My rebellious non-trendy parenting style

Disclaimer: I typed this post a week ago and it’s been a debate in my head over whether or not to post it. I’ve been under this conviction for such a long time. This is MY conviction. Please understand that. I do not expect anyone else to follow in my footsteps. I just want to share. That’s all. 

This post is bound to be a little controversial. Older moms may think I’m crazy for having such extreme expectations, younger moms may be irritated or intimidated by this post. Some of my mom friends may even think I’m crazy. Well, this is just me. These are my thoughts today, as a late 20-something, with a young daughter, who just has the conviction that if I am not careful to be set apart from the standards of this world, there will be a high price to pay for me and my family. I do not have a “holier than thou” attitude. This is just me and my words, with all humbleness. 

During my adolescent years, I discovered that I don’t enjoy being like everyone else. I didn’t give in to trends. I have never in my life owned a pair of Birkenstocks. I only owned one shirt from Limited 2 and it was a hand me down from my best friend growing up. I never begged for a Tamagotchi.

{Some of you are like, what the heck is that? It’s a hand-held toy pet. I remember sitting at lunch in middle school surrounded by high-pitched dings reminding my friends that their electronic pet was hungry or wanted to go for a walk.}

Without intention, I did not get on the trendy bandwagon. I have parents who indirectly and discreetly taught me, by our buying habits, that I don’t have to have what everyone else has.

Of course, there were a few exceptions. I did own a red anorak from Gap. And I did have some Timberland boots and Wallabees (that I still own and wear…yes ma’am I do. The Wallabees that is, not the Timberlands!). I bought a pair of Chacos this summer and returned them. And I’m still in debate over getting my first pair of Toms.

When it came time to buy my prom dresses…oh my, what an incredible amount of time that took! I was absolutely opposed to wearing a different shade of what every other girl would have on.

And I was super picky about my wedding dress being timeless, not trendy.

It’s really a far stretch…but the way I feel about trends is the way I feel about parenting. I don’t have to parent like everyone else does. I have come to learn that that means I will have shallow friendships with many moms and deep ones with very few. What the world accepts as good parenting is WAY different from what the Lord accepts as good parenting.

Becoming a mother has made me realize even more that I just do not want to be like everyone else. It’s not easy to go against the grain, but when it comes to Lily it’s absolutely worth my attempts to be different.

Since before she was born, I have wanted to raise her in a way that she understands that the world does not revolve around her. I want her to be aware of the needs of other people. I pray for her to have compassion and the desire to serve others. I have no desire to have a worldly, materialistic, or popular “all about me” daughter. Like I said in my last post, I want her to be comfortable in her own skin. I pray daily that she will not be influenced by the world and her choices, even down to which dress she picks out for school, will be based on pleasing the Lord and just simply doing what she wants to do because it’s her decision, not a decision that the world or her friends made for her. I want her to have an intimate fellowship with her Savior so that when she thinks for herself and makes her own decisions, they are the fruit of her relationship with Him.

Here are some of the things I (we) do to foster godly character in our little girl:

She does not wear a two piece swim suit. Quite frankly, I’d be okay if she never wears one. And as long as I’m not allowing her to wear one, I won’t either. I mean, I’m just dying to show off my post-baby body, but I’ll show some self-control for her sake. JUST KIDDING! What kind of example would I be setting? Our beauty is found in our heart for Jesus. Not in our flat stomach, skinny thighs, and tan skin. The same rule applies for what I wear vs. what I allow her to wear. We will be modestly dressed, even now when she doesn’t even really understand the whole clothes issue. I wear very little, or no, makeup. Fortunately, I loathe wearing makeup. But, I want her to see that makeup complements our beauty, it is not a necessity for beauty.

I don’t say yes every time she asks for something, even if she says it nicely and ends with “please”. That may mean I leave the store with a mad child, but it’s good for us to deal with that. It teaches me patience and self-control and it teaches her that she can’t have something just because she asked for it. Guess what? Sometimes I beg God for things and He still says no.

I rarely buy her something just for the sake of it being cute and I know she would love it. I’ll surprise her every now and then. In fact, I love to surprise her! But, I don’t buy every Dora toy I see. I don’t want to wear out the surprise factor. I don’t want her to come to expect and demand material things from me.

