Ode To Parenting

Parenting by Kay Dee (@i.am.kaydee)

Parenting is never boring! It’s the adventure that keeps on giving (even sometimes when you wish it wouldn’t. Lol.)  And if we’re receptive (have open hearts) we can learn so much from the experience.

Children, no matter the age, have this uncanny way of causing us to face ourselves…a humbling experience I assure you. They also have the ability to draw out of us a love so deep and so strong that the intensity of that love often surprises us.

Although there are a multitude of resources available on the subject of parenting, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for being the perfect parent. You will make mistakes. It’s just a fact. But, you will also do many things right. You will learn many lessons as a parent, so, be open to the process.  In parenting, you will learn to rediscover through your child’s eyes the innocence, the awe and the wonder of this world. You’ll also find that there are often times you have to:  eat our own words, apologize, be firm (though you may want to do the opposite), let go (as they grow), be supportive (even when you don’t agree), and spend thankless hours cooking, cleaning, driving (chauffeuring), nursing sickness, consoling hurt feelings or broken hearts, and so much more.  You will at times be too hard on your kids, and at times too soft (enabling).  It takes a while to find a balance.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  At times, you will be underappreciated and overly stressed. You’ll wonder how you will make it through certain situations, but, hang in there.  Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.

In their teen years, you may wonder what ‘alien being’ snatched your little love muffin and replaced them with a ‘meany-pants’ that you may often want to run and tackle for being mouthy or attitudinal. In these years you will re-learn what it is to love them unconditionally.  They will need that love (even if they act like they don’t). I promise your love muffin will return…but it will take some time, so, hunker down and gather reinforcements (i.e. other parents who can relate, fun hobbies to reduce stress, counseling, etc.) as you weather the teen years.  If you are fortunate enough to have an uncommonly pleasant teen, count your blessings and know that is not the norm. Lol. Teen years are an onslaught of hormones they’re trying to figure out how to manage, plus they’re learning how to assert their independence.  This is the season when much negotiating will go on.  Stand firm on some things, be more lenient on others.  Pick your battles.  Slowly begin to allow them to be independent people to begin to prepare them for young adulthood.

Lastly, sometimes there will be hurt or offense or misunderstanding between you and your children during this parenting journey.  But, there will also be opportunities to mend fences, apologize, talk, heal.  Take those opportunities! Do not let them pass by.  Your children will need you differently at different phases of their lives, but, they still need you.  Here’s to parenthood.  Much love!

~ Kay Dee

copyright 2018, ‘Ode to Parenting’ by Kay Dee for Life Together with Kaydee / and @i.am.kaydee IG

images: pixabay

I’m In Awe

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I’m so in awe.
Why?
Well, I’ll tell you.
I know everyone who reads this doesn’t necessarily have the same outlook or beliefs and that’s okay.
But, here’s my story…

I’m continually in awe of God. It never fails in my life that God does something awesome at the exact time that I need it.
A long while ago, I spoke of a cleaning person who works at my place of employment. I should say – a cleaning person cleverly disguised as an encourager. What she had to say to me today, I needed to hear. You see, I’ve been having some tough personal times. (i.e. Single mom raising teens. ‘Nuff said.) My personal faith is Christian. I don’t try to force it on anyone. But, I like to tell my life experiences in hopes that I can help or encourage someone else.

Anywho, as any parent, I want the best for my kids. Funny thing is…when you’re a kid, you think you know it all. Do you remember thinking that you were invincible? Yep, that was me. Do you remember thinking that your parents didn’t know squat? Yep, me. Do you remember being a “jive turkey” (as my grandpa used to say) when you were so full of yourself and needed taking down a peg or two? Yep, I remember. Then at some point in your late teens, early 20’s your brain returns to you and you realize you were being a jerk most of the time without even realizing it. You just thought you were “normal”.  You then begin to appreciate and respect your parents. THEN one day in the future….(insert scary music)…you become a parent yourself and when talking to your kids, you’re like “OMG I sound like my mother/father/grandma (whomever raised you)”. You have this epiphany when you realize via your own kids’ behavior, how you must’ve treated your own parents. Yuuup…since becoming a parent I’ve called my mom and apologized a few times. She laughed this laugh as if to say, “Now you understand.” Indeed. Now I understand. And the teen years… are their own animal. Period.

During the teen years your kids are trying to figure out who they are, assert independence and break from the mold, all the while with hormones making their moods change constantly. The mood swings are … yowzers! At this phase, as a parent, you often feel as though you’re trying to navigate a mine field with a blindfold on. You want your kids to grow up to become good citizens, responsible adults and all around good people who make good choices. The reality, I’m finding is that, unless you have the uncommonly “golden” child, you WILL go through some twists and turns as you’re trying to help your child make it through the unstable land of teen-ville to the hopefully more steady land of young adult-ville.

Mistakes will be made on both sides. It’s inevitable. And I’m learning that as your children make mistakes, you need to learn to let them take responsibility for the consequences. I’m also learning that as a parent, you can teach your children all of the “right” things to do, but, that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily do them. And it’s not necessarily a reflection on you as a parent.

Good times, right?

Well, how does the cleaning person fit into this story? Glad you asked. As I sat at my desk while on a break at work, reading a parenting book, I was thinking about how to help one of my children with a particular issue. I then decided I needed a break from my desk and proceeded to the break room. Who was in there? The sweet lady who happens to clean our building. I asked how she was doing and she said she was doing fine. Her facial expression seemed to differ from her verbal answer. So, I asked again. She said to me, “I’m fine” with a little smile. And she proceeded to tell me that she was learning to live a focused life for God and release the things that she couldn’t control. There were some trying times she’d had to go through, but, with God’s help she made it through the various hurdles. As a result, she was learning to NOT allow people’s actions or speech to dictate her outlook or mood, nor to get her all flustered and distracted. She told me “you cannot control other people’s actions, decisions or behaviors.” It’s out of your hands. But you can control your own. And she was/is choosing to remain focused on what she believes is her life’s mission, to minister life & encouragement to other people for God.

How does this relate to me? Well, as I’ve been parenting my teenage children, I’ve gone through a gamut of emotions and situations. I’ve wanted, to a large degree, to control the outcome of my kids’ growth and “make” them into model citizens and good people, to protect them from mistakes and help them make the right decisions MOST of the time. But…that’s not how real life works. In real life, you go through hard times. You go through challenging situations. You watch your kids do stupid things. You also watch them make good choices sometimes. But, life is unpredictable. People are unpredictable. And no matter how much you love and guide and direct your children, you cannot control the outcome of their lives, nor the choices they make. Speaking with the cleaning person at my job, helped me to remember that God is in control. I don’t have to worry about every trouble or disappointment where my kids are concerned. I will parent them to the best of my ability and as far as the rest, I will attempt to “remain focused” on the fact that I’m doing the best I know to do and being the best parent I know how to be. I will try not take it personally when my children do something that’s not-the-best. I cannot control these individual human beings. I can only guide them and instruct them…and of course, love them. For the rest, I leave in God’s hands and rest in the peace He gives. He is watching over them.

© 2014 KD Corner / KD – “I’m In Awe”

photo credit – blogs.webtrends.com