Parenting is one of the best things you can ever do in your life. The rewards of parenting can be amazing and they can be pretty awful at times too. Parenting has been part of the best times of my life and they have also been part of the worst times of my life. Yes, Both the best and worst. If I were to offer you my very best advice for being a parent (and I give this advice often) then it would hands down be, "Keep on keeping on!"
These words were whispered so many times and they seemed to fit no matter what the situation was.
When I failed as a parent (which happened often) He reminded me to confess it to Him and my kids, ask their forgiveness, and then keep on keeping on because my kids needed to understand that parents aren't perfect and how to handle their own imperfectness.
When I had awesome happy moments as a parent then He told me to keep on keeping on with the things I did do right and to remember these moments when things weren't so right. This taught my children to not rest on their laurels but to keep on task as well as cherishing the good memories.
When I had moments as a parent that made me laugh then He again said, "Keep on Keeping on." because He loves laughter and he wanted me to look for more things to laugh about. Sometimes the things that made me cry became things to laugh about later. Laughter is good medicine and God knew I needed more of it. This showed my children that sometimes laughter can be the thing that helps gets you through and make bearable the bad times ...we laughed a lot after my oldest child got electrocuted (very hard times)
When I had moments that were so awful that I wondered if I should start drinking (it was usually a passing thought). Sometimes I was wondering "where did I go wrong," then he pushed me with, "Keep on keeping on because this time will pass and things will get better again." This showed my kids that we don't let the bad times keep us down, but instead we get back up and work some more till things get better.
When I had those moments when I wondered, "Why did I ever become a parent?" He quickly told me, "Keep on keeping on because He needs me to be a parent." He needs parents on the Earth who love and follow Him. He didn't expect perfection, but He did expect me to keep trying to do my best and to continue loving and following Him. This demonstrated to my children to keep trying even in the face of overwhelming moments of defeat and to remember why we do that.
When I had a moment of alone time, He called me to come and be alone with Him and to Keep on keeping on doing this. These were and still are times I cherish in my heart because despite my exhaustion and desire to be in bed asleep, I always received more rest, more wisdom, and more of everything I needed as a parent and person during these times. This taught my children the need of alone time with God because they sometimes snuck out of bed to see what was happening (I didn't know it). They tell me now how much it meant to them to see me be alone with God, and hear me praying about them when they knew I really wanted to be asleep instead. It also taught them how to take their own lives to God.
When I felt harassed by children who didn't give up sometimes and they continued to pester me on issues or rules (I often wondered did they know I wanted to give in?) then God assured me, "Keep on keeping on." He wanted me to show my children how to stand in the face of being unpopular. It also reminded them that our rules existed for a reason and that even parents have to go by rules, that without rules things will quickly become chaos and that is never good. It also demonstrated to my children that there are lines in life that we shouldn't cross because those lines keep us safe.
I could go on listing out the ways that this one simple piece of advice applies but I think you will find out for yourself just how much those words apply because parenting is not a contest or a race that you win by being fast or being hard, or even by being perfect...it is won by being consistent and not giving up no matter what. Don't give up on you and don't give up on them.
No matter where you are in this parenting thing just remember: Keep on Keeping On!
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