Monday, August 25, 2008

Tell Me Tuesday- Expectations

A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a mocker refuses to listen to correction.
Proverbs 13:1

I remember back in the day... before my firstborn arrived, before I knew anything, before I realized I know nothing... I would stare at my big ol' pregnant belly and dream and dream about the day that I would become a mother. I had millions of lofty expectations, about how I would raise my boy without spanking, screaming, or spoiling. He would never even pretend to shoot guns, he would never eat sugar, and he would never have unkempt hair. I would always take time to wear makeup when I went out, I'd make my own baby food, and even a trip to the grocery store would be a learning experience.

*fellow parents, join me in the eyeroll and mocking of the young and dumb*


I'm working on a message I'll be teaching at a parenting conference. I want to talk to parents about expectations- so I'd love your help. Tell me: Is parenting everything you thought it would be? Are you the parent you imagined you would become? Are your kids who you dreamed? Is your family everything you thought it would be?


IdahoAngie said...

I'll tell you this. I took classes. I did all I could to prepare for parenthood. Well let me tell you what. Not one thing in those classes or books or advice I was given has EVER been used. It was a big waste of time. I had to learn and am still learning that there is no class or book or advice that can help or prepare you to be a parent. Child development classes are for sure the biggest joke on the face of this earth. And there is no preset perfect way to raise your children because each child is different and needs different rules, discipline, love, etc. The one thing that does drive me nuts though is people who have never had kids or never raised their kids telling people who actually have and care for their kids how to raise them. Is there anything specific you are looking for? If so let me know I am sure I can think of something.

Tracy said...

It IS similar to what I thought it would be. Except I'm much more tired than I ever imagined.

You know, I love babies, and toddlers, and would take many more if the Lord allowed it to happen, but the older my children get, the more I enjoy them. I truly love being surrounded by these human beings who have my beliefs, but with a twist of their own.

Jenster said...

I'll have to get back to you on this. I can say one thing for certain, though. I'm much dumber than I thought I was before I had children! lol

Beck said...

Is parenting everything you thought it would be?
Yes, although I was surprised by how intensely I felt about my kids.

Are you the parent you imagined you would become?
I'm a much better parent than I thought I'd be, in most practical ways, actually.

Are your kids who you dreamed?
That's a tricky question - my kids are NOW who I thought they'd be, although I struggled with a type of disappointment for the first couple of years.

Is your family everything you thought it would be?

Gretchen said...

Is parenting everything you thought it would be?'s bigger. Bigger love, bigger guilt, bigger responsibility, bigger love. Oh, i said that already. It's true.

Are you the parent you imagined you would become?

Yes and no. I'm evolving as much as my children, and I hadn't expected that. Parenting is such a refining process if we allow it to be. Of course refinement brings pain and loss of control. So, it's scary. And, parenting definitely feels for me like i'm going w/o a net--except for God, who will love, forgive, and protect me and the kids anyway.

Are your kids who you dreamed?

Yes and no. I dreamed that we'd all love each other and they'd respect me and I'd train them. But again, it's bigger than my dreams. God made them. God has a path laid out for them. God is using me to steward them, but He didn't have to. The more I let Him do His thing and let my kids find who they are without my harping or influence, the more they become better than any dream I could have.

Is your family everything you thought it would be? No. It's more and less. More because 3 of the 4 of us have strong faith in God and are growing in Christ. Less because I thought all four of us would be going to church together. However, I'm learning day by day that this life is the one I was purposed to have, regardless of my thoughts on the matter.

Great questions, HG. I'm sure your training will be the bomb.

Halfmoon Girl said...

Gretchen had a great comment here. My children were going to be intrinsically motivated to do everything, just because it would feel good to do the right thing- I even wrote a paper on that way of raising children- in college...before I had children. NOW, I use many systems of external motivation, like consequences, rewards, and sometimes bugging my eyes out and turning purple with frustration. NOW, I am not such a fount of wisdom. I truly used to believe that if I raised my children really well in their first 5 years, their attitudes would only need a check up now and then...

