It's no secret that Jason and I are of the age where we should be considering having a family. Most of our friends have kids or are now starting to head down that road themselves. And to be honest, being a parent intimidates me a bit. Not because I don't think Jason and I could handle it, but because of all the other opinions from parents out there telling you what they KNOW to be best. Facebook is loaded with moms posting pictures of their kids and asking for advice on what type of diaper to use, whether to go organic or not, tips on which potty training process is best and on and on. And boy do other parents have no problem dishing out that advice. It seems a large percentage of parents believe their parenting method is the best method, and therefore all other parents should see things their way. But what if the advice is unwarranted or undesired? What if my own opinion is not respected for what it is, MY OWN OPINION. I'm afraid that once Jason and I head down this path (or I should say, when God LEADS us down this path) I will be inundated with parental advice of how I should handle things, because of course, why would I know any better? I'm not a parent yet.
I think what's important to remember for myself and everyone else is that everyone parents differently. And that is their right to do so. We all have our different opinions on life based on how we were raised and what values are important for us to pass down to our own kids and what we want our children to get out of the lessons we teach them.
A lot of this has been on my mind lately because a couple women in my small group are about to become first time moms themselves in just a couple months. It's the first time we'll have actual moms in our home group, whereas we've always had singles, dating couples and young marrieds. And I want to respect these new moms decisions in how they choose to raise their own kids, always being a listening ear, sensitive to their desires and an encouraging voice. I've genuinely tried to make a point of being that type of friend to other mom friends of mine for many years now, even when I haven't always agreed with their own method of parenting. Don't get me wrong, I'm still bound to have my own opinion, but I've genuinely tried not to press my own opinion on other's method of parenting. But let's be real, who's gonna genuinely care what my opinion is as a parentless individual anyway? Until I have my own, I pretty much don't get a vote.
Last night I had the opportunity to speak to an amazing mother who has adopted 3 children and then biologically had 3 children of her own. She was a joyous, strong and faith-filled woman. Her family intrigued me and I had a lot of questions for her. And even in hearing her perspective, there were things I thought to myself - "I wouldn't do it that way, at least not for my own family." And yet there were also a lot of awesome & inspiring things she shared as well. The Internet has opened up so much information, so many stories & so many lives through blogging, Facebook and other social medial avenues. I've gleaned so much fantastic information and yet at other times I've been deeply saddened by just how much is shared for the public to see & judge. As incredible as it is to lean on other women, lean on other families & glean knowledge as women - shouldn't some family lessons or personal struggles be somewhat private? I never want to uncover my own husband or my own kids in order to bring my own self healing or gratification. Trust me, over the last several months there have been times I've wanted to "process" on this blog about some personal struggles, but I don't feel it would be fair or right when it would lead to uncovering other loved ones for my own personal satisfaction. It's a fine line and one that I want to walk gracefully.
Rather than "encourage" us about our future and whether we should or shouldn't adopt, should or shouldn't have biological children, should or shouldn't have an inter-racial family and when of course this should all take place et.. please respect that I can have my own opinions too. ;-) Opinions that I'm holding before the Lord to shape & mold as He desires & sees as best for our own family.