Monday, March 19, 2012

No guilt

I'm sitting here blogging and should be doing dinner prep.

I did a ton of housework this morning while I feel like I should have been playing with my little boy. After all, we've all read the poem about finger prints on the wall or whatever.

I gave my kid a sucker at my OB appointment this morning so he'd be occupied. It should have been an organic, non-GMO, gluten-free cracker or something like that (not dogging it, I have all those things)...but he really loves his "doctor appointment sucker" and gobbles it with reckless abandonment.

His lunch should have been colorful, thoughtfully and excitingly displayed...but it was a piece of torn up turkey lunchmeat, a hastily-cut piece of co-jack cheese, and some older-than-necessary cantaloupe, basically all thrown in one bowl (because I needed to make it to said OB appointment).

Aren't you so sick of shoulds? And feeling guilty? What's that all about?

I've worn a mantle of guilt since Levi made his roaring entrance two Octobers ago. You?

I've never had professional pictures taken of Levi. No chubby baby spilling out of a basket or wearing a sock monkey hat. No heartwarming photo of the three of us walking in a field together. Nada. I gave up taking many pictures of him at all because A) he won't stop moving for a nanosecond, and B) every picture ends up being of his hand reaching to the camera and his face threatening to cry.

He eats like a barbarian. He knows how to use a spoon and fork, and I've been pretty impressed when he actually takes up the effort. But he'd rather plow thru his food as a ten-finger experience rather than be neat. And I'm okay with that. The three of us enjoy dinner together, Matt and I enjoy conversation, and Levi eats with reckless abandonment (notice a theme?). He's pretty neat about it, it all ends up mostly in his mouth, and he's not picky. Not terribly civilized, but I'll take it.

I don't sit down and formally teach him all of his numbers and letters every day. Collectively gasp now. I'm not an "every moment is a teaching moment" mom. I guess I should be? He's got books aplenty, magnetic letters since he was about four months old (and every once in a while he runs by and hits the button on this little apparatus that sings the alphabet), and all that stuff. I figure he'll start stringing it all together when his brain has the right amount of myelin in the the right places.

I let him play alone (or follow a few inches behind me) while I clean the house. Because I want order and I want him to see that work is a good thing and a regular part of our day. But then I feel guilty because I feel like I should be doing things like taking him to the photographer and, you know, whipping out flash cards.

But we DO set boundaries. And pray with him. Apologize when we know we've lost our self-control. We're teaching him the importance of obedience and the word no. We're consistent with discipline. He might not listen to me and Matt all the time but he doesn't have to be told something twice when he's with the sitter.

I'm not trying to be bragadocious, I'm just saying that if you sit back and evaluate, you're really not doing everything wrong even though you feel like it some days. Ta-RUST me, there ARE some parents out there who ARE doing a LOT of things wrong AND ruining their kids' lives...and if you're currently reading this blog in any way or capacity, you are NOT one of those people.

God's Word has a lot to say about what being a good parent is and what the job entails. Believe me, it has nothing to do with how early your kid walks or talks, if they can recite Avagadro's number by a certain age, if their manners are perfect, whether or not their plate has a full rainbow of colors on it, or if their sippy has juice or water in it. Nothing. All of these are outward signs but say nothing about the condition of their hearts, over which we have zero control. All we can do is pray for them, examine the condition of our own hearts, and sow as much Truth into them (ours AND theirs) as we can.

It doesn't matter how many professional pictures you have.
Or how great your kid's manners are.
Or any of that.

You will not stand in front of the Throne of Grace and account for any of those things.

So (and I'm speaking to myself here) - stop feeling guilty.

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