Category: Relationships

It’s been an idyllic summertime experience. It has brought me joy and even made me love my children more, to see them running and laughing and enjoying the simplicity of childhood. When I see the viral posts saying how we need to “give our kids a 1970′s summer” again, I just shake my head. Regardless of the decade, everything we need for a perfect summer is within us.

In a book I was recently reading, the author referenced a Facebook post that was going around a few years ago. In it, Facebook users were prompted to share a list of (somewhat random) things about themselves. Things their closest online friends might not know about them, but maybe should.

The author used it as an opportunity to pull back the facade on her life and be vulnerable with experiences from her past, feelings in her present, and fears of her future that most people didn’t realize about her. It resonated with all who read it, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

It occurred to me that I could make a list for my children. 15 Things I Want My Kids to Know About Me.

“You’re not doing what God wants you to do!”

I froze on the bathroom rug. I put down the toothbrush and took a deep breath. My thoughts immediately tackled the question head on, “AM I doing what God wants me to do in this moment? Would he want me to yell at my son and hold him down while I scrape tiny bristles over his teeth?”

Many of us dream of this, longing for someone to come into our lives who will adore us, wanting to be with no one else, spending each of their waking (and sleeping) hours with us alone.

And then it happens. That person arrives, showering us with love and kisses. It’s magical. It’s bliss. We can’t imagine anything better.

Until we can.

This column is aptly titled “Parenting Perspectives” not just because of the catchy alliteration, but because the many writers who contribute each week share their personal attitudes and points of view on parenting.

This got me to pondering: how do I regard parenting?

Challenging. Incredible. Frustrating. Heart-bursting. Head-bursting. Hard. Simple. Complicated. Basic. Surprising. New and exciting. Mind-numbingly mundane.

But mostly, parenting is constant and overwhelming.

A big part of my work is helping women to discover their God-given purpose. In one sense, we all have the same purpose in this life: to love. But how does that look in your life specifically? How are you meant to live that love in action? Start here.

This should be big and little things. Plan a big vacation; whether it’s every year or every two years, depending on how big it is and what your schedule or budget allows. This can be so fun to look forward to and plan all the pieces that go with it. There’s something to be said for spontaneity, but by planning ahead, you get the high both during the trip and when you come back, of course, but ALSO beforehand when you’re planning it, through the anticipation and excitement.

It’s something to look forward to then, because when you’re getting stuck in the drudgery of “oh my gosh, nothing changes, it’s the same, we never get out,” you have that something to look forward to – “Okay, just one more week…just a couple more days…just a few more HOURS…any MINUTE NOW he’ll be home and we can leave!”

It’s a long-standing joke that before you have kids, you know it all.  You will be the “perfect” parent.  You hold ridiculously high standards that you figure any self-respecting adult should be able to meet, such as always finding matching shoes for your toddler, and cleaning the tomato sauce from their faces before taking family pictures. Then you have a child, and you realize, “If I don’t lighten up a little bit, neither of us is going to get out of this alive.” I am Mama to two young sons, ages 4 and 2, and we are expecting our third child in April.  (And before you ask, is it a boy or a girl?  Yes.  Yes it is.) Even after being at this for over four years, there are still many things that I tell myself I will “always” or “never” do as a parent.  Always serve them healthy meals and snacks.  Never spank or physically punish my children.  Always show them love, support, and understanding.  Never lose my temper and yell to break my child’s will.  These are my ideals, and I hold them up before myself each new day as my goal. Some days are better than others.  Some things I let up on (don’t tell Daddy about that mac-n-cheese for lunch).  Others require a daily reminder of my important goals and to keep my patience. It can be so frustrating when you see all the other parents out there, not just on Facebook and the blogs, but at church, daycare, and in real life, being the perfect parent you wish you could be.  The kids are always polite and would never dare refuse to wear mittens when it’s -19 degrees.  The mom and dad only have to ask once, calmly, with a smile even, and the chitlins are picking up their toys, ready to wash hands and set the table for family dinner. It’s easy to roll our eyes and have a little giggle about how this idyllic scenario is so far-fetched, we’ll just stick with keeping little Johnny off the shed roof this week and Suzy, I have told you for the eighth time, STOP YELLING AT YOUR SISTER! We all have an idea in our minds of how our perfect family and discipline tactics would play out.  Sometimes we see this in other families we admire, wishing we could be more like them.  Sadly, we just think it’s out of our realm and that we must resign ourselves to a lower standard than we would like. I believe I have found a better way.  I think of it as my “pretend parenting” option.  When I find myself wishing things could be different somehow, I start pretending like they are.  Instead of just behaving with a knee-jerk reaction, I take on the role of the ideal mom I want to be.  How would the mommy in the Smith family handle this crisis?  I’ll pretend I’m her! The beauty of the pretend parenting approach is that the kids suspect nothing.  From their 3-foot vantage point, I really AM an ideal parent.  They experience the situation exactly as if it’s the real thing, never knowing that my calm reaction to their tantrum is really a scripted role. The bigger benefit is that after pretending to be a good parent for long enough, it becomes reality.  The “role” and the real thing start to blend together, and in small progressive steps, I no longer have to contemplate what my super-parent alter ego would do; it just comes naturally. As they say, fake it ‘til you make it. This column was originally featured in The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

How much would YOU pay to work with me? I have a special birthday gift for you that can help you uncover your dreams, even if you thought it wasn’t available to you.

You might have noticed a slight wind change around my neck of the woods. Here at Nicole Welle central, hub of truth, goodness, and beauty {plus authentic living, purpose, endless laundry, and red wine}, I’ve been plugging along, doing my thing. Or at least, what I thought was my thing.

A change is gonna come… oh, nevermind, it’s here.