What began as a simple recipe for parenting, quickly turned into a complex formula that the most talented chef couldn’t produce. First, I started with an innocent baby and mixed in attachment parenting. Next, I creamed in gentle discipline methods to create a peaceful child. Like a pro, I blended in natural medicine while avoiding vaccines, organic food free of preservatives, and I tossed the TV aside. Like a proficient pastry cook, I whipped up homeschooling with all of my other ingredients , planning all of my lessons like an expert. Add a huge helping of a large family free of any family planning, sure to make the perfect confection! Next, the guidelines suggested a dash of modesty (meaning skirts/dresses only for girls) pureed with courtship instead of dating. Lastly, I put it in the get-it-right oven and slow baked the duration of motherhood for a flawless family!
When my perfect family cake fell flat, I searched through the directions to see if I had left something out or skipped a step. No, I had missed nothing the experts claimed to add, but I took a step back and examined my creation. What I saw was not a pretty site. Instead of a seamless family, I observed messiness and a crispy fried mommy who was trying to generate the perfect method for the perfect family set on a shiny platter for all the world to see.
What happened? Why couldn’t I mix up a batch of excellent kids? What seems to have been a relatively easy task back when I was growing up now seems to need a 4 year culinary degree. Why is this so common among homeschooling families? Many of them become wrapped up in these other causes almost in a cult-like manner. We desire to make a difference in our child’s lives and thus in the world. We want to see a better change, and like what life used to be when families were healthy. But looking back at those families, there is not a whole lot of commonality other than mom is at home and more people were church goers. Moms didn’t homeschool, they just took their child to the doctor when sick, they didn’t evaluate everything they ate, they dressed their children in whatever they found at the store, they let them play outside for hours on end, but they were always present to their children in the background not on center stage running the show like a circus master taming wild beasts. They did things for themselves without their children and for themselves. Their identity was not wrapped up in their children and in the type of lifestyle they had. They didn’t have a lifestyle. They just lived life according to moral principles. And guess what? They loved their children, but they didn’t control everything for them.
We all want a better world for our children, and it is true that our world is declining morally in a fast way. All of these causes are good in and of themselves, but to think everything is a conspiracy theory makes us paranoid of some very good things. Most doctors have their patient’s health in mind, children can be educated in many ways and still love their families and turn out well. Kids with mainstream recreation interests can be wholesome. The main differences I see in those that follow the ways of the world are what Jesus said. You are in the world but not of the world. We can live in this world and enjoy certain things, but we aren’t of the world because we are living for something beyond this world—heaven and that does mean living in a different way than. God doesn’t give us too many details on how to do this. He tells us to follow His commandments, but He doesn’t give detailed lists on other things like dressing, eating, discipline, and schooling methods. We can become to legalistic in our thinking if we limit ourselves to these cause or think our bowl must contain them all. We can begin to believe that our cookbook is the only road to holiness and heaven. Thus, guilt creeps into to a mother’s mind if she doesn’t follow the plan.
If you are trying to cook the impossible recipe of motherhood, close the cookbook, take off the perfect mom chef hat, and look to the Master Cook. He will guide your family and create what is meant to be your family recipe. It may look different for all of us.