Parenting is Hard
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
I have been a parent for a little over a year now, so I am by no means an expert in the field. However, what I have learned in the last fifteen months is that while parenting is one of the best jobs in the world, it is also one of the hardest.
After my sweet little angel turned one, we jumped into toddlerhood headfirst. The tantrums, the screaming, the hitting, the throwing of one’s self on the floor, and the drama…oh the drama…began. I didn’t think it would start so soon, but it really caught me off guard by how quickly it snuck up on us. Since then, it has been a constant battle trying to figure out how to discipline my child in a way where she understands that what she is doing is wrong. How many times do I have to say “no”? How many times do we have to sit in the time-out chair? How many times do I have to take away privileges? How many times do I have to redirect her attention from the ONE thing she isn’t supposed to touch only to find her right back at it the second I turn away?
If you are in a similar boat with parenting, I want to share some advice that I have taken to heart. While listening to Julie Richard, founder of Fearless Mom, speak at a conference, she had a one-liner that has stuck with me and is true now more than ever.
Our parenting decisions need to be made on the basis of the next twenty years and not just the next twenty minutes.
In other words, all of the parenting decisions I make need to be geared towards guiding my daughter and helping her become a strong individual, a responsible adult, and a respectful human being. Too many times, the easier route is parenting for the next twenty minutes. When she decides to throw a fit in the middle of the grocery store, my desire is to get her to be quiet as quickly as possible. Many times I find myself saying, “If you stop screaming Mommy will give you _____________.” But who am I helping? To be honest, I am just helping myself. It is embarrassing being that parent with a screaming child. What am I teaching her by bribing her? I am teaching her that she will get what she wants if she throws a tantrum. Is this something that is just for the next twenty minutes or something that will help her for the next twenty years?
In my short year of parenting, I have already learned that it is hard. I know I will have lots more challenges ahead, but I have to keep reminding myself to parent for the next twenty years and not just the next twenty minutes. Some days are hard, and I feel like throwing up my white flag in surrender to the tiny human. I feel like giving in and making those quick and easy “20-minute” parenting decisions, and to be honest, I do that more than I am willing to admit. God has entrusted into my care His child. That is quite a large responsibility, but it is also an honor. It is my job to raise my daughter in a way that honors and glorifies Him, and that is a tough job to do, but it is so worth it!
Katie, a former missionary and teacher in India, is a pastor’s wife and stay-at-home-mom to an on-the-move toddler. She loves to bake, travel, and take a good nap every now and then, but even more so has a love and passion for women’s ministry.