Unpopular Parenting Opinions

Unpopular Parenting Opinions

 

When you become a mom, you learn that everyone around you has strong feelings about every fine detail of your decision-making as a parent. It’s like once the test strip turns pink, friends and family suddenly feel the freedom to throw their two cents into about all sorts of things related to rearing a child, from feeding to discipline to proper medical care. Sometimes, these opinions are welcomed and advice is much needed. However, sometimes the opinions are just that – and should be treated as such.

Since becoming a mom over four years ago, I’ve developed some parenting opinions as well – and some of them could be controversial. Here are some of my unpopular parenting opinions:

  1. Kids are unlikeable human beings sometimes. Listen, I will always love my children, feed them, clothe them, wipe their stinky bottoms, tuck them into bed at night and smother them with kisses in the process. But sometimes, they’re rotten and bratty and I don’t like them – and I don’t apologize for feeling that way or admitting it, because guess what? Most humans can be pretty annoying at times, and my kids are no exception. If you’ve ever lived with a spouse, significant other, or roommate then you know this to be true.
  2. Over-the-top first birthday parties are excessive and unnecessary. Save that money and put it into a college fund. I may get some heat for this one, but that’s okay because if you have more than enough money to throw it down the drain on a hot air balloon photobooth setup for a one-year-old’s party – then we’re probably not friends and you’re not reading this opinion, anyway.
  3. Sleep training can be a sanity-saver. Our first slept like a champ upon leaving the womb, but our second really struggled. It wasn’t until we sleep trained him that any of us got any consistent rest throughout the night, and I couldn’t believe how long we waited to do it.
  4. One and done is a perfectly legitimate child-bearing decision. Though we have two children, I remember the pressure others put on us to have a second kid. Any time I expressed that I might be done at one child, I was met with looks of shock and dismay, “the horror!” I’m glad we have two now, but I have good friends who struggle justifying their one-and-done decision every day, as if they’re being mean to their kid for depriving them of a sibling. Pretty sure my oldest would say I’m the mean one for giving her a brother – sometimes.
  5. Watching TV is fine. I could guilt myself about this one, but that seems like a lot of emotional effort and since I carry enough baggage with me each day – why add to it? We do this together as a family most of the time, we still have dinners around the table and we turn off the screens to read and sing together each night, so I’m okay with our TV time. And you know what? Thanks to Little Einsteins, my kids know the meaning of fancy musical terms like adagio, allegro, presto and moderato but can’t wipe their own bottoms, so clearly my parenting opinions might need to be taken with a grain of salt. Or a few grains and a shot of tequila.

Ahem. Anyway.

As a mom with a penchant for sarcasm, it’s easy for me to develop strong feelings about myriad parenting things – these are just a few. What are some of your unpopular parenting opinions?

I’m not the mom I want to be

I'm not the mom I want to be

 

I yell sometimes. Okay, maybe often is more accurate than sometimes. It’s happening so often recently that when I ask my one year old “what does the mama say?,” my husband teasingly makes loud noises. It’s funny, in a sad way, because it’s accurate.

I yelled today. I picked up the kids from “church school” (daycare) and we had been in the car for less than 5 minutes when it happened.

I didn’t just raise my voice.

I yelled.

That’s ENOUGH! Just STOP!

I don’t want to be an angry mom who yells. It’s not like I put it on my list of things to do. Today, I will lose my cool and let my kids have it. I don’t want my kids to look back on their childhood and remember me as an impatient or angry dictator mom who yelled all the time.

If I’m being honest, “mom” was not on my list of things I wanted to be when I grew up. Though the list evolved and included lawyer, journalist, writer, successful professional woman, Ph.D and theologian, “mom” was never really a goal. Maybe it’s because I had an angry mom, and my childhood memories of her aren’t warm and fuzzy. Or maybe it’s because money and education were bigger status symbols to a poor kid on welfare, whose mom was in and out of jail and drug rehab. Whatever the reason, “mom” wasn’t something I imagined myself being one day.

Now that I’m a mother of two, I can’t imagine being anything other than mom. It’s a paradox I can’t explain, but my heart changed a little over three years ago when we had our firstborn. When she looks up at me in the middle of any one of a million mundane moments and declares, “I love you so much, mama,” all of those other hopes and aspirations fade in comparison to this reality.

Whether it was my goal or not, mom is what I am and I wouldn’t change that even if I could.

However, I’m not the mom I want to be. In fact, I can think of a number of moms I’d rather be. I’d like to be the mom who plans meals and clips coupons to perfect the grocery budget. I’d like to be the mom who makes crafts without fussing about the mess. The mom who gets up before the rest of the family on a Saturday for a 5-miler before cooking a big breakfast. Or the mom who reads and prays with her kids every night and teaches them about Jesus without fail.

