Finding Purpose in Parenting
Our kids can be our greatest teachers
A Mom perspective
First let me start by saying . . . I’m a mom. I have a mother’s perspective to finding purpose in parenting. Why is that important in our world of gender neutrality? Women and Men parent differently. Or maybe I should say it this way — two partners who find themselves parenting will parent differently.
BUT YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A PARENT TO LEARN FROM KIDS. That kid that is driving you nuts in the grocery store . . . he’s teaching you a lesson about yourself.
I am one half of the parenting.
This brings me to my first point.
1. We are only part of the equation of creating a life. Parenting is a partnership between three people.
Let that sink in. You are part of a whole. What you do affects the others. What you DON’T do, affects others. Ideally, we work for the greater good of the three. When a family realizes that they are a team to work together — beautiful things happen. Each member feels loved, supported and safe.
The glitch in this process of finding purpose or the lesson in those moments where we are frustrated, hurt, or sleep deprived.
It is easy to act out in anger but it just as easy to ask yourself “What is my lesson in this moment?”
When we pause to ask ourselves “is this the best I can do for my partner and my kid?” In that moment . . . we find our purpose in this partnership. It WILL require us to make some hard choices at times. Be prepared. Take some time, there is no rush. Parenting is a marathon. Sometimes it feels like lonely, uphill and scary.
2. Diarrhea, Vomit and Pee
There will be lots of it. When we say “for better or worse” this is under that umbrella. We will be sick, our partners will be sick and our kids . . .
Have you ever had a kid puke in a car seat on the hottest day of summer and you are 200 miles from your destination?
If your answer is yes, you get me. In that moment I learned a level of compassion that I did not possess prior to that moment. Sure I’d changed lots of diapers, cleaned up projectile vomit from the final destination of the wall but not before covering sheets, pillows, stuffed animals and the wood bed frame that will be permanently marred from this illness, and I won’t bore you with the details of cleaning up after a diaper that has clearly malfunctioned and now the poor kid is COVERED.
Did I mention the smell of any of these episodes? Horrific. Halting. The kind of smell where you take the advice of county coroner and put Vicks under your nose . . .
When you meet these moments it is a lesson in unconditional love. When you can not only clean up the mess but calm the child through the scariness of being so ill. In that moment, you find your own version of compassion and you share it with what you have co-created.
That is a bond that will hold you together on your darkest nights.
When we make our children feel safe, taken care of, honored, and respected in those literally crappy moments . . . that lays a foundation of trust.
3. Kids teach transparency
When my kids were 2, 4, 6, and 8 I had the opportunity to learn from a seasoned mom, Melinda Inman. The lesson she taught me was this,
We are transparent to our kids, they see through everything and peek in on our soul.
Our children become the mirror of all that we need to heal. They become our teachers. We have a choice to ignore the lessons and become separate or to embrace the lesson. Each time we embrace the lesson, move toward awareness and understanding, we make room to heal.
For me, I worry about what my girls wear. My fear is rooted in my history of a difficult childhood, miserable middle school experience coupled with the culture that we live in. As my kids stretch the boundaries of what I feel comfortable with, I need to address my issues.
This is a perfect opportunity to become transparent and understand why I feel the way I do, heal my past (easier said than done but a work in progress), honor my girls and their spirits. What happened to me (should never happen to anyone) but my experience doesn’t guarantee that it will happen to them. I forget that sometimes, my past rains on their sunny today.
Mom, I want a bikini — for me wasn’t about the bikini at all.
As a Mom . . .
I look at these events as they arise, as opportunities to discuss them with my husband and find the lesson. I bring my part of the puzzle to the table to discuss and live through the rigors of parenting. He does the same in his own Dad way.
We are better people, more grounded, wiser, more and more transparent, have a great capacity to be “gentle, loving, kind and respectful”, our family mantra. Our kids offer us these lessons to point us into the direction of our purpose.
Finding Purpose through Parenting
It requires us to:
see our children as part of us.
our children and our partners are equal parts making a family.
our children are a gift from God. Just think about that. We are given a miracle! What would you do if you were given a miracle? Do you view your child as a miracle?
our children are after all children . . . the lessons will sometimes be hidden in a childlike manner. It is up to us to use our mature selves to decipher the lesson.
our children are our mini teachers and guides.
Wisdom has no age or height.
Be Blessed as you see children as teachers and learn more about your purpose through children.