You will never hear me say that my daughter is my whole world nor will you hear me say that she is my everything. Because she isn’t. Now before you gasp, stop reading and immediately pronounce me the world’s worst mother, I challenge you to keep reading for a minute and just hear me out.
I always swore that I would never be THAT Mom that spammed Instagram and Facebook with my child’s photos of all of their “firsts”, yet here I am. If you follow me on Instagram (@mylifeintheblink) you know that I can’t resist the urge to share Quinn’s cute little ginger hair and dimpled smile. That being said, of all of my honest, yet sometimes sappy posts since Q was born, you will not see any that claim that she is “my world” or “my everything”.
That is because I believe in the power of words.
I want Quinn to grow up knowing that she is loved beyond measure, both by her earthly father and mother as well as by her Heavenly Father. My love for Quinn is hard to put into words and I hope that she sees and feels daily how loved she is. Every night I tell her “I love you all the way to Heaven and back and Jesus loves you even more!”
I truly believe that there is a difference between loving our children wholeheartedly versus making them the center of our worlds. I know that a day will come when Quinn will disappoint me and hurt me. She is imperfect, just like her Mama. But because our identity is not solely in that of parents, when that day comes, I trust that my husband Ryan and I will not crumble, nor will our marriage. There are sure to be hardships in parenting, just as there are hard days in marriage. But we believe in grace in our family. I want Q to know that our love for her doesn’t hinge on what she does or doesn’t do.
Ryan and I constantly pray that we would always remember that God comes first, then each other and THEN our children. Even as we regularly pray this, I am struck by how countercultural this mindset is. Society tells us that when we become parents, our needs come last and that we are lesser parents if we regularly take time for ourselves or our spouse. I would argue that the opposite is true. Parenting involves a dying to self more than I have ever experienced before; a selflessness and sacrifice that is quite humbling and often unnatural. However, I have learned that if I don’t build in time for self-care for myself and for my marriage, I am not the Mama or wife that I want to be nor am I the Mama or Wife that my family needs and deserves.
My ultimate fear is that my husband, Ryan, and I will become so wrapped up in raising our children that we forget who we were as a couple before we started our family. God willing, years from now, the day will come when our children will leave our home and create lives and hopefully families of their own. What will our marriage look like on that day? I pray that it will be stronger and deeper than it was the day that we made our first vows. I pray that we can look at each other and know that we chased after Jesus, loved each other well and therefore loved our kids well.
After reading this I hope you understand why I choose not to make Quinn my “everything.” In order to be the best mom that I can be I need to put my identity in Jesus and allow Him to be my compass for my marriage, as well as my parenting. I am confident that this is the best and only way to teach Quinn where to find her “everything”.