I don’t necessarily want to do it all. I’d just like to be the mom who does some of it well. Instead, I’m the mom who yells. I’m the mom who struggles to find joy in the chaos of overcooked meals, potty accidents, spilled drinks, seemingly endless ear infections, never-ending loads of laundry and the constant needs of two in the throes of toddlerhood.

Maybe this is you today, too. Maybe you’re struggling with mom life and you’re disappointed with where you are. I hope you’re encouraged to know you’re not alone. This is a safe place for you. It’s okay to admit that maybe this isn’t all you hoped.

If you find yourself here today feeling like you’re not the mom or person you want to be, let me offer you the only thing I have: grace. Grace gives me patience when I want to lose my cool. Grace teaches my children it’s okay to mess up because forgiveness is real and repentance is important.  Grace allows me to say in faith “my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever” (psalm 73:26). Grace redeems the mom I am instead of guilting me to be the mom I’m not.

Have you experienced this grace? His name is Jesus, and from him we have all received grace upon grace. I hope you know there is grace for you, too. Grab hold of it, of him, and never let go.

Weekend Recap: sweet friends + Kings Kaleidoscope Live

Weekend Recap

Weekend Recap

 

Monday is upon us once again, dear friends. I work outside the home, so Mondays are bittersweet as I return to my day job and deposit my littles into someone else’s care for the majority of the hours in each day. It’s not ideal, but it’s our normal right now.

We had a great weekend. Mr. Forrest worked hard on his homework all last week to free up some space in the weekend for fun activities, and it was so nice to spend time together and with friends for a change. Saturday morning I reunited with some sweet friends to celebrate the impending nuptials of one of our tribe. I’ve known these girls for 5 years or more, and we started as coworkers and ended up as gal pals. Sweet Friends

We had a blast reminiscing on our time together as coworkers, reflecting on where we’ve all ended up after 5 years and passing on bits of advice or wisdom for the new bride to be. This group is a think tank of incredible talent and creativity, and I’m honored to know them as friends. They inspire me to pursue passion and to live with purpose and intentionality. They are all incredibly gifted, funny, smart, witty women.

Kristin and me

Our hostess has been one of my dearest friends for more than 6 years, and though our paths don’t cross as often as we’d like, I’m so glad that it seems as if no time has passed when we do get to see each other. She is a sweet sister who has walked through many of my life’s significant events alongside me, either directly (she was a rockstar at my wedding – she did my hair, helped decorate, accompanied the service, served at the reception, pretty much ran the show) or indirectly through prayer.

After the bridal shower, I spent the afternoon doing housework and getting ready for a night out with my best friend/beloved Mr. Forrest. The Forrest sprouts followed me around as I folded laundry or vacuumed, and though they were an inconvenience or downright annoyance at time, I was thankful to have them near. I snapped this sweet moment of them when I was doing some organizing in their room:

Rae & Roar Read Together

They don’t always get along, but my heart bursts at the seams when they do. I’m thankful our strong girl has overcome the challenges of being the only to being the oldest, and she loves her little brother now as if he’s always been around. He’s recently discovered a feisty streak that’s giving her a run for her money, though. That’s sibling life, though, am I right? (I’m a middle child, so I’m full of sibling angst, but that’s a story for another day.)

Saturday night, my beloved and I got to have a rare night out without the kids, and we put on our converse and went to a late night indie concert like we were teenagers and not 30-somethings married with children.

Converse

Acting young and staying out “late” brought on some nostalgia, but when I hit my pillow at 11 p.m. that night, I was thankful that I’m in this season of life and not the former. I’ll be turning 30 in a few months, and the major word of wisdom 30-year-old Rachel would give to 20-year-old Rachel is this: you’ll like yourself better at 30 than you do at 20. (As an aside: I’m planning to collect some thoughts about this very thing, what 30-year-old me would tell 20-year-old me, so be on the lookout for that post soon.)

 

We saw Kings Kaleidoscope in concert at OBU in Shawnee. They’re a faith-based indie alternative band out of Seattle, and they are ridiculously talented. They build upon the standard bass, drums, guitars and keys by incorporating a variety of sounds into their songs using orchestral instruments and experimental rhythms and accompaniments. They played for about an hour, which would have disappointed me ten years ago, but as an old person I was thankful it ended earlier. If you’re a KK fan, here was their set list for the show:

• Zion • Seek Your Kingdom • Dreams • I Know • Come Thou Fount • Psalm 139 • Redemption in Motion • Felix Culpa • Snippet of “Enchanted” (new song) • In Christ Alone • Be Thou My Vision • How Deep the Father’s Love • All Creatures • Defender •

Of course, since I am a nearly 30 mother of two, I bemoaned how loud the music was and had to leave in the middle of a song for a bathroom break. Also, even though I was rocking the converse like it was 2005, I still had on my mom uniform of a flowy tunic and stretchy pants, because comfort is not to be sacrificed for the sake of being hip at an indie show:

Mom Uniform: Tunic and Stretchy Pants

 

Those are Old Navy’s pixie pant, which I have in about 5 different colors because they are the absolute best. I prefer them to jeans now in my awesome mom bod.

