It seems all of a sudden that so many of our friends are trying to have babies, having babies, wanting babies, raising babies and the like.
Tommy and I have always been passionate and serious about our parenting journey, not that we’ve done it all right, but two out of our three are almost “done” and they are pretty great kids. One is still ”cooking” and we think she’s turning out alright too! We have a 19, 17 and 11 yr old. We’ve been through broken bones, broken hearts, post pardum depression, sheer exhaustion, sheer joy, weening them off of chicken nuggets and french fries, insane extra curricular activity schedules, sleeping through the night, pulling teeth, rolling of the eyes, artistic expressions, nervous school days, terrible two’s, teenage years, loud music, pet grossness, sibling rivalry, leaving for college, moving across the world, medical hardships, overbearing parent speeches, parenting conflicts on how things should be done and everything that goes along with normal life and how that affects the raising of our children.
So, we’ve offered advice to a few new parents over the last few years, some at their request and some got it whether they wanted it or not. I’ve recently had the opportunity to compile and share some of our best parenting tips/advice with a few new mommies. As I compiled this info, I thought that it would be appropriate to “store” it on the blog. It’s much easier to send a link to someone than to recreate the information. Not lazy. Effiicient!! Here again is a great parenting tip. Don’t be lazy. Efficiency is quite ok, though.
If I had only two seconds to offer you our best parenting advice, it would be this:
Look to Christ!
And I could end the blog there and that would be good enough. Really! We didn’t always but we did it enough to where it seriously paid off. We all see examples of kids who turn out quite well without Christ being in their lives, living productive and responsible lives and often doing much good around the world, but I just can’t help think it can’t be as good without Him.
I also happen to think that God puts invaluable information in the hearts and hands of other human beings and we can all benefit from that so here is what I’ve put together recently. Take it or leave it. Chew on it. Spit it out. Disagree. Agree. Make it your own. Adapt it to fit your family. Whatever. It’s our information that I’m giving to you and you can choose to read it or not and do with it what you will.
It’s not everything that is important but it’s a place to start. Put in the hard work. Lazy parenting has a pretty good chance of producing lazy kids. I’m not judgin’. I’m just sayin’.
Here it is. Depending on the age of your children, some of the resources you won’t need right away but we absolutely love and HIGHLY recommend the two resources on sexual purity. They have been an invaluable resource for us as our kids became ready for them.
For the logistics of parenting, we used (and made our own adaptations) Baby Wise. I loved it because it fits my more structured personaltiy, but you have to take what works for you and leave out what doesn’t.
Resources for Sexual Purity:
Passport To Purity, Dennis & Barbara Rainey (www.familylife.com)
Grace Based Parenting, Tim Kimmel
Raising Kids Who Turn Out Right, Tim Kimmel
Different Kids Different Needs, Dr. Charles F. Boyd
Regarding keeping your marriage healthy when parenting, the best thing you can do for your marriage is to always make sure your marriage comes first. Well, right after your relationship with Christ, of course. Date night, praying together, playing together and laughing together are crucial. Also a healthy understanding that “this too shall pass” or our famous “this TWO shall pass” and that you will one day not have kids in your home and you cannot neglect your relationship with each other or you will have nothing in common when they’re gone. Depending on their age, there will likely be wailing and gnashing of teeth when you leave for date night or focus on each other without them in the picture but they will be so much healthier for it. They’ll be utterly grossed out when they see you kiss each other but deep inside it’s a huge boost for them to know you love each other. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard “RATED R!!!”. It’s really just Rated PG. Always keep in mind what kind of marriage relationship you want them to have and what kind of parents you want them to be when they grow up. You have to model that for them now. We jokingly tell our kids, now that at least one of them is getting closer to making us grandparents (still several years away!!), that if they don’t raise their kids like we raised them, we aren’t keeping them. Either that or we get to fix them when we have them.
Also, check on the familylife.com website. They have bible studies that I think are geared for parenting/marriage but any of them will help to keep your marriage healthy. We have led a number of these studies over the years and gone to even more marriage conference/retreats. I’m not sure we would have survived without them. http://www.shopfamilylife.com/familylife-resources-homebuilders.html
Our mission statement has evolved over the years but has mainly been something like this:
To raise responsible, well-adjusted, emotionally & physically healthy adults who own their own faith and are productive members of society.
And I also like to add in “that other people can enjoy”. When my kids go stay with someone else, I tell them to act in such a way that the hosts are glad they invited them.
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.