Friday, June 25, 2010

Carnival of Catholic Parenting: Running the Race

Welcome to the "Carnival of Catholic Parenting" hosted by Maman A Droit! This month's submissions are inspired by Hebrews 12:1-2:
Therefore since we are surrounded with such a great cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us.
After you read this great post, you're encouraged to check out some of the other contributions to this month's carnival through the links at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

Parenting to me is a lot like how I am religious. There are different types of religions and parenting styles that people think there is one way and they cling to them.
For me, I am Catholic and I love the faith and I will always be Catholic. I love Jesus. I believe the Eucharist is the source and summit of my faith and that it is the body and blood of Christ. I love the Church and her teachings. I love the Blessed Virgin Mary. I use NFP and don't believe in birth control.
I also consider myself a natural/attachment/continuum parent. These are the reasons why. I believe my baby should be breastfed, I would never leave my baby to cry it out, I respected the 'in-arms' phase and wore and carried my baby before he started crawling and now walking, and I wouldn't ever consider circumcision.
Many of these topics cause so much controversy with others who aren't completely on board with what I think is right. I sometimes find myself wound up in the middle of it all. Like hanging out with parents who don't think there is anything wrong with letting babies cry. Or hanging out with people who don't believe in God. Sometimes I find myself getting caught up in labeling people... they aren't really 'attachment parents' or 'they're Catholic but they use birth control'. But what does that make me? It makes me pretty judgmental. I get so caught up in small details that I forget that I'm not here to dwell on the nitty-gritty of every little choice someone else makes. I'm here to 'run the race' of glorifying God and to live out my vocation as a Mom. If I could just rid myself of thinking about what others do, I could live in the light more. I feel like this is a burden that clings to me.
Sometimes I hang out with mom's who let their babies cry it out. I will go home and analyse every move they make with my husband. I will obsess over exactly every word and action. How they always talk about what time their baby goes to bed and exactly how long he cried for and exactly how long he napped that day. Or just seeing other parents force their kids in a stroller while they are obviously trying to get out. I dwell on it. Sometimes so much that it takes joy from me that I could be using toward my husband or son.I get caught up in the parenting style and saying to myself 'I wouldn't do that' that I forget that they are a person. They are a person very much loved by God and loved just as much as me. By judging and criticising other parents I am teaching my son, Luke, to judge. I am not showing him how to love. Isn't that what we are all here for? Love? Love is the answer. Love is the only way I can rid myself of every burden and sin that clings to me and persevere in running the race that lies before me.
Dear Lord, please rid me of this burden and let me love more.

Don't forget to check out these other great Carnival of Catholic Parenting posts:
  • Julie @ Journey to the Simple Life talks about her struggles to be a positive witness through her speech in her post, Finding a New Way

  • Kate @ Momopoly discusses the importance of timing in Maternal Pacing

  • Heidi @ Extraordinary Moms Network reflects on why she turns to the cloud of witnesses in Sweet Mysteries of Life & Faith

  • Cassie @ There's A Pickle in My Life talks about the temptation to let others' choices distract us from our own families in her post, Running the Race

  • Maman A Droit compares the people who help her be a better parent to the people who helped her be a better cross-country runner years ago, in her post, Run Faster!


Lisa C said...

It's hard, but I think it's a place you get to by wanting to be there, and by, yes, loving people. For me, it's been important to listen to others explain why they make their choices and understand that they are valid choices for them, even if I would do it differently.

And, my sister told me the other day that she believes that children are born into the families that they need to be in. Their parents' strength AND weaknesses are all going to be good for them, somehow.

Pickle said...

Yeah maybe kids are just meant to be in the family the are born into. I think I believe that too. And that puts a whole new perspective on things. I'm better about thinking like this now, most stuff doesn't bother me now, it just is what it is. I like what you said that you like to see their view on things and your right, i need to do that. It's kinda just what works out for their family. And even though some don't consider it right, it turns that child into the person that they were supposed to be from that family. That's one of those things I could think a lot about. Maybe that's gonna be a blog post....

Kate Wicker @ Momopoly said...

"Love is the answer. Love is the only way I can rid myself of every burden and sin that clings to me and persevere in running the race that lies before me." Beautiful.

When I'm tempted to get self-righteous, I remind myself I should be focusing on doing right rather than being right. With God's grace, I pray my life will be a witness to others.

Once I had a friend ask me for discipline tips (I knew she knew nothing about AP and as a new mom she was just taking whatever advice she could to find her way, including punitive discipline strategies you read about in so much of mainstream media). I realized that what she had seen me do in the parenting trenches had caused her to ask about my discipline strategy. So I shared how I tried to not say no so much and allowed my kids time to explore and used cheesy but helpful phrases like "soft touch" when a toddler was reaching for something that wasn't a toy but shouldn't be off limits either. Then I told her about "time ins" rather than time-outs. She was so grateful for this advice. Yet, if I had corrected her or had given her unsolicited parenting tips, it would not have been nearly as powerful. This experience really helped me realize I needed to take St. Francis of Assisi's advice to heart and to preach the Gospel at all times [with my life] and to use words only when necessary.

Great post. God bless.

Pickle said...

Kate, thanks for commenting. I love your blog.
St Francis' quote is always one that my husband says. After writing this post... I have listened to a podcast (by an awesome priest in the Netherlands) who talked about evangelising by actions, read your comment reminding me about dear St Francis and hearing the homily at mass this weekend around the same topic. I think God's trying to tell me something.

Maman A Droit said...

I find myself doing this too. I just try to remind myself that no one, including me, is perfect, and that it's okay to have my son around imperfect people, since everyone falls into that category! That being said, I do think it's ok when your kids are a little older to limit their time spent with families that don't share your values. Or have those friends over to your house instead of letting your kid go over there. But I try to remind myself that even if someone is participating in behaviors I don't approve of, that person still has just as much value in God's eyes as I do!

Julie said...

I had not really thought what all those little judgements did to me, or the energy the took. I do try so hard, but I get so worked up, especially over things like CIO, that is just something I can't understand. I really do need to work on those judgements though, they really do get in the way!