This past week I mourned the loss of my 96-year-old grandpa. I also praised God for what a great man he was. And I rejoiced in the reality that he is home with Jesus.
I asked my mom what her growing up, home-life experience was like. And her answer was mostly ordinary. Her mom worked and so did her dad. They had boarders staying at their house all the time so she was in charge of all the cooking. Her parents were frugal, hard-working people.
They made spur-of-the-moment discipline choices without fear of consistency. They spent time with each other when time allowed for it. Special moments were not planned or contrived, they just happened. Mothers didn’t get together and
one-up-each other, I mean talk about subjects like philosophy of parenting, bottle vs boob, immunizations, juice or no-juice and anything else currently hot-button you can think of.
There was no money for, or need, to get professionally stylized photo’s of the family every six months (but that might just be because there was no Facebook to upload them to). And they just did life; not really caring what their neighbor down the street thought about it. They were making ends meet and getting things done and just living.
And there was absolutely nothing intentional about their parenting.
My mom told me the whole intentional parenting movement didn’t come till later with Dobson and FamilyLife. Books upon books upon books were written and opinions became “christian” laws. Before then, parents just applied Biblical principles to there lives and the family without wondering how the Jones’s were doing it too.
Something about that seems awfully nice. Doesn’t it?
They were by the very definition, extremely average people. Nothing about the way they lived was extraordinary.
Our generation isn’t like that, are we? We kinda want to be special because we like to be praised. I like to be praised. Whether it be our perfectly kept home or our genius and well-behaved kids. Our picture-worthy meals or our selfless volunteer work. Birthday parties for our kids must garner amazement and everyone must know how dedicated to our kids we are all the time. All of which needs to be uploaded to instagram for the world to see.
We want to be the best at this parenting thing, or heck, at life. Even though we all feel like we’re failing at it. But we only feel like we’re failing because someone just uploaded an adorable family portrait taken on a gorgeous mountain top during a family hike, and now we feel inferior.
We fight with each other and exhaust ourselves with the secondary issues of parenting, instead of focusing on the stuff the Bible does talk about.
I know my grandparents generation was by no means perfect and they could probably have used a little more intentionality in there parenting. And I don’t doubt there was still gossip, slander and judgement between friends and neighbors as sin has no generational bounds. But I imagine the scale was not nearly as far-reaching as our current on-line culture. And somehow without all that calculated parenting, all four of my grandparents kids became Christians and went on to be fairly normal people.
I’m not here to romanticize the past or suggest that we can fully go back, because we can’t.
I’m also not anti-parenting books, or Dobson or FamilyLife or even intentional-parenting. But let me tell you what I am absolutely anti, with a capital A. I am anti-having an aggressive opinion on what everyone else is doing!
I genuinely don’t have an opinion about how many kids you have. You could aspire to be just like the Duggar’s and I would say, bless you on your quest. In fact that family doesn’t shock me at all. At the same time, if you end your child-rearing with one, I will not belittle your motherhood as though you are less-of-a-mama as Mrs. Duggar.
Do whatever you want! Believe it or not, there is no magical number on how many kids is the right amount.
Here’s another thing I have no opinion on…what food you feed your kids. Formula or breast? Don’t care. Gold fish or gluten-free snacks from Trader Joes? Still, don’t care.
Another thing? I don’t care if you put your kid in a public or private school or you homeschool your kid. I also have no opinion on whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom.
Also? I don’t care if your dinners involve a lot of food that live in the freezer or you hand make all your butter, bread, sauces and such. Because it really is none of my bee’s wax.
And I invite you to not care about those completely mundane decisions my husband and I must make also.
As you might be able to tell…….I’m out.
If being intentional means over-thinking, second guessing, guilt-baring, people pleasing parenting and all-around doing life, then this lady has left the room. Because I’ve just seen there is a man behind the curtain!
So, why don’t you grab my hand and leave with me. And let’s go get our joy back.