What the Parenting Books Don't Tell You


Before my girls were born, I prepared to be a parent. I fixed up the room we would be using for our baby. I got all the things we would need to have a child in our home from car seat to bottles to diapers. I read all the parenting books. By the time my girls were born, I thought I was well-prepared.

Except there's no book that can prepare you for everything that comes your way as a parent. There's no book that tells you how hard this parenting thing really is. There's no parenting book in the world that can give you the answers you're going to need on those really tough parenting days, the ones that leave you either pulling out your hair in frustration or fighting tears because your heart is breaking for your kids. There are just so many things those books can't tell you.

No book can prepare you for what it feels like to hold your baby in your arms for the first time.

No book can tell you that your heart will crack in two as you hold an almost teenager in your arms as she sobs her heart out because a friend's thoughtless actions have inflicted wounds on her heart that no momma's kiss can heal.

No book can describe the immense feeling of joy you'll have when your child conquers something he's been struggling with for a long time.

No book can cover every bit of wisdom you're going to need to see your kids through difficult moments in their relationships with their peers.

No book can explain the heart-stopping moment of terror you feel when you see your child headed for disaster, and there's not a thing you can do to stop it.

No book can count the number of times you're going to hit your knees to beg God to keep your child safe and happy and to help him make good decisions.

No book can prepare you for the disappointment you'll feel when your child chooses the wrong path, even though you taught her the right one.

No book in the world can adequately describe the mood swings of a 12-year-old girl.

No book can tell you the amount of anxiety you're going to feel the first time you send your child to sleep over at someone else's house. And that's nothing compared to the first time you hand her the car keys.

No book can describe how much you're going to miss those toddler years when that adorable baby turns into an eye-rolling teenager seeking her independence.

No book contains enough strategies to get you through those days when it seems your kids are pushing every single one of your buttons.

No book contains enough words to describe the love you feel for you kids, even on the days there's steam coming out of your ears or your heart is about to snap in two because of them.

And while there's no book that exists that can tell you everything you need to know about parenting, we do have a source of wisdom, hope and comfort that will get us through those tough days. Whether our hearts are breaking for our kids or we are struggling to hold onto our temper with them, God is always available to give us wisdom. We may not be able to adequately prepare ourselves for those parenting moments, but we can walk through them with the wisdom and grace that God give us when we ask.

So, though the parenting books can't give us everything we need to be a parent, God can.