parenting

Parenting: The Calling (Ch. 1)

Posted on June 14, 2017. Filed under: Books, parenting, Parenting: Gospel Principles, personal |

I am currently reading Paul David Tripp’s book called Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles that Can Radically Change Your Family.  It is from a Christian perspective, and though not everyone will agree with all of the advice, here are some of the things I’ve learned from the chapter.

Chapter summary: This chapter was about how parents have an extremely high calling. The chapter begins with this quote:

Principle: Nothing is more important in your life than being one of God’s tools to form a human soul.

This chapter was pretty sobering in its reminder of how important parenting is. It started off by walking us through the stages of a child through little scenarios.

  1. The two year old won’t eat his peas.
  2. The Kindergarten teacher is sending home notes because your kid won’t stop talking.
  3. Your children are misbehaving and making the day extremely difficult to get through.
  4. You’ve just had one of the best conversations with your eleven year old… EVER.
  5. Your pre-teen is embarrassed by you and doesn’t want to be seen with you.
  6. You take your family to a movie, and the fun family comedy has way too many sexual innuendos that you will need to talk about with your kids later.
  7. Your kid moves away to college and doesn’t need your help anymore.
  8. Your child moves home from college while she is looking for a job. You have to find the balance of parenting an adult.
  9. You’re haunted by regret. (This is where I got emotional.) You remember the little promises you didn’t keep, or all the moments of failure.

Tripp points out that all of those little scenarios have one thing in common: they are all about a calling as a parent. He breaks down our calling into two categories: 1) Parents are treasure hunters, and parents are valued spiritually.

His first point about being a treasure hunter is that our choices and decisions are all reflections of our core values. Many things compete for our attention and to be on the “throne” of our hearts; possessions, recreational activities, people, etc. We often get overwhelmed with them and they hold too big of a spot in our life.

“Parents who are too controlled by possessions (houses, cars, lawns, furniture, artwork etc.) tend to be so busy acquiring, maintaining, financing, and protecting their possessions that they have way too little time to invest in their children in the way God intended. Or parents who love possessions too much tend to be so uptight about protecting their possessions that they unwittingly turn their home into an uncomfortable furniture and craft museum that their children are taxed to live in” (Tripp, 2016, p. 26).

Tripp challenges his readers to humbly look at their own lives and identify any areas that might compete with the value of parenting. What gets in the way of giving parenting the importance and value it deserves?

The second point explains how our high calling as parents is about getting to be “a principal, consistent, and faithful tool in his hands for the purpose of creating God-consciousness and God-submission in your children” (p. 30).  Parents get the amazing job of helping their children understand spirituality and pointing them to Jesus.

My take aways– After reading those initial scenarios, I thought to myself, “thank goodness my actual parenting hasn’t started yet.” But when I thought more about it, I realized that it has. I believe that my every day choices are reflective of what my parenting will be like in the future. If parents are truly treasure hunters, then what I value today definitely has consequences on what things I will value down the road.

Photo 2017-05-23, 12 40 28 PMThe ‘regret’ scenario really struck a chord with me.  I don’t want to make it all the way through my life and then look back and wish I had spent more time savouring the little moments. When Adelyn was first born, many people told me to cherish the time because they grow up way too fast. Cliche, I know… but I have actually tried to take that advice to heart. Jim and Pam were given this advice for their wedding, and I have been trying to do the same thing with Adelyn.  I am trying to live in/cherish the moments we are in. As much as possible, I am trying to be present when I am with her.

It has been really interesting entering into this journey of parenting.  When people ask Photo 2017-05-12, 10 16 46 AMme what it’s like to be home with Adelyn, I have a hard time explaining how much I am enjoying it. You see, I am one of those people who has always been GO GO GO. I have been extremely busy and seemingly involved in everything. Being home with Adelyn has caused me to slow right down.  And let me tell you, there is beauty in the rest. I have really enjoyed this slow pace and spending time with my daughter. We work around her schedule and I’m at home A LOT. I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I am.

 

It also makes me happy/excited for my choice to go half time next year.  I know this IMG_2564choice isn’t for everyone. Some would rather be home full time, some would rather go back to work full time… but I’m going to be half time, and I think it was the right choice for me. I am learning that my family needs to come first before my job; I need to practice
making my husband and daughter a priority as I LOVE teaching, and I know it can easily creep in as a higher priority if I let it.

Some people may wonder why incorporating a spiritual worldview while parenting is important. Tripp does a great job of explaining why our role as parents is to help our children see the Creator.