Becky said...

Actually, aside from the fact that we're a loving and close-knit family, nothing else has turned out as I thought it would. I envisioned myself as the mom of a houseful of girls. I got boys. I also envisioned myself as having been more financially set before having kids. Both boys were 'surprises', the first coming when we were really hard-up financially speaking...and taught us to trust the Lord early on.

The Lord, the author and finisher of our faith, knew what was best for us all...Jeff and I and our boys. He knew that having boys would grow and develop character in all of us...stretching us in ways we might have resisted otherwise, but flowed out of our job as parents.

I think it was Dennis Rainey (FLT radio) who said, "Parenting was designed by God to drive us to our knees". It's done that for us! I don't know how folks can get through this job without Him giving them wisdom and guidance along the way, because I know I'm so prone to mistakes. Any good or redeeming qualities in our kids are a direct result of the Lord's work in their lives...though I'm thrilled to be the instrument He chose to use as the mom in their lives.

It's hard though...being like Hannah. Giving the kids 'back' to the Lord these little one's He entrusted to our care all these years.

Becoming Me said...

Nothing prepared me for the horror of sleep deprivation and then postpartum depression. So many of my dreams were shattered. Yet, I do find the beauty in motherhood. Honestly, I did not enjoy motherhood until my daughter turned 4.I loved her...I loved her baby brother...but I really struggled with finding joy in the day to day until recently.

Fran said...

I could go on and on about this one...but lets just say that what you expect probably won't happen and what does happen will be well worth the dissapointment!!

Make sense???

I think we should be honest when people ask us about seasons of parenting but full of so much encouragement too.

And somehow manage to tell them that time truly does go by so fast.
Praise Him even when the kid has been up for 7 nights straight! :)

Love ya,

Sing4joy said...

My mother gave me a refrigerator magnet that says, "Raising children is like being pecked to death by chickens." Why would she give me that?? I am not even close to the parent I thought I would be, although I AM close the baseball team of children I thought I would have. I am not nearly as patient, nor ethereal as I thought I would be. And combing my hair takes low low priority over 20 minutes more of sleep. I CAN say however that now that I have been doing this for a long time, I can see some of the fruits of my/my husbands/God's labors and that it is very rewarding and exciting to see what my children are becoming.

Alana said...

Wow. That is one loaded question. I have one friend whose is always saying "low expectations". In other words, whatever the situation, lower your expectations so you won't be disappointed when the photo session doesn't turn out perfect or the family vacation isn't all it's cracked up to be. I think it is great advice.

Love what idahoangie had to say about the books. It took me awhile, but I realized the books were hurting me more than they were helping least at first. They can make a new momma C.R.A.Z.Y.

I'll have to think some more and get back to you if I come up with anything else!

ibdawnk said...

Well, I am not nearly as sunny as some of your readers I guess...but here goes.
It is not what I thought it would be. It seems like right now I can't go to the doctor, dentist, psychologist, teacher, etc...without coming home with another report that someone has a new issue or an old one that we need to do something else with.
It's so much harder than I thought it could be.
I love my kids and am so happy to be a mommy but I really can't say that anything is like I thought it might be. But who can imagine 5 kids all within 4 years of each other?
Just saying it out loud makes me tired. :)
But, then it's been a hard day today too so who knows maybe tomorrow i will answer your question differently.
I do use the classes and things that I took in college on a daily basis around here though. Maybe it's because of my "special needs" kiddos that i need to call on that stuff but I really do think they helped prepare me at least in part. What it does not prepare me for was the emotions of it all. That you can't learn, just experience!!
Are my kids what I dreamed? No, They are different than my dreams. I could not have dreamed of such good hearted children with such unique and wonderful talents but I also did not have in my dreams ADD, Aspergers, FAS, Emotional trauma, RAD, etc.. those are not the things a mommy's dreams are made of.
Man am I cup half empty tonight or WHAT???

