Sitting in church this week, in the courtesy room (because my cousin and I have infants with big personalities) her LO started fussing. My cousin’s husband took her and started to entertain her with a rattle. After a few minutes, my cousin gave him a look. I’m sure all moms know this look, it’s the look of you are annoying everyone with how you are entertaining the child. Moms all have experienced a time when they are happy someone else is entertaining their LO but not super happy about the way it is being carried out. I leaned over to her and said “isn’t it amazing how a toy we play with every day becomes so annoying when daddy uses it to play?” We both laughed. But this little jab made me think: ‘why are we so critical about how others parent?’ I myself tend to be overly critical of LeAnns’s dad. Instead of being joyful that I have help and that my daughter is being loved and cared for I nitpick and nag. This doesn’t just stop at mothering. I am critical of my house, of other parents, and myself. How about you? I’m sure reading this you have thoughts of several things you maybe overly critical of as well. So this week I ask you, do you need an exercise in surrender? Continue reading for my devotional on different parenting styles and how you can practice surrender in your life.

Differences in Parenting Styles

We all parent differently because we all are different! In fact, Galatians 3:28 celebrates diversity in saying, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is their male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Though different, we are one in Christ, yet we are different in our individual selves.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

This can make it hard sometimes to surrender to each others way of thinking. Especially as mothers, we have a very strict philosophy of how our children should be raised and behaved toward. In fact, we even have names for the ‘type’ of mother we are (crunchy, helicopter, etc). We label ourselves and other moms with these differences.

The thing that is hard to grasp is that differences are good! If we were all the same our world would be boring and we would never learn or evolve. This is an important lesson to teach our children and it starts with allowing them to experience differences in the world around them.

When to Allow in Differences

As a mother, we need a certain amount of control. We need to be able to know that our children are safe in whatever situation we put them in. This means we have to assert a certain amount of control over our situations. But are we too controlling? Do we expect that our babysitter, grandparents and even daddies conform to our parenting style? Now you have the right to parent and expect your kids to be treated however you want. I believe the 9 months and however many hours of labor gave you this control. However, I urge you to give in a little and allow for your child to experience different parenting styles.

I want you to ask yourself: Are my children in any danger? Are they being cared for? Are they happy? If you can answer these 3 questions, then your children will be okay. Daddy may let the baby play with food before he feeds it to her while you want to make sure she is spoon-fed. As long as it accomplishes the same ends and she is not in any danger try to let it happen! This is so hard! I know it is! But ultimately you are going to find peace and happiness by surrendering and your child will be allowed to experience differences. When we let go of some of our control we also let go of the stress we inflict upon ourselves. We become more carefree. Dare I even say….childlike?

Surrender

2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” It takes self-discipline to surrender. It also takes baby steps especially to surrender something involving your kiddos. You are a fierce mama and you need practice before this will come natural. Before you undertake my exercise I want you to take a few deep breaths and pray. While praying think on this next verse: “LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). When you pray, ask the Lord to direct and guide you to what he wants you to surrender. He knows your heart and what you need to live a fulfilling life and what it will okay to let go off. After you do this you can move onto my exercise in surrender.

Exercise In Surrender

My exercise for you this week is to identify some things in your life that you hold onto but can surrender. These do NOT have to be mommy things. These should be things that cause you a bit of stress by holding onto them. For example, things you clean or feelings you have. Now, I’m not saying you should never clean and ignore your feelings, but surrendering the dishes to another day, maybe even just once a week, may eliminate some stress. These may not be physical things either. Perhaps you hold onto emotions that are causing you stress. Here are mine:

1. Making my bed everyday

2. Maintain the nursery looking cute and perfect

3. Organizing my kitchen/pantry

4. Dressing my daughter in outfits that are coordinated everyday

5. Planning out every day and expecting it to go as planned

Most of these are pretty common things and I can get them done on a daily basis. However, it is those days when I feel overwhelmed or things don’t go right, that I need to surrender and let something go. Perhaps we are running late or my LO decided to squeeze in a morning nap (which always ends up being on mommy…nap trapped while reading this anyone?) It is at these times that my daily plans may need to be altered or her outfit may not be perfect or the nursery doesn’t get cleaned up or my bed doesn’t get made. Not getting these things done truly drives me crazy and stresses me out! This is where I need to step back and surrender.

When you made up your list did you feel a bit silly writing down things that you hold onto? Maybe you even found yourself asking: “why does making my bed everyday cause me so much anxiety if I don’t do get it done?” That is why I want you to surrender! As mothers, we have so much stuff and so much pressure that we need to give yourself a break.

Surrendering is something that does not come easy and needs to be practiced. Which makes this next step important! I want you to take your list and everyday surrender one thing that is on it, even if your day is going perfect, and you have no stress! *insert laughter here* This allows you to feel what surrender is! Practice makes perfect and practice under idealistic conditions makes it easier to put a plan in action when you are under stress. So Monday surrender your first item. Tuesday, your second, etc, etc. Now you can stop at the five days or make this a habit. Write a new list next week and surrender things on different days.

Conclusion

I hope this exercise helps you surrender things that are not as important as the life(s) that you have been entrusted with! Creating happy, healthy children is the most important thing! I think as mamas we sometimes forget the big picture and get so focused on how we want our life and our marriage and our children to look that we forget to just live! James 4:10 says, “Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” When we surrender we become humbled. This week surrender yourself to the Lord and be humbled in the fact that He made you a mama. He trusts you and you can trust Him.

