07 December 2015

Cookie Cutter Kids

Cookie Cutter: marked by lack of originality or distinction, very similar to other things of the same kind : not original or different

After bringing home 4 different babies in the past 8 years I have learned one thing for certain not one of my kids is perfect and each of them is completely different from the other.  Each one has a very unique personality from day one.  They also come with strengths and weaknesses.  One of the hardest parts of our parenting job is helping to mold them and shape them into the people that God wants them to be.  For me, this has been my greatest challenge.

I grew up fearing authority, knew when to keep my mouth closed, and really sought to make my parents proud of me in school and in my extracurricular activities.  I was told that talking back was disrespectful.  I was taught to sit still and be quiet in church.  I can still remember the glares I got from my Dad as my feet swung back and forth in the church chairs.  We were never allowed to wear make up, nail polish, or chew gum.  And although my parents had three daughters none of us were allowed to pierce our ears until we were in high school.  When we went to school or church we were supposed to look and act a certain way.  Most of the time I felt like how I behaved on the outside was the most important.  Even if my thoughts and heart were far from what was good or right.

Very often I want my kids to just be quiet, follow all the rules I make up, and sit still, and sometimes I see their quirky personality traits as annoying instead of wonderful.  I know that this is wrong and unrealistic.  I know that kids need to talk, need to question, need to run, and I also know that I should be celebrating how unique they are.  But many times it is easier when they just conform to what I want, rather than what is best.  And many times I am so overwhelmed with 4 kids that even the talking and questions alone are enough to set me over the edge.

On a daily basis I have to remind myself that my job as a parent is to do what Proverbs 22: 6 says:

"Train up a child in the way he should go,And when he is old he will not depart from it."
My job is also to celebrate their personalities and differences!  Of course we need to reel them in when they are doing wrong things.  But being wild, or loud, or asking questions is not bad, the way I used to think it was or the way I grew up thinking.  I shouldn't expect my one son to act just like my other son.  I shouldn't expect my 7 year old daughter to act like a self controlled adult.

Many times I expect my kids to behave like adults and I get so frustrated when they don't.  It's comical almost.  They are kids.  They are learning.  And most times I just want control.  Let's face it...life with kids is all about being flexible, and realizing that sometimes life is just chaotic, loud, and slightly crazy.

The only reason why I am able to do half of the things I do is because I have an awesome husband who supports me and a gracious God who forgives me.  Did you ever in a million years realize that motherhood would be this hard?  Ah, but it is.  None of us has it easier than the next.  None of us has perfect cookie cutter kids.  All of us have our ups and downs, good days and bad days.

A friend reminded me awhile ago that when I start to feel hopeless or get down on myself start to think of all the ways that God has blessed me and think about the many good things He has done and will continue to do.  Stop focusing just on the bad stuff and start being reminded of all the good that is around you and in store for you.  It really does change your perspective.

And realize that some days it really is okay to just cry!


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