Gayle @ thewestiecrew said...

No. No. No and NO.

My expectations were so lofty, like yours, but reality is that parenting/homeschooling has been the most widely used pruning tool that God has in my life.

However, I'm so glad He has.

Scrapper Mom said...

Wow, I read this post earlier today and declined to answer those questions at the time. I've since thought about it, and still am no more ready, but here I go anyway.

I don't want to sugar coat anything. Parenting is hard. Yes, the older your kids, the harder.

Some days I think I'm a great parent. Other days, when I find myself in the middle of a yelling match with either child, I wonder. Why am I screaming back just like I am one of them? But I do.

And often I second guess myself. I get accused of being too strict, too protective, over bearing, nosy. Comments from my kids like this sting, but it does make me is all true?

I love my kids more than life itself. That is a fact and nothing they could ever do would change that. BUT...are they all I ever imagined? With the teenager...we have had quite a wild ride over the past 18 years. Grades have been a constant battle, poor organizational skills, laziness, being irresponsible, and being disrespectful. I know those are all part of growing up..but I CANT STAND ANY OF THESE! And there are days he is the sweetest thing with hugs galore (we have had a 5 second rule b/c he will hang on you for ever if we didn't) So, I wonder. Was it my parenting that makes him do the above? I don't know. You tell me. And really, he is a good parties, no drinking, no smoking, cursing, etc.... you know the normal worry factors. Truly, I am blessed.

And the daughter, she is the more sentimental, loving child, but boy can she argue and yell with the best of them. And forgetful, add that to her list. Is that genetic, bc what are the chances both of my kids would be irresponsible and forgetful.

And you asked is my family all I hoped it would be? My answer would have to be no. If it were ideal, my kids would never have these issues, they would never argue (which is constant)and my husband and I would get along great. That is a fairy tale as far as I'm concerned.

I want everyone to know, that I am happy though. I know that despite all of our flaws, I love them, and they love me, and we love each other, and we all love God.. So, we're good. K? Please know that.

Really, we're good.

Does that help?

Jenster said...

Okay. I've thought a little more about it so here I go. And keep in mind, I only have two.

Is parenting everything you thought it would be?

Growing up I thought I had the best parents in the world. I still pretty much do. They made it look so easy. But I also saw when it was hard (I was 5 when my parents started down the two teenage girl path) so I don't think I had unrealistic expectations. Bottom line - I always knew, no matter how disappointed or angry my parents were, they loved me. To me that was the most important thing. I know I've made plenty of mistakes, but the one thing I've done well is make sure my kids know beyond the tiniest sliver of a doubt is that I love them and nothing they can do will ever, ever change that. And let me tell you, that covers a multitude of bad parenting decisions! So to answer the question, I haven't been terribly surprised by parenting. I think I had it modeled so well for me that I didn't have unrealistic expectations.

Are you the parent you imagined you would become?

Sometimes yes and sometimes no. I did think I'd be more patient than I turned out to be. And looking back I don't think I spent as much time doing as many crafty-type things and playing games with them as I thought I would. In some ways, however, I've been a better parent then I thought I would. God played a very small part of my life before kids, but a HUGE part after kids. And now I have two teenagers and I have really good relationships with them and that, frankly, ROCKS!

Are your kids who you dreamed?

That's a tough one. I don't think they were, actually. I wanted my son to be a ball player and my daughter to be a ballerina. But I think I've caught on to THEIR dreams and now they're exactly who they're supposed to be.

Is your family everything you thought it would be?

Yes and no. Yes because I always thought I'd have the kind of family I had growing up. And I pretty much do. No because I see our time with the kids quickly coming to an end and there are so many things I wish we'd done as a family and I know we can't cram it all in before they're off to college.