“Your children have the perverse and life-shaping ability to look at the world around them and not see God. They will consistently see the signs (the created world), but they will consistently fail to see what the signs point to (the existence and glory of God). And if you don’t acknowledge God… you will then insert yourself in the middle of your world and make it all about you” (p. 30)

When we make this life about us, we end up living for the unsatisfying flavours of the week. We keep filling our lives with things that we think will make us happy. Often times these things can be good like family, work, career, aspirations, love etc. But they never fully satisfy us. When we shape our worlds around ourselves we end up always needing more because nothing human/earthly can meet these deep needs.  I believe that it is only a spiritual relationship with the Creator that can give us ultimate purpose and joy. When we have that, we can rest and live in a state of gratefulness/contentedness because it is not affected by our shifting circumstances.

What I want for Adelyn is for her to have a steady rock to hold to. I will try my best to teach her to have a spiritual awareness that will outlast her day to day troubles.

Just for fun:

Parenting fail #4- There have been three times when I’ve got home and realized that I forgot to do up Adelyn’s seatbelt in the car. Oops…

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Parenting fail #5- I accidentally took her to her six month check up appointment when she was only five months.  I didn’t tell the doctor/nurses when I realized three minutes in. I just smiled and nodded at all the milestones. Thank goodness she is a big baby. She came out as 97th percentile for six months!

 

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Parenting: Introduction

Posted on April 22, 2017. Filed under: baby, Books, Christian, parenting, Parenting: Gospel Principles |

I am currently reading Paul David Tripp’s book called Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles that Can Radically Change Your Family.  We were given this gift when our daughter was

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Adelyn was dedicated Jan. 15, 2017

dedicated at our church. Now that I’m finished my masters, I actually feel like I have time to read it!  I will start reading some other novels as well, but I figured why not start with a parenting book while she’s young! Not everyone will agree or believe everything this book says, but I thought it would be good for me to blog my way through it and share what I am learning as I go. (Also a great place to post some of the pictures I have of Adelyn just sitting on my phone!)

Currently our daughter is just about 7 months old.  I started reading the book tonight, and though the chapter was already talking about behaviour, sibling fights, sports teams and academics etc. (which don’t apply to our current situation quite yet), I figured there’s no better time to learn about parenting then now. And sure enough! I was already convicted of some things in my heart that I feel I need to work on.

Chapter summary

The Introduction’s main point was that parents can either be ambassadors or owners. Tripp explains this as your worldview about your children; do you believe they are yours to own or is your job to ‘steward’ them as gifts from God?

“Ownership parenting is motivated and shaped by what parents want for their children and from their children. It is driven by a vision of what we want our children to be and what we want our children to give us in return” (Tripp, 2016, p. 14).

This is very similar to the marriage advice he gives in his book, What Did You Expect?
He said that we often use our spouse as vehicles or obstacles to get what we want. It can be the same with our children. It becomes a user/consumer mentality.

His alternative is ambassador parenting.  This is the view that our children are gifts from God and we don’t own them, but we steward them to the best of our ability.

“The only thing an ambassador does, if he’s interested in keeping his job, is to faithfully represent the message, methods, and character of the leader who has sent him” (Tripp, 2016, p. 14).

An ambassador parent’s job would be to try their best to reflect godly principles and messages to their children.

My take-aways

1) My identity does not come from Adelyn. Period.  “Owner parents tend to look to get

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‘Auntie’ Ashley having fun with some Snapchat filters!

their identity, meaning, purpose, and inner sense of well-being from their children” (p. 17). Funny how I used to find myself struggling with getting my identity from my job!  Have a kid, and sure enough… that can be easily replaced by a little one.  Now, I know I can take great JOY in my daughter.  I can love how cute she is, how good she sleeps, how well “behaved” she is when she is tired etc. but this does not, and should not reflect my true worth. The point is, that if my worth comes from her appearance and behaviours, then I will be the most proud parent one minute, and the most discouraged, disappointed parent the next.  It’s the “Saviour” complex.  Looking to Adelyn to have her make or break my day is not a role she was made for.  Ambassador parents are “freed from asking family life to give them life because they have found life and their hearts are at rest” (p. 18).

