Thursday, July 15, 2010

Over-Protective or Under-Vigilant

Pin It Oh my heavens, it's hard being a parent!

I remember my friend Di saying "little people, little problems. Big people, big problems." At the time I had a toddler and an infant and hadn't slept in six months and giggled thinking that parenting would be so much easier when there were no more diapers in my shopping cart and I could be reasonably certain that I could leave the house without spit-up on me anywhere.

Then the toddler became a little girl and the infant became a toddler. I think it DID get easier, at least a little. Or maybe it was just that I could sleep every now and then, so my outlook improved.

Then the little girl became a big girl, and the toddler became a little girl, and we added another infant. And subtracted a lot of sleep. The big girl did become more independent, which sounded like a good thing at the time, but really wasn't. She became more social with more influences, and really wasn't content to sit and watch Sesame Street anymore. The little girl was at the mostly easy phase - potty trained and sleeping on her own, but no independence yet. Diapers were in the cart again and the lack of sleep circles appeared.

Now we have a big girl who can't wait to be a teen, another wanna-be big girl who is in the in-between stage, and a little boy. Everyone handles their own potty needs. Everyone sleeps in their own bed. Two of the three can even fix their own meals. But, life has not gotten easier.

Now, I understand what Di meant. I suspect that I will understand it better over the next few years. Now it's not the question of "should I just put them in my bed so I can get some sleep?" and "WHY OH WHY did nobody tell me I had spit-up in my HAIR?" and "Diaper blowout? Again?" Oh no. Now it's "OH MY HEAVENS SHE WANTS TO HAVE A BOYFRIEND. And read Twilight!" and "should we just implant that phone into her ear?"

I don't want to be the over-protective mom who has the kid like one of my college roommates, who wanted to have every single experience she felt like she had missed out on in her first month of college. Neither do I want to be the under-vigilant mom who has the kid who grows up knowing way much, or without defined rules.

I'm discovering more and more that moms just spend a lot of time walking a tightrope. What works for one child, or one family, will likely not be the best choice for another one. (LOL Have you met my daughters? Night and Day?)

All of this to say - Di, you were right. The little people problems really were easier. Give me spit up in my hair over deciding which text package to choose, please! And the funny thing? I'm sure in a couple of years I will be saying give me "is Twilight appropriate?" over whatever life is going to look like then.

I'm having continual prayers for wisdom to make the right decisions, and for mercy and grace when I don't. And for reminders when I look at my children and don't have the first clue, that the Lord loves them even more than I do, and that not only is His grace sufficient for me, it is sufficient for them as well.


Natasha said...

Beautifully said.

As the mom of 3 boys, I have the same concerns as you. They are so totally different. And my fear: I don't want to mess them up! Am I too harsh? Am I not strict in the right areas? Do they know that each decision is because I love them and it is the best that I know?

Mel's Dad said...

I knew you were getting there and good luck. Hope you do better than your Mom and i did. My only suggestion is err on the side of caution and strictness. You don't have to deprive them of any needed experience to do that and they have to have some freedom to make their own mistakes. Dad

Becky said...

Yes. What you said. I'd love to have my little, fun, playful, non-independent-thinking (didn't he know that I meant think independently as long as your thoughts are what I'd want you to think??!!), attitude-less boy back. But then I wouldn't have done my job. It's definitely harder now. And as much as I miss the carefree fun days, I love the thoughtful talks on beliefs, philosophy, underlying issues that lead to decisions and learning to anticipate outcomes and consequences of those decisions. He hasn't mastered it by any means, but I'm learning to enjoy watching the process of his growing into an insightful person. Even if he does disagree with me. :)

MamaJ said...

We are definitely not *there* yet, so I can't offer any words of wisdom! I only hope that when we do get there, we will make choices for our kids based on Scripture and not on Society's pressures. Honestly, my parents were strict, but they didn't stick with anything. Their hypocrisy made me not respect them, so I was probably a lot like your college rommate. I went crazy in the military. All they really had to do was show me they believed what they were telling me, and I think I would have trusted their choices a lot more. My two cents worth!