Why Easter Has Me Questioning My Parenting…Again
Easter – a holiday full of joy for millions and millions of people on this planet. Not only has the world been saved but families are gathering in celebration and the Easter Bunny has delivered some special treats. No exception in our house, but along with the special treats, the Easter Bunny brings this momma something else – a basket full of something that has me questioning my parenting. This is the one holiday that does it, every year. Easter always has me questioning my parenting, specifically whether one single decision is screwing up my kids for life.
My Hubby and I were both raised Catholic, we went to church every single Sunday as kids and we both hated it. Sure, I was the leader of our youth group and I went to a Jesuit college, but much of my relationship with my faith was habit and still to this day, a bit of a struggle. Enter my spouse, more of a non-believer, and my habit quickly dissolved and for the bulk of our relationship we haven’t gone to church. No, not even on Easter and Christmas.
As a first born in a Catholic family, I’m a people pleaser by nature; more often than not, that boils down to pleasing my parents. I know I have done in so many ways, but I also know the disappointment they’ve felt that none of their four kids are practicing Catholics and perhaps worse, not really practicing anything. It’s not that I don’t believe in a higher power of some sorts, I absolutely do, but I’m just not sure what it looks like. And at Easter that questioning of my faith lends to me questioning my parenting,
And this year is no different.
I’m sure part of the questioning is born from the inherent self-doubt that accompanies parenting. There’s that constant internal dialogue during which we weigh our decisions as parents, all of it culminating in a single question…
Am I screwing them up?
I question my parenting all of the time, but Easter really ramps it up. When I look back, there are so many lessons I learned by going to church every Sunday. I have a friend who during her divorce questioned the development of her ex’s morals because of fact he didn’t grow up going to church. By depriving my children of that experience, am I raising terrible little people because they don’t go to church?
It’s not just those lessons but the stories themselves are regularly referenced in modern day literature. I have another friend who didn’t grow up going to church and I remember her lamenting about not knowing stories referencing Adam and Eve or David and Goliath. Am I raising literary challenged little people because they don’t know all of the Bible stories their friends might?
And beyond the lessons in the parables, there’s that undeniable sense of peace I still experience on the rare occasions I do go to mass. The cerebral part of me questions so much of it, not just the stories: a man turning water into wine, walking on water, rising from the dead, but the greater rules as well: confessing my sins, no birth control, no divorce? So many of the rules and teachings just don’t resonate with me. Even so, there’s something I find comforting about just being in a Catholic church. By not taking my kids to church will they ever experience that invisible cloak of support?
Am I failing my kids by not giving them roots in religion?
It’s a question I constantly wrestle with especially when they make questionable decisions, when they do things that are embarrassing, or when they make me feel like I’ve failed. Is it my fault? It’s got to be my fault, it feels like my fault. Who else’s fault would it be? I question myself over and over and over.
Thankfully, I come back to the same answer….I don’t think I’m failing my kids. I’ve made a conscious effort to ensure I fill in those blanks. We’ve read all of the Bible stories so commonly referenced in literature; I’ve tried hard to make sure they know them. Those life lessons learned through those same Bible stories, I’ve tried to weave them into their every day lives. That belief in something bigger than themselves is something we talk about, regularly. In fact, #3 is a firm believer in reincarnation. And I love it. I love the fact that he’s listened, thought about it and this is where he’s landed. At least for now…
Who knows what the future holds. I’m sure a few more questionable decisions, things that are embarrassing, times I’ll feel like I’ve failed, but I do know one thing, I have good kids. Really good kids. So today, despite the fact I woke up questioning my parenting, I’m trusting this one decision isn’t screwing up my kids for life.