an encouragement to parents. It claimed to be thus. The “Christian” parents that passed it on glorified it as being “exactly what they needed to hear.”
But, it wasn’t an encouragement at all. In fact, it was blowing out of proportion the difficulties that almost all parents face and “jokingly” painting children in such a negative, self-absorbed manner.
Yes, I agree with many moms that raising children is difficult at times — but isn’t everything that requires diligent work difficult? Does staying in shape and eating a healthy diet take commitment, diligence and plain old sweat? Does having a close-knit relationship with your spouse take a lot of time and sacrifice? Does composing an orchestral masterpiece require hours of industrious work? Just like those important things of life require diligence and patience, so does raising children. If you sit by and do not become intentional in your parenting, then yes, parenting will become a nightmare. And here is the honest truth that the parenting magazines will not tell you: if parenting your kids has become a nightmare, it is not your kid’s fault — it is yours.
I am not being overly critical, I am being critically honest. When my kids are misbehaving and acting like misfits, I take time aside and reevaluate my mothering skills. Am I spending time with my kids training them? Am I teaching them the manners I desire to see in their lives? Am I praying for them enough? Am I consistently disciplining them or lazily telling them to obey over…and over…and over again? Let us be humble enough as parents to admit it is our fault if our kids scream, disobey or throw a tantrum. It is our fault because they have gotten away with those actions one too many times.
But the writer of the aforementioned post was telling parents they were not reallybad parents if they wished they were at work instead of with the kids or if the sound of their child’s voice made them want to start drinking and never stop.
It seems that my generation of parents think that in the parent-child scenario there is only one combination — good parents and bad kids. Unless the parent does something really drastic like abuse the child or some sort of neglect, it is always the kid’s fault. Those dirty-faced, snotty-nosed kids have come in and interrupted their morning coffee time, their evening news time and even worse — their nightly zzz’s. A tad-bit narcissistic, don’t you think? Definitely not a self-sacrificial Christian attitude that God wants us to maintain in all of our relationships in life.
This same blog post went on to say that when older people advise, “Enjoy your kids while they’re little, they grow up fast!” that he normally laughs off their comment but inwardly wants to hold them under water — just long enough to watch them squirm. So. Not. Funny. That comment screams that this generation has no respect for their elders.
This present generation of parents tend to view their elders as uneducated fogies, but this same generation is the one raising a bunch of irrational, overly-medicated children. Our parents and grandparents did not need to medicate children to make them listen in school or obey. Their kids also did not throw screaming fits in the grocery store when they didn’t get their favorite candy bar. Now, who is the more successful parent?
Regretfully, almost 95 percent of the feedback to the previous mentioned article were professing Christians that were saying, “I feel that way exactly! I tell my kids that if they don’t leave me alone we are both going to end up on the front of the newspaper!” What?! They are threatening their kids with abuse or murder — only with words, but those words must hurt! I can’t imagine the hurt I would feel if my mother said those words to me when I was a kid!
I whole-heartily agree with my elders that kids grow up fast. My oldest is 11 and my thoughts are bittersweet about the day he leaves home. I know it must happen and it is a good thing, but I ache to know that his constant presence at home will be missed, as it will with all my children when they leave for college or get married. It must happen and it is a part of growing up, but I still dread that day.
At the present time I am writing for an online baby and parenting website. I am also applying to other websites and am required to read their latest posts and articles before submitting a written article. I cannot begin to tell you the myriads of articles that are written about “me” time for moms and dads.
I will not lie. I enjoy some “me” time, but do I live for me time? No. I find great joy and satisfaction in time with my kids and time with my husband. I am not constantly trying to connive a plan to get out of the house while convincing others that I need just a little bit of “me” time. In fact, many times that I leave the house without my kids or my husband I feel a little lonely. My husband and my kids are my closet friends on this earth, and I enjoy getting to spend the majority of my days with them. I count them as treasures from the Lord!
The majority of parenting articles today. Most of them are following a trend. They tell parents:
You are not a bad parent.
You do need time to yourself.
You are great.
You are wonderful.
