My eldest daughter has turned 10! I can barely believe it, one decade of being a parent and what a journey it has been. From the sleepless nights and explosive nappies, to the first words, steps and days of school. It has been an incredible roller coaster ride, the best of my life.
I am very mindful that my parenting expertise are far from complete, I have yet to traverse any of the teenage years, which I am sure will give me a whole new artillery of parenting skills. Although I am not by any means perfect, I have learnt some life changing lessons that have helped me navigate this incredible entrustment of parenthood.
Lessons I have learnt:
- Be kind to yourself
I have found myself at times feeling completely overwhelmed and out of my depth. There were days when I lost my temper, forgot the kids dress up day at kinder, didn’t bake anything for the end of year celebration and numerous times I ran out of bread and milk in the morning so there was no breakfast. There are moments when I was really hard on myself, I felt like a failure and worried that I wasn’t enough. However through the years I have realised that none of these mistakes matter to kids, they understand mistakes they make a lot of them. All they need from us is to be loved, accepted and championed. I early on apologised to my kids when I made mistakes. I try to show them I am not perfect but I want to be better. I am intentional in not getting caught up in comparison with other mums, I am just committed to doing the best with what I have been given and ensuring above all my kids know they are loved unconditionally.
- Determine to keep growing
I am very mindful that I have not arrived as a parent and I am committed to make sure that I keep growing. Personal Leadership encompasses so much but I believe that part of this should be the motivation to be a great parent. The next generation have to deal with issues and situations that we never could have imagined and they need us to equip and empower them to face society and all its complexities and not bow but stand tall. This is going to require Gods wisdom and grace for us to prepare our kids for what’s ahead and I more than ever have seen the need to be intentional with this. We need to determine to keep getting better. We might not be where we want to be but we can keep growing in our roles as parents.
- Show your kids the journey
One of the greatest gifts our kids can have is watching their parents fulfil the calling and dreams of their heart. Being a pastor and preaching was always something I felt called to but was the thing I was most terrified of. My kids have seen me receive emails telling me I am preaching and me getting nervous but they have also seen me work really hard to be ready and then get up in Gods grace and face my fears. I have always been a big believer in making sure my kids don’t think that stepping out into your calling is easy, that you are born ready, it requires facing fears and embracing the stretch. I pray one day when they are about to step out, when they feel scared or fearful they will look back and remember me. That they would say,’ If mum could do it, so can I.’ So don’t hold back, run the race before you and as we do this I believe we will see the next generation do the same and go even further.
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.