**Disclaimer— If reading this will offend you— then don’t read it. Offense is never my intention. Also— this is about no one. As I attempt to get my thoughts written out, I want to acknowledge I am only an “expert” in my own experiences. I don’t know anything about anyone else’s. I empathize and attempt to understand . I’m not here to correct , inform or instruct. I’m just talking. I pray that God provides us all with His view.**

We all have experiences, and, most certainly have opinions, concerning parenting.

No two parenting experiences can be exactly the same. In general, there are billions of similarities. But, at the very heart— every single one is unique and cannot be duplicated.

From within and without, throughout my own years, I can see so many common experiences. What we often refer to as “stages” and “phases” for children— all of us have or will go through them.

As much as we focus on children, parents— I believe— also go through stages and phases.

For those of us who have and are raising up children, there are so many common threads.

Fear with anticipation (or dread) are the first responses— generally. I’m sure there are a billion ways to describe billions of “first time” experiences. But, from my view over the years, I’m recognizing our focus is often not uncommon— infinite dreams and fears, worries and hopes…

Every child is a unique and beautiful experience.

Notice, I did not say easy and fun.

Not every part of parenting, in any stage, is easy or fun. In fact, I’m not sure worry ever completely dissipates. It’s always lingering, somehow, in some way, in the background, in decision making, interfering with the enjoyment of the evolving relationships with our children, as well as with others.

Fear of making wrong decisions.

Confidence of making right decisions.

Rigidness of how things “have” to be.

The “easily offended nature” of feeling criticized. Often when someone isn’t even doing so, our worry or fear of somehow doing it wrong, or someone thinking we’re not doing it “right”, can transform into our feeling criticism from others— even when it’s not present.

Don’t get me wrong— there is plenty of criticism to experience!! From every direction possible, we all experience some forms of criticism everyday, at every stage.

I believe— when we turn our focus away from what we believe others think, to our one-on-one relationship with each child, that becomes what is important. When we interact with each one as an individual and we drop the wall expectation often creates— the relationship thrives. This can nurture every relationship, in every situation, as well.

When we focus on things we have decided is are faults— blaming ourselves, worrying about the opinions of other people— that stirs up frustrations, disappointment— even anger. In my experience, if that’s what becomes “nurtured”— that can cause a dysfunctional edge to the relationship.

I don’t think we even realize what poison pills expectations and concerns about the opinions of others tend to be.

Of course there is always some level of expectation that we hold— with ourselves as well as with our spouse/partner/the other adult influences, and our children. Expectations are a part of our “make-up”, in every role we find ourselves filling.

Expectations can be crushing, though. If we allow those expectations to guide us through our decisions and become our view of how things “should be”— they will become like a bulldozer of destruction.

Who can possibly thrive under the weight of someone else’s expectations for them?

As a mom of 4, I am astounded by how much love my heart can hold. And— with that infinite amount of love is also plenty of fear, worry, doubts in my decisions…

We parents, we stumble through a lot more than we may let on. What we most often let the world see is confidence, security, resolution— but underneath it all, the stuff we often protect from detection is a jumbled mess of emotions— guilt often takes shape, and can form into our reactive outer shell.

Being responsible for the protection, the provision— the life— of another human being as it grows into it’s own ability to embrace the complicated depths of parenting— that is the weight of the common thread.

Those of us that have embraced our roles as parents, we want our children to be healthy, happy, safe, and provided for in every possible way.

For myself, I now recognize similarities I have in common with my own parents.

I didn’t even know the worry and fear that form a constant state of feeling guilt— even existed.

As a kid, I could only form my opinions by what I could see and match them up to what others seemed to have, or what Hollywood portrayed as “normal”.

As a parent, now I can “see”. It’s an open-ended experience!!

As an observer of human behaviors, I recognize so many common threads.

They may manifest in infinite ways— but their roots began from the same seeds.

Thank God He is the perfect parent.

As we grow in understanding of all the perfect, amazing characteristics of our Creator— we can find that rest we seek— at times desperately seek.

The more I learn about God, the more I want to be like God with my own children.

That is an unlimited objective— never fully attainable, but always continuing.

I’m not the same person I was when the birth of my oldest “crowned” me as “mom”. I won’t be exactly the same when Jesus returns, or when Father God takes me Home.

Thank God.

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