Did you hear about the empty nesters who did a photo shoot to commemorate their new stage of life, and it went viral? When we sent our second off to college four years ago, it just felt … quiet. Like new shoes I should want to wear, but they hurt too much. It took time to feel right. If people think we’re just “done” parenting when kids are “done” living at home, I’ve found that to be so far from true. Once you become a parent, you never stop parenting. I’m still learning and hoping and praying, so I’m also still reading. That’s why I was so challenged, helped, and refreshed when I started reading my friend Lori Wildenberg‘s new book Messy Parenting.
Now that we’re empty nesters, parenting is still Messy Parenting. We still ask questions, get stumped, make mistakes, say we’re sorry, wish we could have do-overs, and wonder what to do. Nothing in my life has been so wonderful and so hard as parenting.
From the very beginning of her new book, Lori describes a myth I’ve fallen into believing, especially as our children grew into young adulthood. The myth of independence. Since she’s raised four children of her own, Lori speaks from experience about what it takes to aim for the better outcome: interdependence.
Messy Parenting is about Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections.
How Messy Parenting Helps Families
In my work with children and families in the Pacific Northwest, we talk a lot about health connections and attachments. From the cradle to college, moms and dads wonder how to cultivate relationships with our children that lead to open, trusting, helpful interactions that last. No one wants to raise a child who will walk away and cut off the connection with family. One thing I love about how Lori writes is that she is profound and practical at the same time. She speaks in a way I can relate to, and it’s obvious she comes at this from the heart of an educator and mom. Lori also brings her strong faith into her writing, weaving in wisdom from the Bible that gives parents helpful truth to use in their homes. Even if the Bible isn’t already part of your home life, Lori shares scripture in a way we can all learn from.
- Would it help you to understand how to heal a relationship with a child?
- How to know the difference between correction and criticism?
- How do you create boundaries and know where rights and respect go side by side?
- Need help to create healthy sibling connections?
- Or insight into dealing with disagreements so they don’t become arguments?
- What about entitlement and what kids expect today?
- Is it possible to have conversations teens and a family that feels like a team?
When our parenting days consisted of blowouts and baby food and play dough and snacks in car seats, there was no doubt parenting was messy. I could clean that up. As children grow, so do the challenges of raising connected kids. But Lori is so right, we can love one another because God first loved us.
“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
How to Get Messy Parenting
We may be empty nesters, but we are still Messy Parenting, and I’m still learning, hoping, praying, and reading. Whatever your season, from toddlers to teens to grown kids, I would highly recommend Lori’s new book. I wish I could give it to the hundreds of parents of the kiddos in my programs. It’s a read to make your parenting and your home more of what your heart hopes for.
- You can get a copy of Messy Parenting from Amazon here or
- you can also get a copy of Messy Parenting from New Hope Publishers here.