Being a mom is an awesome responsibility, an absolute blast, and, as my friend Beth puts it, “The only job you’ll be consistently terrible at that you can’t quit.” Preach.
There are days I’m overwhelmed with the joy of parenting our two little guys and days I’d give them every penny in our bank account to just sleep in for an hour or two past 6:30am. There are days I’m amazed by their growth and development and little senses of humor, and days I’ve run out of patience by breakfast. Also, there is coffee. Lots of coffee.
The more I parent my kids, the more thankful I am for resources that help me do it well. Sometimes these resources are dear friends and mentors at church who remind me that phases pass, that God is present, that they’re only a phone call away if I need a listening ear. Other times it’s books and articles that boost me up.
Here are the best links and books I’ve encountered this month on parenting, for those of you in the trenches with me.
Raising an Original by Julie Lyles Carr. Julie, a pastor in Texas, writes about what it means to raise our kids to be life-long disciples of Jesus, called to be a “peculiar people,” as God’s followers have been throughout Scripture. She has eight kids of her own, so Carr really knows a thing or two about parenting. She’s honest, hilarious, down-to-earth, and this book is filled with tips about helping kids grow up into the faith. I couldn’t put it down.
[Also, how cute is that cover?]
“‘The Best’ May Not Be Best for Our Children” by Dorcas Cheng-Tozun at Inc.com. Dorcas is a friend of mine (hi, Dorcas!) and I watch for her new articles because she is wise. After living for years in Silicon Valley, she’s learned a thing or two about the achievement race and what its pressures can do to our children.
As a mom in Orange County, I often feel the pressure to do more with my kids than feels healthy or restful for them. This article reminds me that it’s not about pushing harder or cramming more into a day, it’s about teaching and modeling life-long skills like empathy, household chores, and even failure as a way to learn.
Found: A Story of Grace, Questions, and Everyday Prayer by Micha Boyett. This book is less about parenting and more about remembering to be a person in the midst of parenting. It chronicles her journey into the grace of spiritual disciplines while raising young kids, a reminder that it can be done, and that God is faithful to meet us all along the way.
“My Foster Daughter Was Separated From Her Family at the Border” by Gena Thomas in Christianity Today. While we aren’t thinking of fostering right now (I’m 2-3 weeks away from having a baby, so it’s all hands on deck at our house these days…!), I’ve often thought about what it means to open hearts and homes to a child in need who will only stay for weeks or months or years. It sounds holy and beautiful and intensely painful. I’m thankful for Gena’s wise words that this may be part of why Christians are called to do it: “Embracing heartbreak, I learned, is part of carrying each other’s burdens in a broken world.”
Are you a parent or a grandparent? What’s encouraging you in your mothering or fathering these days?
As always, I’m not paid to endorse anyone or anything. I share books and links because they’ve encouraged me and I want to encourage you!