What does being a parent mean to you?
Words that come to mind are: a gift, purpose, responsibility, joy, fun. This question is vast, I don’t know where to begin.
To be a mother is all I have ever wanted to be and prayed for in life. Yet even though I feel like I’ve been created for this, the thing that kept me going in moments of fear, worry or doubt during pregnancy is that my God has created this baby, He knows him already & is growing him in my belly, I have little control but I am alone. He parented me, so He will help me parent this one. And as he grows I will continue relying on Jesus to help me as a parent, sustain him, look after him, speak to him and lead him in life as I will not always be able to be there. It’s a huge responsibility that I am willing to take on.
What advice would you give to another parent?
It feels hard to answer this question when I haven’t had children of my own apart from one growing in my belly currently. Usually people want experience before they are willing to take your advice. So I will speak from my experience as a child, as an observer of people around me and as one who is already learning how to be a parent to my little boy growing in my belly.
Two things come to mind…
1 – How do I do this?
What surprises me most about this topic (and couple others) is often how little education or preparation is given to something that’s going to be so life changing for us and the little ones. We study topics we might never work in, we get training for jobs & all sorts of things in life, we keep hobbies and keep on top of most recent aspect of them in order to be on top, yet how often do we study what it will take to or child development before we become a parent?
The truth is, we can’t know everything, and every child is different, but what will we base our parenthood and child understanding on? Yes, parent instincts are strong, but are they always enough? I won’t even go into how our personal life experience, convictions and/or trauma affect what kind of person, let alone parent we will be. So, after all of this, it seems to me to be important to take interest & do some research or study into one or some aspects of parenthood, whether it’d be about child or you as parent.
2 – Your partner comes first
I can’t tell you who told me this or whether I read it somewhere but I know I have heard it again and again throughout my life. I have also sadly seen examples when that didn’t happen.. I am not writing this from the most flourishing relationship on earth, I’m just willing to work on things (by things I also mean me – haha). I think the attitude is where it starts. There’s plenty of sound advice out there on how to prioritise each other among work, children, church, hobbies & anything else in life. So my advice would be, do all you can to prioritise your partner in life, especially when it comes to children, they come second. I said to my parents some time ago: “the best gift you could have ever given me is to stay together & still love each other through all that life has thrown at you. Keeps the dream alive”. I wish to return the favour to my children.
Marija was a recent guest on the Go In Courage Podcast – click to watch.