Parenting is Not Apples to Apples!
This week's blog is from 3rd grade teacher, Kara Winn! We asked Kara to share some encouragement to parents as a fellow mom and WCCS educator.
I’m a big fan of social media, when its powers are used for good and not evil. Like when I see someone’s engagement or wedding announcements. Or when it keeps me in touch with longtime friends and distant family. I love seeing kids grow up, lose teeth, and graduate through social media photos. Hey, I even like seeing the pictures of what you eat for dinner. I’m one of THOSE social media fans.
But…. Deep breath… I really hate what it does to us as parents sometimes. It can put us in a really crummy state of mind if we starting comparing our family to others on social media. Satan can run rampant and these thoughts start to enter our minds. “Their kid wins EVERY award! How does she keep her house so clean? They’re going on another big vacation? Whew, I’m glad MY kid doesn’t do that! How does she have such wonderful meals cooked every day? I’m working myself to death, and I’ll never keep up with…” Stop. Just stop. It’s not apples to apples.
(Insert side note that I need to take my own advice sometimes…. OK… a lot of times.)
Here’s some goals for me… maybe for you, too.
Rejoice with others. They got a promotion, new car, vacation, trophy, spelling bee certificate…. Celebrate with them. They probably aren’t announcing these things just to get on your nerves. Romans calls us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice.” This is a great lesson to model to your children as well.
Don’t judge someone else's parenting. You’re not in their shoes. It’s easy to tell someone that their baby should sleep through the night, get rid of a pacifier, or be riding a bike without training wheels at a certain age. But we don’t see past the mask of social media to know the background. I have plenty of “I’ll never do that” statements that I’ve had to swallow.
Show yourself some grace. When the person on the other side of the screen is the picture of perfection, neatly dressed, home immaculate, with cute lunches packed for their kids… STOP beating yourself up. It’s totally cool that they can accomplish those things. And it’s totally cool that you can’t. So pick yourself up by the bootstraps… or yoga pants…. And honestly check off what you do accomplish. And high-five yourself for throwing a Lunchable at your kid as you skid into the car line five minutes late. (Just don’t do that every day, ok?)
Be present. Put the phone down for a bit. Especially for meals. Don’t look at social media or emails. Talk to your kids. Ask them questions beyond “How was your day?” Maybe ask, “What is the coolest item someone had for lunch today?” “What was the most challenging thing for you today?” “Tell me 4 people you sat close to today.” “Did you see anyone acting like Jesus?” “Did you act like Jesus today?” “Was it hard to show Jesus to anyone today?”
Parenting isn’t apples to apples. We’ve all been given different fruit. Or maybe some of us were given nuts. But nevertheless, it’s all different. Stop comparing your parenting, your kids, and your family to others. God didn’t call you to be perfect. He called you to be YOU to YOUR KIDS. Do a lot of praying and give yourself a high-five every now and then!