Becoming a Better Parent (when walking singleness and infertility)

When I was a child I used to write books.... more precisely I wrote a great deal of chapter ones.  Inevitably almost every story involved a "mystery someone" (me), 10 children, and 25 animals.  It was my dream.  What I wanted when I grew up (though I never verbalized it as culturally it was not an acceptable dream).  Needless to say I definitely did not expect to end up on the other side of 25 single, infertile, and animal-less.

That first year after THE doctor's visit I could not bring myself to be around babies, children, or families.  I would last about 5 minutes before bolting out and weeping for hours.  Naturally my first job involved me working with babies, children, and families all day every day.  The first 3 months were hard.  My company's Mother's Day Event arrived and I was starting to crack.  I tried to blend into the wall as the children ran around the gym trying to find the perfect flower for their mom.  All of a sudden I see one of my toddlers running towards me.  I kneel down and he presses the flower into me then turns to his mom and says "Sorry mom she needed this!"  I look to his mom mortified that her son just gave me his Mother's Day flower instead of her.  She walks straight towards me and wraps her arms around me in a knowing embrace.  That moment bonded us.  Over the next several weeks we connected in our brokenness.  Me in a future seemingly empty of a family and her in the inability to have any more children.

I then recalled the wise words someone shared with me in college.  She told me that if I wanted to learn how to parent, family, and relationship "normally" then I should spend as much time as possible around families who excelled at those things.  In my attempt to alleviate pain by avoiding children and families I was missing out on valuable learning opportunities.  I may not be in a season of parenting now, but I believe that one day I will be so in the meantime there are things I can do to prepare.

1.  Deal with Brokenness Head-on: Chances are if you are human you have some brokenness to deal with.  In order to be emotional healthy you are going to have to deal with it one day.  Do it now! If you have the opportunity go see a counselor GO (if the first counselor you visit doesn't seem like a good fit try another!).  And of course the Holy Spirit is the best counselor of them all. 

2. Stand with Experts: I heard Jo Saxton speak about discipleship recently and she said "You need to stand at someone's shoulder to learn to navigate the world."  Find people who you want to be like and see if you can spend time with them as they live out the mundane.  I've learned more about parenting washing dishes at someone else's sink then I have anywhere else.  I work with 3 toddlers and every day I find myself (without thinking) saying and doing the things that I have seen modeled by others!

3. Read. Read. Read.  I take time now to read parenting books and blogs because I have seen (see 2) how busy life is with children in the mix (and I like to prepare).  Just today I read this post by one of my favorite blogger's Natasha Metzler.  I love what her family is doing so I filed the post away and maybe one day I will use it's wisdom.  My favorite book right now is Safe House: How Emotional Safety is the Key to Raising Kids Who Live Love and Lead Well.  So much good information!

Now I know that I will never be fully prepared, but I hope that by pursuing growth in this season I will have a stronger foundation on which to build the next season.  And many days it is hard.  And many days I still question why, but I know there is hope and truth in him.

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