Family Magazine

Back When I Was an Expert Parent

By Lindsayleighbentley @lindsayLbentley

It's so ironic, isn't it... The things we think we know so much about. It's as though when I know only the tiniest bit about something I feel as though I'm an expert, and then the more I dig in the less I realize that I truly know.

You know when I was an expert parent? Before I had kids. I nannied often and I knew with certainty how I would parent my future kids. I knew how to parents everyone else's kids. I definitely knew what "that parent" should be doing differently with their child. I knew why children were throwing tantrums and what should be done about it. I knew that my children would never be allowed to misbehave in public.

And then I had kids of my own.
back when I was an expert parent

And with Henry I was confident. And with Miles I was less so. And now as I parent my third, Etta, I am convinced that I don't know much at all. I mean, I have some good ideas, and I've learned from my mistakes.

But parenting is so humbling. Because as soon as you figure something out, they change. So it's a constant reconsidering of the decisions that you've already made. And every kid is so different. That's the kicker. I've found that the things that work with Henry, don't with Miles.

So we have different kids who are constantly changing and imperfect parents in charge.

And parenting is scary in a way that nothing else is. These little bodies. These little souls. Mine. Mine to protect, to guide, to cherish, to discipline.

back when I was an expert parent

And even though every child has their own will, and will do things independent of your influence, there are things that we do as parents, that WILL affect their worldview. How they treat others. How they view themselves.


I don't even know where this is coming from. Maybe because we are in the midst of a busy tour season so I'm parenting alone a lot right now. But a lot of people parent alone. Maybe it's because I've not slept more than 5 hours at night over the past week. Too much to do. And that's a part of the problem. I hate that sometimes I don't feel that I have the time to be the kind of parent that I want to be. When often the things I am doing that take my time away from my children I am doing in the name of "to make a better life for my kids."

I mean, I fear that by the time I finally figure out this parenting thing, they will be gone.

So, why is it this way? Why is it that I'm realizing more and more how clueless I am about it all?

I think it's because it serves as a constant reminder of WHO the only expert parent is. Sometimes I think that if it weren't for my kids, I might forget about my God. These children. The realization that you love them more than anything you've ever encountered, and that you are responsible for them. That brings me to my knees. When one of them is hurting and I don't know what to do to fix it. When they are angry, and I don't know why. When I let my mind wander into the depths of possibilities of the things that could happen to them... That is when I remember The One who created those little souls, those tiny little bodies. Who knew them before I did. Who gifted me with them, one of His precious ones. The One who does know the why's behind their hurts. Who can calm their troubled little hearts.

back when I was an expert parent

I remember a few years ago, Henry was acting out in a way that he never had before. It was disturbing. I was worried that someone had hurt him. I had exhausted my resources, and was about to crumple in a heap of failure, when my mom gently told me that she had been praying that God would give Henry the words to tell us what was bothering him.

And the next day he did. In supernatural words far beyond his limited 3 year old vocabulary. And we were able to clear up a confusion in his head that had him in absolute, internal turmoil.

He changed that day, in that very moment, and has never been in that horrible place again.

Oh, that I will never forget the power of prayer when it comes to parenting my children!

Thank you for reading these thoughts. It is often through my writing for you that I am reminded of the simplest, yet most important of things. I don't know if there is anything profound here, but it's so lovely to put scrambled thoughts on paper...or screen. So, thank you for listening.

back when I was an expert parent

live well. be well.

back when I was an expert parent

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