Being a parent is so different than I imagined. I thought that when I became a mom I would feel so different. That I would feel like a mom. But I honestly still feel like me. It just so happens that I take care of a tiny, sweet girl as part of my life now. And I’m so grateful. It is definitely different than I imagined, but it is also so much better.
I got told a lot of different things about being a mom ever since I was pregnant. From what I was told, I thought I was destined to never sleep again, to only talk about pack-n-plays, strollers and cloth diapers, to only drink cold cups of coffee and to have my life run by a baby. (I don’t want to deny that there is a season of intensity that comes with having a newborn or a sick child. But I also find that despite my mom title, sleep and hot beverages are still available to me, I’m able to talk about all sorts of things and I’m setting boundaries to be healthy. ALL gifts from Jesus!)
I also got told that parenting would change me. And that is partially true. I am changing and being a parent is part of that, but being a parent didn’t change me. Jesus changes me. In this season, parenting is definitely one of the tools he’s using to teach me.
But in the midst of still being me and being changed by Jesus, I can’t help but appreciate things that come out of my mouth that simply had no cause to before. I think the knowledge that it is Jesus who changes me instead of a tiny human frees me to enjoy the silly and the strange, instead of resenting it. And there is a lot of silly and strange.
Here are just a few things that came out of my mouth in the past week, that had no occasion to prior to my mom title:
“There’s an octopus in your bath!”
“We don’t eat books.”
“We don’t lick our boots.”
“We don’t eat soap.”
“We don’t eat carrots after the dog has tried.”
“We don’t touch our poop” or “we don’t stick our hands down our pants to touch our poop” were also two things that came out of my mouth recently. In response, my remorseful daughter (L) seriously shook her head, as if to say, “I will never do that again. I can’t believe I did it in the first place.” But the next day, I caught her little paw down her pants again. Clearly, not as remorseful or mindful as she first appeared.
I had a chance to pick up a copy of Things I’ve Said to My Children and laughed to see that I’m not alone with uttering strange things to my girl. Nathan Ripperger, the author, compiles a series of his own silly and strange sentences to his children (5 boys) combining them with illustrations that add to the humor of the statements.
Here’s a few of my favorites of his:
“Stop eating cake out of the garbage, you already brushed your teeth!”
“We are in a grocery store not a battle arena.
“Superheroes don’t throw fruit.”
“Don’t kiss your brother while he is on the toilet.”
I truly appreciated Nathan’s take on parenting. He seems to have a deep appreciation for the silly and the strange that comes with being a parent and invites the reader to share in it. The book is a short one and didn’t take long to laugh my way through.
I’ll be honest. Sometimes it is easy to laugh at what parenting involves, like those silly things coming out of my mouth, especially when I don’t feel alone and I’m hearing what others say too. But sometimes it is really hard. It can be tremendously hard to reframe my circumstances and believe truth. On the days when my girl is sick AND teething, on the days when I lose track of how much poop I’ve dealt with since I woke up, on the days when there is more discipline than dance parties, I feel Jesus whisper to my heart that I still get to choose. I still get to choose what story I tell myself.
Here’s the story my heart wants. Here’s the story that is true.
Jesus is a good father, a kind Shepherd.
He wants to be part of my daily life.
I was made to need him. It is actually a good thing when I recognize that.
Bad days are not too much for him. He longs to help me be someone who trust him more. He can use those bad days as teaching tools for my heart.
I get to choose. I get to choose how I will respond.
I want to respond in a way that reflects the truth that it is Jesus who changes me, Jesus who loves me, Jesus who gives good gifts, Jesus who knows what I need better than I do.
The mundane has the potential to be transformed into the sacred when I choose to trust and love.
May my heart choose to celebrate the silly & the strange, to trust on the hard days and to let Jesus use the every day to teach my heart to follow him.
* Blogging for Books provided me with a complimentary copy of “Things I’ve Said To My Children” in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255