Anyone else struggle with insecurities? In most areas of my life I am pretty confident. Maybe over confident in some areas, but there is one area where I feel the most insecure. When it comes to being a parent I often wonder if I am failing. I question my every decision. I question whether I am feeding them the right foods, allowing them to watch too much television or play video games to often. I worry that I am not giving them enough instructions about surviving in the world today. I struggle with allowing them to make their own decisions and live with the consequences of those decisions. My heart’s desire is to raise my children to have a relationship with Jesus and I often wonder if I am spiritually guiding them in the right direction. Being a parent is such a huge responsibility and can be overwhelming at times.
As overwhelming as it can be at times, I cannot allow those feelings to prevent me from moving forward and taking the necessary steps to improve my ability as a parent. I am responsible for these little human beings. Therefore, I have to do everything that I can to ensure that they are being brought up in such a way that they don’t need recovery from their childhood. So, you may be wondering what does that look like. Well, that may mean that I need to read every parenting book that I can get my hands on, or attend every parenting webinar that I can, or surrounding myself with women that I feel are great parents. It also means I have to learn by trial and error. I have to be kind to myself and make room for mistakes. Some of the greatest bonding moments with my children started with me apologizing for not handling something correctly. If you are not happy with your ability to parent, you can change. I am a much better parent now than I was 10 years ago and I plan to be even better 5 years from now. In addition, I have found that the support of my husband makes a world of difference in how I feel about myself as a parent.
One of my biggest supporters is my husband and I am so appreciative of his perspective in moments where I am doubting my ability to parent. He has taught me that when parenting is overwhelming I need to pull closer to him. Spouses should build one another up in their children’s eyes. Look for opportunities to speak favorably of your spouse in front of your children. Provide opportunities for your spouse to shine. For example, if your daughter is getting dressed to go somewhere nudge your spouse and tell him to comment on how proud he is of her. Fathers look for opportunities to point out your wife’s strength or intelligence to your children. Let your children see you love on each other. In addition, I encourage you to be a united front. If you disagree with how your spouse handled a situation or a decision, he/she made wait until you are alone and discuss it. If you have to come back and make changes you make them together so that neither of you has to be the “bad guy” while the other looks like the “good guy”. This way of pulling closer to one another in difficult times requires humility. It also requires consistency, patience, and flexibility, but most importantly it requires you to be gracious, gracious to yourself, your children, and your spouse. The support of a loving spouse can make a world of difference especially for someone that is doubting their ability to parent.
So, parents take a breath, pray, and remember you are exactly who your kiddos need. You are doing your best and love covers much of our mistakes. Every mistake is a learning opportunity and a chance for us to connect on a deeper level with our children. There is no secret formula and we all drop the ball, but there is grace for that. Now go be the best parent you can be today.
I think much of this can apply to other areas in our life where we may be feeling insecure. From the above reading I extracted actions that can be done to address insecurities.
· Education: read books and/or articles or attend webinars that will help you feel more confident regarding the area you feel insecure. If you prefer auditory learning I have found podcasts that are very helpful (for parenting The Longest Shortest Time, https://longestshortesttime.com/category/podcast/ )
· Relationships: surround yourself with those that will encourage you to be better in areas you feel weak or incapable. Remember how my husband encourages and supports me when I feel insecure as a parent? Allow others to be there for you and build you up.
· Fail: allow room for failure and use those moments where you drop the ball as learning opportunities. Remember those bonding moments with my children that I mentioned earlier?
· Grace: be gracious to yourself, friends, and family. We can be our biggest critic or we can choose to be our biggest fan.