I’ve spent a lot of time lately trying to figure out how to parent a particular one of my children. I beg for wisdom from the One who gives it many times a day, and I look for perspective and ideas from other mamas who might be able to give it. I had a couple of those conversations the other week.
I have a dear friend for many, many years. She has lots of training and experience in the stage that my kid is currently in and has a similarly challenging one the same age.
She’s also very different from me. Her personality and parenting style are very different, so I figured she might have some thoughts that I hadn’t come up with yet.
I was correct. But despite the fact that she was kind throughout the conversation and has been for me for most of my life and wasn’t judgy in the least, so many of the things she said hit my ears and my heart as you are doing it wrong. Like really, really wrong. There were a lot of really constructive ideas about the big, overarching issues and some interesting strategies to try and resources to look at, but, because of where my heart was and how we communicate differently, it was a couple hours of shame triggers. There were ugly crying and hiccups.
I have a newish friend. Her personality and parenting style are very similar to mine. She has lots of kids, most of them older than mine. One of those had issues very similar to the ones we’re facing and they’re coming out the other side.
She assured me that my baby is going to be okay. She gave me some ideas that worked for her with hers, and kind of a timeline for when things might start to look up. She reminded me that these challenging ones remind us that we can’t do this without Jesus, whether the kids are challenging or compliant.
I need them both.
Yes, the first conversation was harder. I imagine there will be some who encourage me to disregard her input because of how difficult the talk was. But that friendship is dear to me, and the difference in perspectives is valuable to us both. I don’t want to live in an echo chamber… so we sharpen each other. Also, there’s something valuable about somebody who doesn’t think or feel the same as me but loves me dearly despite the differences.
And the second conversation was a balm that helped me see that I will be okay—my kid will be okay—even though I am me, with my limitations and faults. I will try to do right by my little girl and I will try to help her using every resource I can find, whether it’s from somebody like me or not, but Jesus gave her to me and he equipped me accordingly.
I’m so grateful for these kind and very different women. I’m a better mama for their input, especially in combination. One challenges and one heals, and they’re both beautiful.