You’ve read all the books and attended all the classes, and at one point you felt as confident as you’d ever be heading into the exciting new chapter of parenthood. But now, you’re dealing with sleepless nights, dirty diapers, picky eaters, and sassy teenagers, and you've realized that nothing could’ve ever fully prepared you for this.
There’s increasing transparency and conversation around how parenting today is different and harder, which can help to settle our expectations. But it’s hard to overlook the parents that just seem to have it all together with their quiet, well-behaved kids in matching outfits. There are always going to be people that make it look easy.
What do you do when you feel inadequate as a parent and realize that parenthood isn’t at all what you expected?
What to do when parenthood isn’t what you expected
Parenthood may not be what you expected – and on a bad day it definitely doesn’t feel like all it’s cracked up to be – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t meaningful or valuable. Here are some words of wisdom for new parents:
What you’re doing matters
Your role as a parent holds a significant place in your child’s journey. Parenthood is often a thankless job, but you are providing love, guidance, and values that will shape your child’s character. Just like Jesus taught us to care for one another (John 13:34), you’re demonstrating love and care by nurturing your child.
You’re not always going to feel happy
Even though it looks like everyone else is living a perfect life, the truth is every parent faces challenges and moments of doubt. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, tired, or even frustrated – in fact, it’s almost a guarantee you will at some point. There’s no better time to pray and call on God for strength in the tough times. After all, he’s “always ready to help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Prayer for new parents can be an invaluable tool!
As you navigate the twists and turns of parenthood, don’t neglect the importance of connecting with other parents. Sharing your experiences, swapping stories, and learning from each other can help you feel less isolated and more confident as a parent and remind you that you’re not alone on the journey.
At LCBC, we have all kinds of Groups where you can connect with others and grow in your faith. Take a look at our Group Finder and find your community today!
Keep your marriage a priority
Amid the demands of raising children and striving to be a great parent, your marriage can take a backseat. It’s important to maintain the connection and love between you and your spouse – after all, you’re depending on each other to raise your family!
Prioritizing each other doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be as simple as planning date nights, sitting down to have a conversation, or finding little ways to show appreciation for one another.
However, there’s no shame in talking to a professional. Marriage counseling gets a bad rap, but it can be a great way to break through some of the tricky obstacles and barriers of parenthood and come out stronger as parents and as husband and wife. Take a look at our Christian Marriage Counseling Resources or let us know if you need help finding a marriage counselor!
Parenthood won’t always be what you expect it to be, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a beautiful journey. Whether you're reveling in the highs or facing the challenges of parenthood, embrace this chapter with the knowledge that your efforts, faith, and determination are building a legacy.
If you’re looking for more inspiration and encouragement for parenting, we’ve got you! Check out these resources:
Should You Make Your Kids Go to Church?
5 Tips for Praying With and For Your Kids
Bible Reading Plan: Patience & Parenting
Or find a Group and connect with other parents!
LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you!