No more one size fits all

In some ways it’s what I want, what I crave.  Just tell me what to do.  Give me a fool proof plan, some kind of formula; a 10 step program.  Because this being mom thing… it can be a little scary, it can leave me feeling weak and unprepared.  There’s a lot at stake, many ways to go wrong, so much unknown.  Surely there is a “best way” to parent, and all I need to to is find it and follow it to the letter.

But the longer I walk this path of parenting the more I am convinced that there are no “one size fits all” methods to raising children.  And chasing that idea is a waste of my precious time.  In fact I might even go so far as to say that there are as many good ways to raise children as there are good moms.  I believe that God equipped each of us with unique personalities, a functioning brain, intuition, and His Holy Spirit to accomplish this important work we are doing.  What’s best for my family is going to look different than what is best for your family, and that’s okay.

Please don’t mistake my meaning, I’m not anti-structure.  I don’t believe that parenting books, schools of thought, or formulated methods are evil or useless.  I’m a practical, rubber-meets-the-road kind of gal.  I understand the necessity of having a game plan.  From the minute you bring that tiny human home from the hospital you have to start making decisions and choices.  Nurse or bottle feed?  Scheduled or unscheduled?  Let them cry themselves to sleep?  Sooth and rock them?  And the decision making never stops, in fact it only becomes more complicated.  To spank or not to spank?  Home-school?  Private school? Public school?  How much TV is too much TV?  It’s not wrong to seek advise or to have opinions.  Choices must be made.   

Here’s where I start to see trouble.  When choices and decisions cease to become practical necessities, and are allowed to become divisive tools of the Enemy.  When our passion and excitement for our own chosen methods are twisted into superiority.  I’ve been there, I’ve done that.  I like my methods and it’s easy for me to loudly proclaim their virtues, while at the same time undermining those that don’t fall in line with my personal preferences.   It becomes this dangerous undercurrent that can erode the love and support I should be giving to the women in my life.  Being mom is important.  We make the Devil’s job easy when we tear ourselves apart from the inside out.  When we stand toe-to-toe, glaring at each other over lines dawn in the sand, instead of standing shoulder to shoulder facing the real danger.  Is my personal preferences really worth the damage I might be doing?  We must not loose sight of the big picture.  We must see each other for what we are, sisters who are all in this together.  Each of us with our own strength and weaknesses.  Be careful of how quickly we are to criticize another woman.  We should be united, but unity should not be confused with complete and utter conformity.  

So here it is in a nutshell.  We should be passionate, excited, and yes, even confident about our own parenting styles and choices, but that should always be balanced with an equal amount of graciousness for those who have chosen a different way.  To trust the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of other women.  To not see her as a rival, or a superior, or an inferior to yourself, but as your fellow companion on this journey to love and protect. 

19 thoughts on “No more one size fits all

  1. Roadkill_Spatula

    There are a lot of good ways to raise children. I think the most helpful thing I ever learned about parenting was that discipline is actually about structure, that kids thrive in structure and that parents are responsible for providing it. It can look different in different families, but it’s applicable anywhere. Kids like to know their boundaries, they like to know what to expect, and they are glad to know their parents are strong. Being the center of the universe is terrifying.

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  2. celebration_of_life

    Some days more than others I.just.want.a.foolproof.plan!!! but in reality I do know that Jesus is about relationships and drawing our kids to himself. Knowing that part of us developing a deep faith in Jesus as our All in All is worked out in the ups and downs of growing up. For me and my kids;)

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  3. down_onthefarm

    excellent. every bit. love this post. and all of the grace spaces you offer with your words and LIFE.

    you remind me of what we would tell the patients as they’d hold up the hospital gown in disbelief.
    “it’s one size fits no one.” and it’s true. with many things. and i wonder sometimes if superiority isn’t bred by fear.

    here’s to “standing shoulder to shoulder facing the real danger.”

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  4. wj3km

    reminds me of Should to Should song in Pooh’s Heffalump movie :)  I have struggled with this parenting thing – looking for that 1,2,3 A B C step program when instead, I should be looking to the God of the Universe and his Holy Spirit to guide me, direct my ways with the children.  I have read books and tried methods from those books, but they don’t all work like the books say they will – like you said, “no one size fits all”!  Part of the issue is we are afraid of what others will say and think if we do parenting different from their ways.  And, it is scary cause I want to do good by my children – I don’t want to mess them up, but build them up, train and teach them the best I can so they’ll be emotionally and spiritually healthy, mature adults.  Takes a lot of humility and trusting my Heavenly Father!

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  5. purpleamethyst76

    Absolutely!  Another thing I’ve learned is that this year’s hot parenting tip may be next year’s embarrassment!  There are parts of mothering that are honest and true for all generations but like you say, the common sense of each mother is not to be over-rated.  Graciousness and love go a long way in our fellowship w/each other.

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  6. lifeisadance

    This is so so good, April! I agree so much! And yes, I think too that the judging of other women/mothers can out of insecurities on our part, fear that we’re not doing it right, and if we point fingers it at least makes us feel better for two minutes. But to live and parent out of freedom, and out of the security we feel from God… So so true and good! I love this!

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  7. foreveranoatneygirl_n2Hisown

    shoulder to shoulder…yes!
    what a very excellent post April! i’ve been a little MIA here on xanga lately, but it was good to come back and see you’d posted.
    if there’s one thing i know about parenting, it’s that i DON’T. and, the more i realize i know so little, the more i become convinced that my way versus your way is really destructive. there are definitely absolutes in this life, but it seems to me that because we are all so vastly different, so must our ways of relating and raising children for Christ be different too. just because what seems ‘out’ for me and mines does not mean it is so for you and yours. being creatures of choice brings us freedom….if we choose to serve the right Master.
    love to you!

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  8. grace_to_be

    such good, GOOD words, april! when i read things like this it’s like letting out a long a sigh of relief… the comparison and judgement or worrying that others are judging feels like i’m standing holding my breath for a very long time. but then when i see i’m not the only one trying to figure it out as i go i breathe easier. :) ) and how we NEED to look over and remind each other of these truths! it’s LIFE GIVING. thanks for blowing a little life my way today with what you shared. love you~

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