I sing Andrew a couple of hymns or primary songs each night before putting him to bed. I find that he goes to bed much easier--I firmly believe that babies are very sensitive to the spirit, and even though they don't understand what you're saying while reading the scriptures or singing, they can still feel a difference. Anywho, I always make sure to sing the primary song called "I Am a Child of God." The beginning part goes:
I am a child of God
and He has sent me here
has given me an earthly home
with parents kind and dear
and then it goes on. As I was singing this out loud I paused in the song for a couple of seconds and realized what I just sung. "With parents kind and dear." As children sing this, they are reminded that they are sent to parents kind and dear. Parents who love them and would do anything for them. Parents who are trying to raise them up in the gospel. Parents who beat themselves up over mistakes and wish they could redo the moment in the day where they lost their temper. Parents who are trying their best, and their best IS good enough! But we as parents often forget that Heavenly Father doesn't expect perfection out of us--He just wants us to try our best, and rely on Him for the rest of this beast we call parenthood. There have been a few times where I've had a hard day with Andrew, so I close my eyes and say a quick prayer, and I've heard a very quiet voice whisper to me, "You're a good mom." There are people in the world that may think I'm too young, that being at home isn't a worthy goal, that I'm wasting the prime of my life staying at home, and all of those voices are very loud. It isn't until I am quiet and really listen that I can hear the Holy Ghost with His quiet voice saying "You're a good mom." I genuinely believe He whispers this to every parent who is giving it their best, and often feeling like they come short.
I then had another realization after singing I am a Child of God. I can be doing my best to raise up a righteous family, but there may be one of my children that strays off the path for a little bit. This is something I thought about even before I was married, and it has always been a concern of mine. After realizing how deep the words are to "I Am a Child of God" my mind immediately thought of the beginning of the Book of Mormon when Nephi said "I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents...". I don't think it is a coincidence that this is the beginning of the Book of Mormon. Lehi and Sariah were wonderful parents who tried to lead their family in righteousness, yet they still had 2 rebellious sons. I think anyone who has been in this situation can look to them as an example of faith on the Lord, and still being at peace. I've been learning to realize that mistakes are ok to make and that kids learn from them, and most importantly I as a parent learn from them. We do our best to teach our kids what we know to be right and true, but men are free to choose for themselves. I don't know if one of my children will go wayward and that will be a huge trial for me, but I do know that as long as I try my best NOW to raise them in the gospel, that Heavenly Father will still look out for them. It is never too late to come back to the gospel. It was huge for me to realize that as long as I do my best and stay close to the spirit in parenting, that my kids still have their free agency, and that God doesn't give up on His children.
I'm grateful for my parents, my in-laws, my grandparents, my aunts, uncles, and brothers and sister-in-laws. All are wonderful examples to me of what a good parent looks like. All have made mistakes. All have had successes. All have tried their best, and it has been and will be good enough.
Always remember to stay close to the Lord and the spirit, and you will be blessed in parenting (all in the Lord's way and in His time).
And remember, no matter what the voices of the world say (sometimes that can even be you're own), "You're a good mom." "You're a good dad."