The rest of the weekend was pretty low key. We worshiped with the body of believers Ryan is currently serving in South OKC Sunday morning, and I read/blogged while the rest of the Forrests napped in the afternoon. The next two weeks promise busyness and stress for us as Ryan finishes up his semester and I finish the planning and then host one of the biggest faith-based community events in our city. I’m thankful we had this weekend to enjoy one another and have some downtime as we head into the next couple of weeks.

What did your weekend look like? Did you do anything out of the ordinary, or start reading anything new?

some additional concert pictures….

Mr. and Mrs. Forrest

a selfie on the way to the show, because we cute.

Kings Kaleidoscope

see those guys on the side? they’re harmonizing. swoon.

Kings Kaleidoscope2

it was a great show!

5 Bible Verses to Pray for Your Children

bible verses prayers for children

5 Bible Verses to Pray for Your Children

It’s Friday Five time! On Fridays, I like to share lists of five things about life and/or motherhood. Sometimes it’s fun random stuff, like which fictional characters would be awesome in real life or links + loves from that week. Other times, it’s more meaningful, like today’s post, which is all about prayer.

When you become a parent, your prayer life changes. When you have a newborn, you beg God for just one full night of sleep. When your children become toddlers, you pray for patience and self-control and just one hour of quiet, alone time because their life depends on it. When you’re away from your children, you struggle with fear and worry and you plead for their safety. When you face parenting crises, you fall on your knees for wisdom and grace. Praying gets you through the trenches of parenting, because parenting is hard, but God’s grace abounds in it.

One of my favorite models for prayer is praying scripture back to God. Using this approach has changed my prayers for my children. Using bible verses to guide my prayers allows me to lean into the promises of God and apply them specifically to the lives of my children. Here are 5 bible verses to pray for your children:

  1. Early in life, fill my children with love for you, that they would love you “with all [their] heart and with all [their] soul and with all [their] mind” (Matthew 22:37-40).
  2. Fill them “with the knowledge of [your] will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of [you], fully pleasing to [you], bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10).
  3. Help them to be thankful, “giv[ing] thanks in all circumstances,” and to be content, for “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Thessalonians 5:18; 1 Timothy 6:6).
  4. Grant me wisdom and strength to raise my children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
  5. May the “favor of the Lord our God be upon [them] and establish the work of [their] hands” (Psalm 90:17).

What are some of your favorite bible verses to pray for your children?

3 Books Every Christian Mom Should Read

books mom should read

books mom should readIf you’ve been around the blog for long, you’ll know I love to read. My ideal way to spend an afternoon is curled up with a warm beverage and this month’s book club pick, and I wish my favorite fictional characters could be my real life friends.

As a mom, I tend to have a love/hate relationship with books on motherhood. Often, books written for women/moms can tend to be more fluff and less substance. Since I’m a working mom with two toddlers 3-and-under, time for reading is a prized commodity, and I want to spend my time on something that’s going to be impactful and “meaty.” With that said, there have been a few books about motherhood that have made a lasting impression on me, and to which I return often for a renewed perspective or encouragement. Here are 3 books I think every Christian mom should read:

  1. Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role by Erin Davis. Beyond Bath Time is a great book for new moms. I read this book within the first few months of having my first child, and it helped me to embrace my calling as a mother. When I got pregnant, I struggled with how motherhood would limit my ability to use my gifts and education in a way that would be fulfilling to me. Beyond Bath Time helps moms recognize the importance motherhood plays in the kingdom of God, and it gave me a newfound perspective for seeing my children as my mission field.
  2. Treasuring Christ when Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms by Gloria Furman. I first read Treasuring Christ when we had our second child. If you’re a mom, you know that going from one kid to two is one of the hardest transitions in parenting. Not to mention, our daughter was just turning two years old, so we had two kids 2-and-under. I was in the trenches of diapers, night-time waking, breastfeeding and postpartum depression while also moving with a newborn and a toddler. I was overwhelmed, and Treasuring Christ provided such rich, gospel-centered truth to keep my eyes pointed towards Christ when everything around me felt chaotic. It also helped me to identify my life-verse for motherhood, 2 Corinthians 9:8, And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. Motherhood is a good workand God’s grace abounds to us moms so that we may abound in our mothering. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
  3. Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. If you didn’t know this already, I have a strong-willed kid. She is both a delight and a challenge. After reaching my wits’ end with her one day, I reached out to friends on Facebook for advice and this book was overwhelmingly recommended to me. After reading it myself, I wholeheartedly agree this is a must-read for moms, especially if you have a strong-willed little one.

I am constantly seeking wisdom and grace on this motherhood journey, and these books have been a source of both for me. What books about motherhood have made a big impact on you?