My convo with my dad last night went something like this.
Me: I don’t think I’m really cut out for this parenting thing. It’s not fun and it’s hard and I’m tired of it. I really don’t have any of the talents you need to be a good parent. My children are whiny, argumentative, and I really don’t want to be around them right now.
Dad: Did you know that your mother wanted to give you back when you were a few months old?
(continued conversation about how I didn’t sleep and she was exhausted and decided that motherhood wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.)
Dad: (this is where it gets really good and I will be unable to remember accurately enough to do it justice, but I’m going to try) Parenting is one of (pause. I jump in: …the most horrible things ever??? Yeah, I was in a great frame of mind!)… the best tools that God uses to transform us. That, and marriage.
Me: Well, marriage is a lot more fun.
Dad: (laughing) Yes, parenting 2 children with self-centered wills is not always fun. And that’s the thing. They are individuals with the ability to make decisions and it is your job to shape that, to shape them into the likeness of Christ. That doesn’t come easily, but God has tasked you, as their mom, with that responsibility. Bad parents see their children as an annoyance and are apathetic. The fact that you’re frustrated means that you are wrestling with the process. Parenting is exhausting, frustrating, and overwhelming– that goes with the territory– but don’t equate that with being a bad parent.
Good parents see their children, not as an annoyance, but as gifts. Gifts are different from presents. Presents are fun things to enjoy, but they don’t change you. Gifts create something in you. Think about the gifts of the Spirit that God gives us. They are to transform us. Same with kids. God didn’t give you your children because you are worthy. He gave them to you because he trusts you with them.
Me: I shared a prayer request with my Bible study group about this and I said that we were in a rough parenting phase right now. I said that I know I should ask for wisdom and patience and character-building, but what I really want right now is for it to be easier! Remember when we were kids and it was so easy for you because we were perfect and wonderful in every way?
Dad: Umm… yeah, right.