May 29, 2016. Nothing really special about today. I’m writing this in my bedroom, in the dark, watching my baby sleep as I hear my husband ironing in the living room. Another two weeks and we’d have been parents for ten months. Ten months! [19 if you include the 9 months when we were already parents but didn’t have to actively parent yet – the wonders of the womb.]
Countless times over these last ten months, I’ve thought to myself, hey, I really should be writing this down somewhere, consolidate what I’m learning, share it perhaps, record somewhere somehow all these moments of wonder and marvel that I know unreliable memory alone will not keep for me. But the last time I started a blog, it fizzled out after all of four or five posts. So, let’s just see where this takes us.
Parenting under the Sun.
Since becoming a mother, since my husband and I became parents, I’ve been struck again and again by how much of a vain pursuit it can be. That might seem an odd thing to say. People usually speak of parenthood in more positive terms: lots of work and so little sleep for sure, but also so meaningful, fulfilling, rewarding, joyful, etc. And, yes, parenthood has been all of those things and more for us! It has been character building in ways I could never have imagined. Parenthood is forcing us to see, repeatedly, our mere humanity, the frailty of life, how so much lies beyond our control.
For there is much to parenting that really can be a “chasing after the wind”, as with most “toil under the sun”. It is the accumulation of uncertain knowledge – about how to feed a baby, how to put a baby to sleep, how to discipline a child, how to teach a child, which of the myriad products/methods is best/most value for money/least harmful, etcetc – that seems particularly futile. New studies come out all the time with contradictory conclusions. A reasonable parent has to be convicted enough of his/her position to be able parent boldly and confidently, yet open-minded enough to take in new evidence as it surfaces. It’s tough.
Most parents strive to be the best parents they can be, to give their child the best, to bring them up well. But there are really great parents who have experienced heartbreak over a wayward teenager; and there are those with horrible parents who grow into lovely adults nonetheless. I can’t help but hear the words of the preacher in Ecclesiastes ringing as I think of these things and battle my own anxieties about my mothering and my child’s future.
Hence, “parenting under the sun” just like “everything done under the sun” can feel like vanity. But that bleak note is no way to live. For just as “there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work”, I know that I want to rejoice in parenting.
And I know that I can, because we’re also “parenting under the Son”! (hello, John Donne pun!) Living our lives under Jesus’ lordship means parenting under his Lordship too, parenting in his love, parenting by his grace, parenting with heaven in mind. And I can’t be more thankful for the huge weight this lifts.
My words here shall be strung together from that perspective, I hope. I want to reflect through writing (publicly, as opposed to private journaling) about my daily life with my son and husband as a stay-at-home mother, review the books I’ve read, share my stories. 🙂