Sometimes becoming a parent is loaded with fears – some of which you never even knew you had until you held that bundle in your arms.
It doesn’t matter if you are a CEO, a sergeant major, an athlete, musician or nurse. That moment of realization comes to us all when you suddenly understand that you can’t push that baby back in. There is no turning back. Seriously. Ever.
Your most significant contribution to the world could be who and not what. I think every parent, in an unguarded moment, has felt the weight of that thought. I know that I have. For some, that moment releases a barrage of fears.
Fears such as am I enough? How can I protect my child? Will we have enough finances? How will I ever be able to sleep again? Will my child have friends? A decent education? To vaccinate or not, that is the question?
I remember my husband and I driving our firstborn home from the hospital at about 20km/h, I mean, how fast can you drive with a newborn in the car? Fast forward 18 years, and we are back up to the speed limit, and my son has turned out just fine. He is emerging into being his own man now, ready to enter University plus he’s making his own mistakes too. Our relationship is intact. He is still breathing and has all of his limbs.
How do you deal with fears running through your mind?
#1 What if I raise my kids poorly because I come from a difficult and painful background?
First of all, you do parent out of who you are. But, you have the power to change things. You can seek healing from the pain of your past, and you can learn parenting skills to guide you on your journey. You are not alone. There are no perfect parents, therefore, take all pressure off yourself to be that perfect mom or dad.
Remember that your children were created in God’s image, not yours. It takes courage to seek help to heal from your past and learn new ways of thinking. That in itself is a great gift you can give your children.
Whether you are tickling your children, talking to them through a locked door or helping them with the homework, who you are, shines out of you. Embrace vulnerability and seek healing. It is possible.
#2 How will we be able to provide for our children?
There is a never a moment when you have precisely enough money in the bank to start a family or raise your children. Being a mom or dad requires sacrifice; it’s love’s way. Take time to think about your family’s values and how you can put them into practice. Seek God for wisdom and model wise stewardship of your finances. Place your faith in God who provides and not your paycheck or bank balance.
For five years my husband and I, with two teenagers, lived as missionaries not earning a salary. We trusted God for every cent (and couldn’t work harder or pray harder) but merely be faithful with what He had and obeyed what Jesus asked of us. We saw His provision in the most incredible ways. The key is this: Follow and obey Jesus with your finances. Be faithful to do what he has asked of you to do and then trust Him.
#3 My family is a blended unit. Will our children be ok?
Reports indicate that one out of three children in the US will live in a remarried or cohabiting stepfamily before they reach adulthood. If you live in a blended family, it is essential to be mindful of the challenges going in and decide beforehand that you will invite help as is needed. Family structure isn’t the most important factor in raising healthy and whole kids.
It certainly isn’t an easy thing to integrate children from different homes and backgrounds into one unit. This transition takes time, compassion, understanding and a hefty dose of loving wisdom from the Lord.
#5 How will I guide my kids through a technological minefield?
As a child, my parents had firm boundaries. I knew what was acceptable and what was not. Today, we need to employ the same principle with their access to the online world. Clear limits and boundaries provide safety, guidance, and protection for our children (and us).
Moms and Dads, you don’t need to be afraid. Educate yourself about the various social media platforms available. Then, teach your children to integrate technology healthily. Its part of every family’s way of life these days, therefore, don’t throw the ‘baby out with the bathwater.’ Be firm in your standards, limits, and boundaries. I always try and model my values and principals for my kids such charging my device in a neutral space (such as the kitchen), giving everyone access to my phone (I have nothing to hide) and I try and implement a ‘digital sunset.’
Be fearless in your pursuit of releasing the next generation into their purposes. My hope for you is that your family will reflect the glory of the Lord and that He will give you all the tools to navigate these turbulent waters of parenthood.
For more information, please contact me at www.mandihart.net
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Mandi Hart is the author of Parenting with Courage and the Parenting Journal. She is a wife and mother to two vibrant teenagers. Together with her husband, she has led a global missions organization and spiritual family. Mandi has ministered to families for almost 20 years including running a moms group for almost 75 moms, facilitating various parenting courses and speaking into parenting in a number of countries.