Being a parent is hard stuff.
I wasn't ignorant of that when I signed up for this whole motherhood thing. However, I will say that in the beginning when the hard stuff is heavy on the care-taking end I was tired, but I wasn't overly worried about my children's well being.
I settled in and got used to it. I learned the ropes. I knew how to function on no sleep. I got really good at the whole feeding/diapering thing. I even eventually felt certifiable as a potty-training mom. Yes, I felt I had the care-taking thing down okay. Okay enough to not have
too much anxiety about them growing and developing healthily.
In the beginning, there is so much hero worship. I mean little kids have SO, SO, SO much love to give. Even though there are some tantrums and moments of hair-pulling, you as their parent are pretty much as cool as playing in the mud, ice cream, and puppies.
When my boys were little, I was never really stressed about raising a good kid. I mean even the occasional time out did nothing to tarnish their little halos. I knew they weren't perfect, but it is easier to remember a little one is still learning manners. For one, they seem to have more moments of good and less of weasel.
So yeah, in the beginning I knew it was hard. BUT I am learning that with the more blessings and fun that parenting brings as the boys get older, the harder it gets.
Harder in a different way.
Less work physically.
More work emotionally.
More work spiritually.
Over the past year or so I am learning this first hand thanks to my Oldest.
You know this handsome kid.
He is old enough to start expressing his personality. He is old enough to start questioning. He is old enough that he thinks he is old enough to be our equal. He is old enough to control his emotions and yet he is young enough that he doesn't have it all figured out.
He is the oldest so he is bossy. He is smart...so he always has an answer for everything even if he hasn't been asked. He is old enough to help. He is old enough to ride his bike out of my sight. He is old enough to start making his own choices. He is old enough to be held accountable for his actions.
He is old enough that this Momma sometimes gets a little obsessed with making sure he is being a "good kid". I will admit it. I think I am a little overbearing sometimes. I SO badly want the best things for him.
I want him to be a good example. I want him to be a good friend. I desire for him to have compassion and gentleness but also to be able to weather the challenges that life will send his way. I want him to really know he is a Child of God and I want him to have confidence to act accordingly. I want him to make as few stumbling decisions as possible. I want him to develop an obedient and faithful nature. I want him to think of serving without asking.
I want to raise a good kid so that he will be a good adult.
I want this so badly for him, because I know ultimately this kind of character will bring him the most joy and happiness. Isn't that what every parent really wants for their children?
Sometimes I want it so badly that perhaps...just perhaps I spend WAY too much time correcting every little thing, over and over and OVER again.
Sometimes I want it so badly I only see the things to correct and I forget one very important thing...
He is already a really, really good kid.
He is respectful at church, school, and with other adults. He watches out for Middle. He reads to Bean and the other boys. He will give his balloon up when another siblings flies away into the sky. He will spend a time out in his room planning a spiritual lesson to teach the family. He obeys the BIG rules. He gets excited when we go take treats to a neighbor. He had hoped that his younger brothers would never learn swear words and felt devastated when he couldn't protect Middle from learning one. He easily shares with us when he feels the spirit.
He still talks about marrying the girl I picked out for him 4 years ago. He talks about being a good dad. He tells his Momma that she is the best cook frequently. He is eager to learn new skills. He reads and reads and reads. He makes good decisions 90% of the time. Fells genuine remorse for his big oopsies.
So yes, I will say it again. He is already a really good kid.
I was grateful when I ran across the above quote pinned by my SIL. While I was reading it, a light bulb went off. I so badly needed to be reminded to not focus on all the fixing. I needed to be reminded that I needed to be corrective, but ultimately I needed to foster his already-there goodness. I just need to lovingly teach and reinforce the goodness he came with.
Because I am not perfect and I am aware I will have a lapse in memory, I decided to create my own version of the saying I saw. I will be printing off and hanging it on my fridge so that I can remember everyday to be the parent I want to the good kids I already have. After all, he is just my first AND he has plenty more growing up still to do with three siblings quickly following behind.
If this saying struck a chord with you, please fill free to save the above quote to you computer and print it off. A little positive reminder never hurt.
After all, just like raising a good kid is a process, so is becoming the parent we want to be.
Go give your good kids a hug and tell them how grateful you are for all their goodness.