JUGGLING IT ALL
I've wanted to share what I've learned and experienced as a parent and being on my own.
Here I am today with a 13 and 15 year old.
Raising kids is hard, raising teens is even harder and doing it on your own feels impossible at times. As a single parent you have double the responsibility. Working a full time job, the bills, ,the housework, the grocery shopping, running all the errands. Getting the kids to church. Making sure things get done and fixed.
I've always felt overwhelmed by all I have to do and that if I cant do it all I am less of a person and even less of a parent.
A really good friend of mine made a comment to me recently that has stuck with me and has changed my way of thinking. She is married, working and raising two children. She gives a lot of her time to others and always seems to have everything together. I often think I wish I had it all together like she does. She recently confessed that she didn't get something done that she does every Spring. She told me life got busy and Spring just kinda passed by. She started her garden late.
We were talking about this and she said "You know nobody can do it all and some things just have to give."
I thought about what she said and thought, "Wow", maybe I'm not doing so bad after all, I mean if this person who I look up cant do it all then why do I need to keep torturing myself?
If she can admit she cant do it all then why can't I?
I'm also trying to remind myself why I do what I do. I ask myself if I'm doing the right things by my kids as a parent. I try and teach kindness and patience but I often find I'm losing control and doing everything wrong. I tell myself I'm failing and that I stink as a parent. After all I know nothing about parenting and didn't learn much from my own parents.
Although these thoughts go through my head I remind myself that my kids have attended church since they were born. This was something I promised myself and God I would do. I kept that promise to myself and to God. I couldn't give them everything I've wanted for them, but hopefully the seed was planted to love and follow Christ.
My hope is that they continue to follow Christ and raise their children to follow the Lord.
I have a few friends who are single mothers and it helps to have this support and not feel so alone. We face a lot of the same challenges. Don't get me wrong I know parenting is hard for people who have both parents supporting their kids. I think one of the bigger challenges is that you have no backup to help you parent in the home. Nobody to talk through the challenges with your children. You're left alone to make decisions and you just hope and pray they are the right ones.
In the end I have to remind myself that God is ultimately in control even when things feel out of control.
Why was I chosen to raise my kids this way? I'm not sure I will ever know or understand but what I do know is that as long as I hold onto him even when things suck I will be ok. Is it going to get easier? Someday I hope so. I am also reminded that we don't always get what we want or think we deserve. It can be emotionally discouraging to watch others have the things you dreamt of. Thses things are out of my control. The thing I can do is raise them in the church and hope and pray it stays with them.
There are two things I hope people take away from this whether you are a single parent or not.
1. You don't have to do it all. Do what you can and dont wear yourself out trying to get everything done. Take care of the important stuff like getting your kids to church. Also take care of yourself!
2. I am reminded of this verse often and it is part of the reason I continue to attend church.
"Start children off in the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."
So my words to other parents is even if your struggling as a parent and your kids are making life a challenge, continue to attend church. Plant the seed.
Over the years of attending the church I have seen people leave and then 10 years later they come back with their own children. Again I say..."Start children off in the way they should go and when they are old they will not turn from it."
This is my hope and prayer for you, your children, my children and myself.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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