Lord help me, I will not go overboard with her birthday parties. We will celebrate, yes. We will make her feel oh so special, because she is. But, I will not use every idea I pin on Pinterest.

I will not sit around on my phone all day long while she plays and I ignore her every attempt to get my attention. Yes, I do use social media on my phone. But, I carefully protect my one on one time with her. If it’s just the two of us (or even the three of us), my focus is on her and not my social life. Spending lots of time on social media shows her that my social life and promotion of myself (which is all that stuff really is anyway) is more important than quality time with her. I never want her to think that something trumps her…other than Jesus and her Daddy.

I don’t like her looking at People magazine (just an example) or anything on TV/radio that would promote worldly thinking or an “all about me” attitude. I’ll be honest, she loves the song Call Me Maybe and I hate that she knows it. It’s cute and all, but I don’t want her to hear the song so much that she learns the lyrics.

I don’t talk negatively about my physical appearance around her. If we go walking or running, I tell her it’s because God gave us our bodies and we take care of them by eating right and exercising. I never express to her that I’m “fat” and “need to lose some weight.”

When we say “no” we try to stick to it, no matter the battle we face as a result. Even if what she wants is really no big deal at all. The fact of the matter is, Mommy and Daddy said no, therefore it won’t happen. We do offer grace though :).

I know I sound like a complete snob. Or a mean parent. I promise I’m not. I’m not perfect. I don’t know how to do the whole God-centered parenting thing flawlessly. Who does? But, by golly, I’m going to diligently do my best according to the strength and wisdom from Him that is within me. I can’t protect her from the world. We live in it. Sin is everywhere. We are sinners. But, I can be very careful to set boundaries that foster a heart for Jesus and a desire for His approval and no care to meet the world’s standards.

Being intentional in parenting is not an option. It’s an obligation to my responsibility before God to raise the daughter He put in my hands. I love Lily with a love that I can’t comprehend. In that love, knowing that this world can never satisfy her, I want to offer her Jesus. Therefore, I have no desire for her to desire this world.

I know that not every mom does things this way. Even some Christian moms are less concerned about this stuff than I am. That doesn’t make you a “bad” Christian. You don’t answer to me and I am not the standard. And if you have a boy, the list may be completely different things. I don’t claim for my style of parenting to be what’s right. These are just the convictions I have and how they flesh themselves out in our family.

I also know that I can do everything “right” and Lily can turn out to be completely rebellious and resistant toward God. All I can do is pray against that, set the example for her, and honor the Lord in my parenting. God is sovereign over her life. I trust He will use my efforts to glorify Himself and bless my family how He chooses.

I was so blessed by Vicki Courtney at the dotMOM conference. She said what I imagine I would tell younger moms in 15 years. It was on narcissism and how we as moms can add to the problem of creating little me-monsters. Here’s my notes straight from my notebook:

Are we raising a little narcissist? Are we buying into the world’s definition of a good mom?

How to create a me-monster (aka what NOT to do):

1.  Make your child the center of your life.
We can make our kids a counterfeit god. We are putting our  kids where only God should be. Our children are not the center of our home. Christ is!

2.  Do whatever it takes to protect your child’s “fragile” self-esteem.
All you are doing is making them think they are better than everyone else.

3.  Rescue your child from the consequences of poor choices and life’s injustices.
We are teaching them that the rules don’t apply to them.

4.  Teach your child to put themselves before others.

One day our children will leave our homes. The time they have in our home is very short, compared to the long life they will hopefully have outside of our home. We can’t spend our child-rearing years of our marriage focusing on them 100% and neglected God and our husbands. The result will be a truly empty and lonely nest. We must be in the process of letting go little by little so that we as moms (and dads) still have an identity when they are gone.

To conclude this ridiculously long post…

Keep doing what you are doing, moms. If we are keeping in step with the Spirit, he will convict us where we are wrong and will encourage us where we are right. We have to take this whole parenting thing seriously. We are raising a generation of people who will one day be die-hard disciples of Christ, passive Christians, or rebellious enemies of God. Ultimately, God is sovereign over who they will become. But, it starts in our homes and we must daily be on our knees asking Him how He wants us to do this. Please Him, and have no regard for the foolish and fleeting standards of this world.

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