I would just like to add something here. From the time you find out you're going to be a parent you hear things like, "Enjoy them when they're small because you won't enjoy them when they're teenagers," and that sort of thing. I strenuously disagree. I love having teenagers. I don't necessarily love some of the issues and some of the attitudes, but mostly they're fun and enjoyable and I love the people they're becoming. Now we're not out of the woods by any means, but so far I've enjoyed the ride.

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

Parenting is much tougher than I thought it would be. I keep expecting things to get easier; but for every aspect of the job that becomes less difficult, another steps into its place. Also, like many other commenters, I never expected to feel as deeply as I do.

I'm not the parent I thought I would be...I'm much less patient & fun. My husband far exceeded my expectations of him. He's a much better parent than I.

Is my daughter (almost 10) who I dreamed? In some ways, yes; and in others, no. I have a problem with heaping my own expectations on her instead of appreciating her for the unique girl she is. She's a combination of me & her dad...much more him than me, which is probably a good thing.

Is my family what I hoped for?'s much more. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness in that regard.

Joan said...

I remember (being pregnant with my second baby) praying to God that my two children would love each other and get along. (My brother and I fought all the time and our relationship isn't that close.) I wanted peace in my home and I wanted them to share a speacial relationship and to be there for each other.

God answered my prayers. I have two girls 16 & 13 and I am amazed at how well they get along even now. They loved each other from the start. The older always looking out for the younger. The younger always looking up to the older. They are so different and yet they like spending time together. They hug. They laugh. They give each other space when the other isn't in a good mood. They love the Lord. It truely makes my life happy to watch them grow. I thank God for them everyday.

Tina said...

That is awesome.
I am so not the parent I thought I would be...nor am I the parent I used to be. Now, my kids are 21, 19, 17, and 9. I constantly hear the older ones saying about the 9 year old "We didn't get to do that".

Life has become no big deal in some ways, and yet so fragile in other ways... I parent differently today than I did 20 years ago. Thank God.

chickadee said...

i thought parenting would be more about the kids, what i did for them, how i did it. but more and more i think the parenting is more for me. god used my kids to open me up. i don't think i ever loved my neighbor as myself until i had kids.

Suzanne said...

Is parenting everything you thought it would be?

I agree with Gretchen that it's way bigger in so many ways.

Are you the parent you imagined you would become?

Well I started out thinking I could do it perfectly, so umm, no.

Are your kids who you dreamed?

That and so much more.

Is your family everything you thought it would be?

It pretty much is. I have everything in a family that I thought I would. It's just wayyyyy more work than I thought it would be.

PJ said...

Love the responses. I'm falling asleep...I'll come back, hopefully not too late for your class. :)

Jenn said...

A little late but I will chime in..
Is parenting everything you thought it would be?

Some girls dreamed of being a teacher - I wanted to be a mommy. It is more that I ever imagined, scary in the fact that I am molding this person and what if I screw them up but then amazing in the fact that God is with me all the way.

Are you the parent you imagined you would become?

I thought I would be more crafty with my kids but to be honest I envisioned girls with maybe a boy thrown in. My boys aren't into coloring and crafts. I thought I would never turn on the tv - but sadly we do. I also thought I would never raise my voice or spank but can't say I have followed through with that.

Are your kids who you dreamed?

I said earlier I dream of girls because I was afraid of boys because I am a girlie girl. But I would not trade my boys for anything. My desire for them is that they are all men after God's heart. I also want to raise little gentlemen who treat women with respect and are chivalrous.

Is your family everything you thought it would be?

Mostly but I wish in stressful situations things did not get so stressful. Does that make sense? I love the fact that we are so close, enjoy spending time together and love to laugh.

God's Girl said...

Parenting is so much better than I thought it would be. I'm an older parent (by God's choice, not mine) but I absolutely love it. Prior to being a mommy, I was a Children's Ministry Director for 13 years. God saw fit to prepare me and to teach me. Thank you Lord.
I have less energy than I would like but I still say it is the best. I wish I was younger so I could have more kids.

Nice to talk with you His Girl... I'm God's Girl. Maybe we'll meet again...

all for Jesus,