2) I don’t have to dread Adelyn’s awkward older years. I am a primary teacher for a reason. I love the cuteness of kids ages 3-7. I find them adorable, funny, clever, and their

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Photo credit: Laura Barberis via Flickr

imaginations are magical.  I’m not going to lie, I find 9-13 year olds kind of annoying. I do want to eventually teach that age group as I love that they are getting to be more independent and critical thinkers at that age.  (They also behave way better for their teachers than their parents)… but to be completely honest, I find them awkward and sometimes irritating.  My husband Jon and I have already joked about how those years with kids are going to be terrible.

This chapter totally convicted me of my selfish desire for my child to always be cute and funny for MY selfish wants. Owner parents “struggle with the crazy, zany phases that their children go through as they are growing up. They’re not so much concerned about what that craziness says about their children, but what it says about them” (p. 20). On the other hand, ambassador parents “have come to understand that parenting will expose them to public misunderstanding and embarrassment somehow, someway. They have come to accept the humbling messiness of the job God has called them to do” (p. 20).

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Speaking of messiness…

If I am to honour Adelyn in every way that I can as her parent, I need to allow her to grow into the little human God has called her to be.  I can release her from living up to my expectations, and I can try my best to impart knowledge, grace, and love to her. She is already an awesome baby DESPITE me, not BECAUSE of me. I’m doing my best, but have already had so many parenting fails! I need to remember the truth and strive to be an ambassador parent.

Just for fun share time. I keep track of many of my parenting fails in a note in my phone. It keeps me humble 🙂

Parenting fail #1

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First week of parenting: I thought breastfeeding was going great! I figured she was perfectly latched and that the milk was going, I don’t know, into her mouth?

Parenting fail #2- I spelled her name wrong on the invitation to her church baby shower. Oops!

Many more fails to come! Anything connect or resonate with you? Do you struggle with ownership parenting? Comment below and share your experience!

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Can you use breast milk on your own face?

Posted on April 12, 2017. Filed under: breastfeeding, parenting, personal |

I think these were the exact words I googled about 4 months ago. There wasn’t a lot of info out there, but I did find one girl’s story about using her sister’s breast milk on her face for her acne so I figured I would try it!

When I had my daughter 6 months ago, she basically scratched herself as soon as she

Photo 2016-09-25, 2 35 39 PM

The breast milk used here was colostrum, so it is quite a bit thicker and left a residue.

was out of the womb. The nurses told me to just rub a little breast milk on it, and it will heal the scratch extra fast! Sure enough, they were right! The breast milk made the scratch go away within a day!

But… the magical properties of breast milk didn’t stop there! I kept hearing that breast milk was this magic formula (no pun intended) that heals all a baby’s ailments; eye infections, ear infections, diaper rash, and the list goes on! There was even an article I read that had multiple uses for breast milk. But none of the suggestions mentioned using it on an adult’s face, so I thought, “what the heck! I might as well give it a try!”

Well, what do you know? It works on adults too! Not surprisingly, all the vitamins and health benefits it has for baby’s bodies also works for adults! The first night I tried it, I was starting to get some zits on my face around my chin and on my nose. The girl who’s blog I read put it all over her face and then washed it off, but I figured I would try it as a spot treatment. I usually pump right before bed anyway, so I just used some of the milk left over inside the funnels, and rubbed it on my nose and chin.

I didn’t find the breast milk sticky or weird smelling (which is more than I can say for the kate somerville anti bacKate Somerville anti bac blemish cream I normally used before bed! Man does that stuff stink! My husband literally won’t even kiss me before bed if I’m wearing that stuff!). The breast milk dried quickly and just made the skin feel sort of tight. In the morning, any zits that I thought were appearing the night before had disappeared.

I have used breast milk on my face almost every night since then, and my complexion is probably the best it’s ever been! Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not getting rid of any fine lines or wrinkles or anything, but it really has made a difference with my zits and blemishes!

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No makeup selfie

^ I just took this selfie right now while writing this post. I am not wearing any make-up or foundation. The lighting is from our bedroom window with the blinds closed, so natural light definitely helps, but if you zoom in,  you will be able to see that my complexion is not perfect by any means. BUT, I also don’t have any visible zits I don’t think! I went out like this today, and didn’t feel like I needed to use any cover up.

Now… I know how gross and weird it sounds. I’m even one of those people who is kind of creeped out and scared when people encapsulate their placentas. So I would not consider myself a “granola/hippe” type person who does stuff like this. I am just a new mom who happened to wonder, if breast milk is good for babies and their skin, wouldn’t it work for ours too?

Are you breastfeeding? Go ahead and try it! Let me know if it works for you as well!

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