But the parents whine and complain about how they have to give up sleep in order to help a child that is sick, has wet the bed or has been awakened by a bad dream. They complain that they have to wash laundry every day to keep the kid’s clothes clean. They continue to complain that they have no “social” life. Poor people. They have it so rough. I guess they have completely forgotten all the memories of how their mother stayed up with them when they were running a fever or about all the clean, folded clothes that just happened to appear in their closets and dresser drawers.
Let me share why I enjoy parenting and consider it an awesome season of life. These examples are just small drops of water in an ocean-full of things that have brought sunshine to my life recently — all at the hands of my adorable, lovable children.
- During my toddler’s nap time yesterday, one of my daughters slipped a note under the door. I picked it up and smiled. She drew a picture of a pretty girl on it and wrote, “Just a note to let you know you are the prettiest mom in the world!”
- After working in my room this Saturday night, I walked out into the living room and saw the entire family’s clothes for church laid out and ironed for Sunday morning. Did I do it? Nope. My nine-year-old daughter did. This brought tears to my eyes.
- Two months ago I turned 31. My kids scrambled up all of their kid money and sneaked off (with their dad’s permission) to a close snack shop to buy my favorite goodies (keep in mind the snack shop is a tiny shack that is about the distance from a person’s house to their mailbox in a suburban neighborhood. It is run by our friends and neighbors and we live on a dirt road where there is mainly just bicycles, an occasional scooter and very rarely a car. So, yes, we are very careful about our kids and make sure they are only in safe areas.) They used every bit of their own special money. Then, they picked flowers and put them on a tray around the snacks. Next, they brought the tray upstairs while singing me “Happy Birthday.” It was their very own idea. My husband had nothing to do with it! In case you don’t know, my kids are 11, 9, 7,5,3, and 2. I am beyond blessed.
- Today I sat down to write a quick list of things for my hubby to pick up at the store. Here’s what it said
My kids leaned over my shoulder and read the list out loud. They all squealed and hugged me and said, “You’re the best mommy ever!”
They knew I was making grilled cheese for dinner and were super excited about the upcoming kid feast.
- Just a few days ago, I received a letter in the mail. Amazingly so, $20 fell out. That never happens here. If someone is so courageous to send cash, it doesn’t make it this far across the ocean — but this time it did! It was perfect timing, because I had just spent Saturday night praying and asking God to provide something a little special for the kids. I knewwhat to do with that money. I went straight to the book store and bought acrylic paint, construction paper, notebooks, erasers, pencils and colored pencils for the kids. Then I gave them each a dollar to spend how they pleased. I wish I had taken a video. They acted like I handed them gold! My heart was overjoyed at the happiness they expressed in the simplest things of life. Below is a picture of a birthday craft we did with the supplies.
I seriously could go on for hours about how my eleven-year-old son asks me to sit and swing with him just to talk, how my kids ask me questions they have about God and the Bible, how my girls surprise me and clean the kitchen or make my bed, how my two-year-old sneaks in the bed with me and smothers me with kisses — the list does not end!
If I can leave anything with you sweet readers today, may I encourage you to stop listening to the world that tells you children are a nuisance and that better days will come. I am enjoying my days right now! No, my house is not as clean as it was when it was just my husband and me and no, I do not get as much sleep as before, but nothing can replace the joy that floods my soul when I hear my toddlers giggle and feel their chubby little hands grasp mine.
Enjoy their pitter patters, their peanut-butter and jelly kisses, their endless questions and more. This season of life will pass us too quickly, and we will never be able to put that little one in our lap again, for they will be grown and have children of their own. God says that children are an heritage of the Lord. God does not give us children to punish us, but as gifts.
Enjoy your gifts today and shun the menacing attitudes that pervade our degenerate society. Be a shining light for motherhood, and when others tell you you have your hands full and roll their eyes, flash a smile back and say, “You’re right! A handful of blessings!”
If this post has been an encouragement to you, please pass it on to others to help fight the negative attitudes of this generation of parents. May God have mercy on our generation and may parents repent of their selfish, narcissistic hearts!