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Parenting Perspective: Chaos

I couldn’t wait to be a mom. I had it all figured out very early on. Literally, listening to Focus on the Family episodes about raising kids on the radio, reading parenting books, and going to parenting conferences – when I was a teenager! I had no problem sharing my knowledge with actual parents, too. I hear stories from my friends these days about things I said to them before I had kids and wonder why in the world these people put up with me. My parenting perspective has changed since I had kids - and now I understand it's all about chaos. Ha!

Although preparation is important, BEING a parent is different than preparing to be one. No one can prepare you for how involved your heart is in everything that happens. You have to try to separate your own needs from your child’s needs. You must separate your own emotional reactions to what happens from what’s actually happening to them. You have to take everything you learned from your own parents, books, and culture and cook it down into some sort of parenting stew that works for you and your unique kids. Oh, and their other parent. That person has a say too. Don’t forget the opinions of grandparents, who are likely helping to raise these children and have earned a voice in the whole thing.

My parenting perspective on all of this stew-creating is that sometimes it feels like pure chaos. It can feel like we're running around with our hands in the air yelling, "What do we do now?!" Yet, there are little ones looking up to us, expecting us to know the answers, so we have to keep it together. For their sake, we have to look like we know what we're doing!

There’s the typical parenting problems, and you can ask others for advice, but then there’s the ones nobody saw coming. The ones completely unique to your child, your home, and your family. No one can tell you how to deal with things like that, so you have no choice but to hit your knees in prayer. I don’t know how people who aren’t Christians do it. No one is that smart. I need the wisdom of the Holy Spirit!

Questions constantly arise. When a child is irresponsible, do you come down hard on them or show grace? What about when they’re irresponsible for the 300th time and their poor executive functioning skills have cost your family dearly? When a child repetitively disobeys you, are they naughty or forgetful?

My house is strewn with toys today, and I’m thankful to see my kids have been playing with their toys and not just watching television. I’m also totally annoyed that they can’t take a few minutes to clean them up when they’re done. I remember those days well, though, from when I was a child. I was never done playing. I just got called to do something else by my parents. Rarely did they ever say, “Pick up your toys first, then come help me do this chore.” I just had to drop what I was doing and get over there.

Into this chaotic storm of questions and concerns available to you on the internet, I’m going to throw in my own parenting perspective. You’re not likely to find statistical research on this site, but I’m a mom of three and a genuinely relentless researcher. I won’t share with you something I’ve simply read, only things I’ve experimented with myself. You should know - I’m not a particularly gentle parent, my husband and I don’t always agree, and I’ve been known to turn into monster-mom when I’ve reached my limit. I can get overwhelmed by noise and commotion, which makes parenting extra-exciting sometimes. I'm a Gen-Xer, raising my children in a world of Millennials, married to a Boomer! Goodness. Don't forget that I'm also a special needs mom, so you'll find I have a different perspective on what is and is not important in life. You're not going to find a lot of striving for perfection or our culture's version of success on here.

two parents and three kids on farm, down syndrome
We pulled our farmer off the tractor for five minutes to get a family photo, but we had to meet him at the bins for it. LOL.

Since I’ve told you what I’m not, I guess I’ll tell you what I am. I’m a wife of twelve years (in 2023). Rick and I married later in life. I was 36 and he was 47. He offered me the love and stability I craved. My guess is, I offered him the excitement and love his life was missing. We're Christ-followers above all else, and that's the main thing we have in common. Beyond that, we're very different people who constantly try to figure out this whole marriage thing, deeply committed to one another and our children. We have traditional values and seek to raise our children in a way that honors God. Rick is a stoic man with a dry sense of humor and an extremely practical nature. His one extravagance in life is probably marrying me.

Raised by a stoic first-generation New Yorker (from Germany) and a Charismatic pastor from Iowa farm country, I know what it's like to live with parents who are very different. My maternal grandfather survived famine, war, and poverty as a German immigrant who wasn’t supposed to live beyond early childhood. That stubbornly beautiful man lived almost a century. My paternal grandmother was born Amish, shunned, and then grew up Mennonite. She worked very hard raising eight children, her soprano voice often carrying through her home as she sang hymns in praise to Jesus. My peace-loving little mama was raised on Long Island in New York, a city-girl through and through. She married my dad, a tall, handsome man who dominates every room he enters. He nearly ran her over with his car the first time they met. She likes excitement.

I could go on about who I am and where I come from, but I suspect that will come out more as I write about parenting. My goal is to write or share someone else’s writing on parenting every Wednesday. I’ll call it “Parenting Perspective:” and include the topic each week. If you have some wisdom to share on parenting, I’d love to hear from you. I’d like to make this section a community discussion. Write your thoughts down and send them to me. Let’s see if we can get your post scheduled here, too.

Love, Kimberly

mom with three children, down syndrome
My babies and Me (Rick was on the tractor)


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