 

Blessings,

KARA

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10 Replies to “Different Parenting Styles: An Excerise in Surrender

  1. Thank you for these great parenting tips! I have been the one to get the look from my wife at church when I try to entertain the sons. Though my father-in-law has gotten the look more then I have! I also love your use of scripture. It is so good to hear the word.
    Thanks, Dan

    1. Dan,
      I think all dads (including grandpas) have received this look! It just melts my heart seeing dads entertaining their children it is usually so silly and just a unique bond you guys share. I love it! Keep up the entertaining! Thank you for you comment!
      KARA

  2. Hey Kara,
    As a father, I also experience some sort of separation anxiety when it’s time to let my daughter ride the school bus. I was so used to dropping and picking her up to/from school. Then I decided to let go a bit and see how it goes. As time goes by, I learned to fully trust her with this and just occasional follow-up and letting her know that I am there if she needs me. Great article and it inspired to surrender more through God’s grace.

    1. Ian,
      I know my daughters father completely trusts me with our child but he too has anxiety about us leaving her with others. This is not just a mother’s fear but all parents! I can not even imagine letting her go to school as she is only 9 months old! I’m sure when she is that old though I will find a way through. Thank you for your comment.

      KARA

  3. Hi Kara,

    Amazing article and you are right that we must indeed surrender up to that which knows all and can better decide for us. There are no many concerns that really don’t need that much attention but do soak up all our time. It is important to remember to live while we are indeed alive.

    Leave worry to others that don’t know any better and I appreciate your article on the different parenting styles in this article to help – even fathers hehe – take an exercise in surrender to the things that simply do not matter.

    Thanks Kara.

    1. Philip,
      You are so right! It does no good to dwell on concerns that aren’t really our concern. I agree we need to live while we are able to. You never know what may happen tomorrow.

      KARA

  4. That’s a really good post and I can resonate with a lot of what you said. My kids are older now (11 and 9) but when they were little I was very over-protective of them. I’m a separated parent and when they would spend weekends with their dad and I would constantly worry that their needs were being taken care of properly. It does get easier as they get older though and now I don’t worry so much as I know they get looked after properly when they aren’t with me.

    1. Helen,
      I completely understand where you are coming from! My SO and I were separated before the birth of our daughter and I agonized over how we would work it out and how he would manage a newborn or toddler. We are now living in the same house and working on our relationship but after carrying a baby for nine months it was very hard for me to let anyone else watch her even her dad. It does get easier though! I now relish the time I get to myself and the time they get to spend bonding! Thank you for your comments!
      KARA

  5. Hey Kara,

    This article really resonated with me because I am currently in a conflict with my mother whom I am living with; she wants me to cut my sons hair.- I don’t wnat too. First of all he is 19 months old, his hair is curly and soft and I feel like a haircut will be tramatizing ( for both of us ) I don’t want anyone with shears near his locks! I have told my mom to drop this, but she is really pushy & mean. Lately she has said that he looks “like a little girl” and that “He is going to become gay if you let his hair grow wild like that” and “don’t you want him to look like a boy?” and I really just try to ignore her or tell her I am not ready, or comfortable or drop it and then she gets really angry, threatening, saying she is going to kick me out of the house? For not cutting his hair?? She has a lot of leeway over me. Unfortunately. I am trying to get my life together so quick style. I am trying to be strong and stay out of her way. She is such an angry, controlling bitter mom…. wagging her finger in my face, screaming at me, telling me she is going to cut it herself. I dont want to even leave him alone with her. I can surrender by not saying anything. By not talking back. By not responding. By keeping my cool. Because if I get pissy or tell her I dont want to talk about it, she gets angry. What can I do to just be quiet or not respond and she keeps saying? “Huh? I’m talking to you…. what are you going to do about his hair?” I dont want to lie either and say that “I am waiting until he is 3 years old” because she will hold me to it. Crazy lady. *shaking my head* Surrendering is so hard. I need some tips on how to best surrender in this situation without succumbing and cutting his hair. I cant do it. My baby would be devastated. I want HIM to be able to tell me himself if and when he is ready to have a hair cut – you know what I mean?

    1. Sophia,
      First off, do not let anyone tell you how to raise your children! They are yours and you make the decisions that feel right to you because I truly believe you have an innate connection to your little ones. Second, Pray. I know this seems like there is no action to it but talking about things that upset you allows you to feel freedom. Talking on here or other mom websites will help you to surrender your feelings and so will praying. If you do not want to address your prayers to God then address them to the air, the moon, the stars…whatever just vocalize how you are feeling out loud. This will help you let go of your frustration and anger. I think you are doing the right thing by ignoring the hurtful comments. However, it sounds like a less than ideal situation to live in for you and your son. Are there any mother resources in your area? Many health departments have a ton of resources for mothers from counseling services to even help finding affordable housing! I really encourage you to look into programs in your area to see if they can help. Also, perhaps you can join some sort of mom groups. MOPs is a very empowering group and there are similar groups that create safe spaces, offer child care and a place to connect with moms in your area. I hope this helps! I hope you are able to surrender some of your feelings and possibly surrender your relationship with you mother until she is ready to be a positive influence in your and your sons life.
      You are in my prayers,
      KARA

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