You Don’t Need Parent Groups–You Only Need to Parent Yourself

Parent groups can be great.  They give you a chance to take a break from the day-in-day-out of parenting non-stop, socialize with other parents, learn from those who have been-there-done-that, do something creative, expand your mind, relax, and get back in touch with who you are as an individual person and not just a parent.  But I have noticed something about those who cling to parent groups (e.g., “I need (name of parent group here)!”).  Many of the people who are do-or-diehards about parent groups are people who are using the group as a mindless filler instead of a stepping stone to get to the next level in personal development.  Instead of merely trying to escape our roles and responsibilities as they relate to parenthood in general (and motherhood in particular), we need to dig deep and look inward (well, upward) to find the strength we need to not just “get through” each day but to do a better and better job the longer we do this job and to truly enjoy this beautiful season of childbearing and childrearing.  The goal is not to fake our happiness and effectiveness until we can get to our “needed” parent group (and, then, until we don’t have little kids anymore).  The goal, instead, is to learn how to actually be happy and how to actually be good at this thing called parenthood (and motherhood, specifically) so that we really and truly don’t need anything except our God as we journey this crazy tough road.  Yes, we need other people in life, we need friends, we need a support system, we need mentors, we need an evening away, and we need to be able to do something different every now and then.  But there is no replacement for parenting yourself.  Resist running away from your troubles in parenting.  Face them, fight them, and conquer them.  As you recognize things in you that are stumbling blocks to betterness (yes, these are bitterness blocks!), take them on one by one, seeking to dismantle them and their power over you.  If you find that your parent group only seeks to nurse the negative (how many people in a parent group love to talk about how bad they’ve had it?), consider splitting off from it so that you can invest those two hours back into your family where your time and attention will be well spent.

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