This weekend, I found myself thinking about just how much being a parent has changed my life. Of course there are the obvious ways: less sleep (in the beginning, not now), more joy, less time to think about myself (definitely a good thing). But there are less conspicuous ways, too. For instance, I can no longer passively watch people deal with their kids. When I see a “situation” arise, I’m immediately attentive (hopefully not in a rude way). I want to see how the parents react, how the child responds to their actions, etc. I want to see what works and what doesn’t so (even though I know it’s different for each child sometimes), hopefully, I can avoid some mistakes and go right to the correct response when we get to that stage in Riley’s life. I can’t just think about the rapture anymore. I have to wonder what would happen to Riley if the rapture took place before she gets saved. It goes on and on.
Since I was a kid, I’ve enjoyed reading the Elsie Dinsmore series by Martha Finley. They were written in the 1800s and one thing that has always intrigued me is seeing how things were back then. The lingo, the wealthy men spending much of their time at home with their families, and other differences between then and now definitely piqued my interest. Now, I read to see how the parents dealt with children. The author portrays several different types of parents throughout the series: indulgent, strict, compassionate, etc. The differences among the children are pronounced.
Of course we know that our actions are constantly molding the future of our children. I always knew that in my head, but I thought that the chronic thinking about my actions forming Riley’s life and heart wouldn’t start until we were down the road of parenting a bit. Wrong. We’re constantly discussing what we should do, how we should respond to certain situations. I know it’s only going to get “worse” as Riley gets older.
So yes, moms, I’m watching you. I’m doing my best to do it with the right heart and not a critical one. When I see a response that doesn’t seem quite biblical or “right” to me, I’m doing my best to avoid the “I would never do that!” train of thought and stick to praying that I, as well as the mother that I’m observing, would make the right decisions in the future. Being a mother is the biggest, most important thing I’ve ever done and I’m nervous. I need God’s help and I need the examples of good mothers: mothers like mine.