Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dear Fellow Parents: An Open Letter

Dear Fellow Parents,

Let me first say that as a Mom, I am not perfect. Not even close. I've had snap-at-my-kid-days, I've had I-need-to-leave-the-room-to-cool-down-days. I am not the perfect skirt-and-apron wearing Mama (although, I have worn both, most recently as a Halloween costume).

Raising kids is not easy.

 They get messy.

They are loud.

They drive ya crazy. They do. I've had meltdown moments in my bedroom, after Ella's bedtime where I've cried and cried. I've had homeschooling days drag down like a snail through super glue.

So, believe me, I'm not perfect. Neither is my kid.

That said, I've noticed a disturbing trend, especially on Facebook. Kid-shaming. Yes, it's one thing to show a picture of your kid when they pull apart a toilet paper roll/are covered in spaghetti sauce (guilty!!!!) or when they dump a truckload of Legos in your living room.

But when people go on endless rants about their children's "shortcomings" really saddens my heart. Because I know people who 1) are unable to have children and who would do ANYTHING to have a child to hold, despite their "imperfections" 2) have special needs kids who require their 24-7 attention and they would love a break, but rarely get one...and they still continue to FIGHT for their kids, be their advocates and kick butt for them or 3) have suffered a horrible loss and do not have their children there to "drive them crazy." I'm one kid short. I'll ALWAYS be one kid short. I'd love to have a ten year old here to be a know-it-all, to fight with her sister, to give me a run for my money.

Children are a GIFT FROM GOD.  (Psalm 127:3) And honestly, even if your beliefs differ from mine, you WANTED this child. Just because things don't go your way doesn't mean that it's time to make your child feel bad/worthless/unwanted. Children don't always adhere to your expectations. Sometimes, they make a mess. Sometimes, things are out THEIR control too. Sometimes, as parents, WE are the problem and we have to step back and assess the situation.

Parenting is hard. So hard. But it's rewarding too. So very, very rewarding. I remember the first time Ella, as a baby, pointed out the cars on the road and named the colors. I remember I shouted, "YES!" I remember when, in 2012, after the death of a friend, Ella decided to donate her hair. I think back to last week, on the girls' birthday, in church, Ella ran up to me, hugged me tight and said, "I know it's hard, Mom. I'm HERE FOR YOU." It's those moments that make every meltdown, every mess, every hard moment just melt away for me.

So, please, please, please. Before you hurt your child with words, either on the internet or in person, please think twice. Think of those wonderful moments. Think of the person you want your child to be. Think of the person YOU want to be. The person YOUR child is emulating. And parents, please, please. Love your children. Just love them. Love them with God's beautiful, watchful love. Love them. Spaghetti stains and all.

In Christ,
Jo, an imperfect mother raising a beautifully imperfect child.

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