The Beauty of the Balance of Parenting

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus.

This weekend, our pastor kicked off a series about the beauty of balance (you can listen to it here if you’d like). He spoke of how Christ is balanced not by being mediocre, or lukewarm, but having strong feelings in both directions. When he loves, he loves fully, fiercely, and sacrificially. When he is angry, he is filled with righteous anger. Jesus was altogether human, and is fully God. He is full of grace, yet spoke only truth. Some might say He is a contradiction, but He simply embodies the beauty of balance.

As I listened to the metaphors of balance, it seemed even more apparent to me than usual that life is more about a balance of extremes than pulling ourselves into the middle, and letting go of what’s on either side – and especially better to have a balance than leaning on one side too heavily.

Even more than that, as it often happens with me nowadays, the pastor’s message spoke to me particularly through the lens of motherhood. It is important to have balance in every aspect of parenting children. You need lots of elements to raise well your tiny humans, and to emotionally and physically survive parenting. You need silliness and discipline. You need exercise (or at least getting out some energy) and rest. You need community and time to be alone. You need a balance of all these things. Parenting consists of small moments of a single feeling or a lesson learned, all of which are built up together to grow up your little people. Yes, there are moments where your children learn security from love and affection that you show them. There are moments where they will learn about integrity, because you went through with a consequence, even when you didn’t want to. There are joyous times for being silly and making faces, and growing imagination through pretending. There are hard conversations about right and wrong, and mistakes made and how to fix them.

But each of these things, on their own, don’t create and nurture a life. It takes all of them together, interspersed through the long days and short years of being a parent and loving a child. The beauty of balance in parenthood is what grows up our helpless babes into Jesus-loving men and women who can impact the world in a positive way. The seasons of sleepless nights (cue any “mombie” jokes you’ve ever heard), potty training (when it’s often easier to leave them in the diaper), driver’s ed (where you might be literally fearing for their lives) and college tuition (where you’re sacrificing your current comforts for their futures) all matter. The beauty is in the balance of your love for them, your willingness to make sacrifices for them, and your desire for them to be independent, well-meaning and compassionate people.

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