Is it just me or do you feel like parenting today is incredibly anxiety-filled?
There are so many options, so many opinions, so many products to ensure a successful parenting journey. I experience more guilt related to being a parent than in any other area of my life.
I know it’s because we love these kids so much. We want to give them the world. And all around us are voices telling us how to give them world. We just get one shot at this thing called child-raising and we’re terrified we’ll miss the right voice and mess our kids up.
Well on my journey toward Purposeful Simplicity I’ve come to the decision that I’m leaving the rat race. I’m standing up and saying, “I’m not giving my kids the world.” And I’m exiting the field.
I’m never going to be the best parent: the most creative, the most enthusiastic, the smartest. My kids will never have all the options available to them in life.
And you know what? I’m done with stressing about it.
The rat race makes me tired. I’m tired of looking around obsessively comparing myself and my kids to other people. Are they behind? Are they ahead? Have that had that opportunity? Is _________ choice we made going to mess them up? I’m tired of defending the parenting choices I make to anyone who will listen. Frankly, it’s exhausting. I’m tired of perpetuating a cycle of guilt and worry and striving in parenting.
I’m leaving all of this behind because the voices trying to convince me to give my kids the world are wrong. There isn’t a perfect childhood. There’s just childhood. There isn’t a perfect family. There’s just family. It’s beautiful and complex and broken and we learn as we go and God redeems all of it.
Our job is just to be faithful to steward the souls He has given us. We obey Him. We love our kids. We grow in our own faith so we can love them even better. We show them how to live in submission to God and how to look outward and love other people.
All the rest is just trappings. Parenting methods. Where they go to school. Who their friends are. What we eat. Whether we travel. What kind of toys they have. How much TV they watch.
Purposeful Simplicity is asking God for wisdom in the trappings. These things matter but they aren’t the end-all. God uses all kinds of parents and all kinds of life circumstances for His glory. We may choose one path in this season of life and choose another path later on.
Purposeful Simplicity is living at peace with where God has my family right now and turning a deaf ear to all the voices telling me I should be giving my kids something else, something better. It’s saying, “God’s voice is the only voice that matters,” and being still enough to actually hear His voice. It’s realizing there’s a world of freedom within the borders of His will.
Purposeful Simplicity is choosing gratitude over guilt. Guilt says, I’m not doing enough, and it’s crippling, my friends. I know because I’ve lived too long under it. It’s also incredibly self-absorbed. Gratitude looks all around and says, with breathless wonder, Look at all You’ve given me, Father. Thank you. It’s learn to parent out of faith not fear.
Purposeful Simplicity is enjoying my children. Just for who they are, right here and right now. It’s leaving the rat race so I forget about myself and treat them like image-bearers of God. My kids don’t exist for me; they’re not little portfolios to prove my self-worth. They’re living, breathing human beings who will make their own choices and their own journeys. Right now I slow down and quiet myself so that I can listen and get to know their thoughts, their personalities. So that I can find gladness in just watching them be kids. So that I can find joy in being their mom.
Mostly, Purposeful Simplicity is entrusting my children to God. I’m not in control. I don’t know how they’ll grow up, what kind of life they’ll have, what kind of suffering they’ll face. But God knows. And He loves them so much more than I do. Parenting isn’t a formula to get right, it’s a long, winding, beautiful, painful journey of love that will change our whole family in ways I can’t even imagine. I trust Him to take care of my kids. I trust Him to be their perfect Parent.