Friday, 23 April 2010

God told them, "I've never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love! Jeremiah 31:3 (The Message)

If you have ever rocked a baby in the stillness of the night, then got up in the morning exhausted from lack of sleep, you know how difficult parenting can be and also what joy your child can bring. If you have ever cuddled up to your baby and had that very same sweet smelling baby throw up on your clean shirt, you know how frustrated you can feel at the same time as your heart wells up with overwhelming love. If you have ever resented spending your hard earned money on piano, tennis, swimming or ballet lessons that seem taken for granted, then watched with pride your child’s sense of achievement, you know the difficult journey you face and the rewards it will bring.

As they grow they seem to challenge you at every turn – they no longer accept your guidance unquestioningly, but seem to disagree with every word you utter, then when you are sure you are going mad, out of the blue they make an observation, see a new angle, or put a new twist on things, and you marvel at the brilliance of their perspective.

No one ever said parenting would be easy. Parenting means giving unselfishly when you are exhausted. It means buying your children new shoes while you go without. It means running them around everywhere. It means staying up late and not being able to lie in. It means sharing everything – even when you didn’t know you were sharing it! It means loving unconditionally.

Although parenting is perhaps the most important calling, it is the least taught in our culture. These small people turn up in our lives and we are expected to know how to look after them and raise them by osmosis. Never feel ashamed to ask for help, we are all in the same boat – child not sleeping, potty training, clingy child, the list is endless. Talk to other parents or read books on parenting and child development, try the Barney’s Toddler Group library. If you are stumped look for a parenting course to attend, there are some around. We have run them at St B’s before and are happy to do them again.

Just remember, you are not alone, every parent has/is been there and has/is wearing the T shirt. Mine says “Fifteen years experience, surviving, no expert, but please ask me I would love to try and help”.

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