A young man recently commented about the amount of patience it took to care for an under-the-weather two-year-old fulltime for a few days. He said that he thought women must have some kind of “mothering gene” that surfaced when needed. After a good laugh and composing a facetious list of latent genes that we all wished we had, we came back to the original topic—parenting takes patience and do any of us have enough to do a good job?
The truth is, parenting—like love—isn’t a feeling or emotion that just bubbles up from an infinite well deep within us. Sure, there are feelings and emotions involved. But it’s more than that. It involves our choices—both big and little—every hour of every day and putting ourselves aside at times. Can she have that second piece of candy even though she won’t eat anything at meal times? How many hours of screen time should be allowed every week? Should I expect my kids to do chores? What is my goal—that my child is always happy or that my child is learning how to deal with disappointment? What age can they get their ears pierced, go on dates, or be responsible for keeping their own accounts for clothes and recreational activities? …
I hate to disappoint those of you who are looking forward to the empty nest stage, but questions and choices continue when you are the parents of adult children—whether they come back home for a spell to get on their feet or head out on their own for the wild blue yonder.
We choose to think beyond our first reactions or emotions. What is the big picture? How does my understanding and goal for the big picture speak into this situation? How can I choose when there are so many things I can’t control?
Parenting is hard work. So is love. It doesn’t just happen.
My well isn’t deep enough. But I have an all-powerful, infinitely-loving resource.