Ever heard that old saying, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger?” Well, I’m pretty sure my kids are trying to kill me. As a parent of three extremely busy, rambunctious boys, I often find myself feeling exhausted and overpowered by the throws of life.
From emergency room visits to juggling extra-curricular activities to balancing work and life, to even trying to sneak in date nights with my spouse; parenting is one of the hardest, if not THE hardest things I’ve ever tried to accomplish…probably second to potty training. Often times, I don’t feel as though I am succeeding.
I did NOT anticipate how much parenthood would stretch and test my abilities…and my patience. One thing is for sure, parenting is an endurance marathon that you cannot train for. Certain moments of the journey will be exhilarating while others will zap you to the point of exhaustion.
It’s incredibly important for parents (moms AND dads) to find ways to refuel and gain some much-needed perspective on balancing it all. And it’s equally important for us to garner time with the Lord, even in our busiest seasons. Whatever season you’re in, here are a handful of tips to add to your parental tool belt that might help you conquer – rather than being defeated by – parenting.
PINTEREST HATERS UNITE
Don’t get me wrong. I love Pinterest, but my Pinterest fails tally-up more than my Pinterest success stories. It’s SO easy to compare ourselves to other moms and dads who seem to have it all together; who spend every waking hour with their children and never seem to tire of them; who seem to do everything perfectly; those Energizer bunny parents. You know who I’m talking about! God tells us in Galatians 6:4-5, “Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others.” We can’t get wrapped up in being a perfect parent. There is no such thing! We can’t focus on what other parents are doing. Embrace your mess-ups and allow God and your children to teach you something.
When you find you are running on fumes, utilize supports you have in place or seek new ones. Call on a friend, grandparent or babysitter for some parental “time-off.” Joining a women’s or men’s group is an awesome way to bond with other parents who are jumping through the same parental hoops you are. Other parents can give you some insight and Biblical direction rather than floundering on your own. Don’t do life alone!
EMBRACE THE QUIET TIME
My quiet time with the Lord is usually the first thing that I push to the side when my schedule gets hectic. But I find that those days I actually DO my quiet time, are often times my post peaceful days; not in what God throws at me, but how I react to them. Parenting can, at times, seem impossible. But Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” When we shift our focus on God and how He can use us as parents to steward our children into Christ-centered young adults, anything is possible. Try waking up a few minutes earlier than your kid’s usual wake-up time to spend with God. Or use the last 10 minutes of your day, after the kids are in bed. Quiet time isn’t just a time to check off our to-do list. God desires our attention…and quite frankly, He deserves it.