Guest Post: All the Feelings of a Tender Parent

by Katherine Nielson
When I was growing up I tended toward pessimism, and although I wanted to be a mother I had low expectations for what it would be like. I think I was more aware of the hard work and heartache that parenting involves than most people who aren’t yet parents.

I was conscious of the deep love parents have for their children and that seeing one’s children progress would bring satisfaction, but that was the upper limit of my hopes for parental reward.

It has been a big surprise to me as a mother that I enjoy my children. I mostly delight in serving them, I think they’re neat little people, I adore many of their particular gifts and charms, and I prefer their company to nearly anyone else’s. Reflecting on this has made me wonder about Heavenly Father’s experience as a parent. I usually think about his positive emotions toward us in terms of perfect, Godly love; clearly he relates to our parenting sorrows. Perhaps there are more facets to his feelings for us. Does he enjoy parenting us? Does he adore the unique ways we express his gifts to us? Does he desire us to return to him not only for our own happiness but also for his? How much of our parenting experience can be extrapolated to Heavenly Father’s parenting experience?

Katherine is 29, Iowa-raised, and has a BS from BYU in family science. She has been married 5 years, has children ages 4 and 18 months and is currently living in northern CA. She really appreciates the gospel discussions in the Bloggernacle.

11 thoughts on “Guest Post: All the Feelings of a Tender Parent

  1. Katherine, for FHE on Monday night I read my eldest daughter the letter I wrote at her birth. That time more than nine years ago was a pivotal point in my life. I went from cynical know-it-all to humble, awe-struck parent in the space of a few hours. My love for my daughter is reflected in that letter, and she could clearly see how it had transformed me. The first thought that entered my mind was that Heavenly Father loves us even more than I love my daughter, and it sometimes seems impossible to believe that there is more love in the world than that.

  2. Katherine, I too was a little suprised at how often I love hanging out with my kids. Discovering that defintitely helped me broaden my perspective of Godly parental love.

  3. Katherine, you are so fortunate to realize that your children are a gift. I learned that late in life and made many mistakes. I did learn it in time to raise my last child with unconditional love and she has been a joy. Now I find that joy in all my kids, and especially my grandchildren.

    As I learned to love better (not necessarily more), I have opened myself up to the love of God. That has blessed my life. I think the answer to your questions is “yes.” This epiphany has helped me to be more myself.

  4. I have 3 kids. I adore them. Everything they do is so cute. I could watch them all day long. They are still young, though.
    As they get older, problems tend to become more complex. Your failures aren’t just being too tired to read a bedtime story. Your children’s failures aren’t as small as they used to be.
    Young children are so physically exhausting. Older children become more mentally exhausting. I’m sure I’ll enjoy my teenagers. But I won’t be able to fix their problems. And I’ll have to stand back and watch them fail.
    Being a parent is a little taste of what HF does. I can’t explain how much I learn about the gospel from parenting.
    Children come to us as babies for a reason. They need us. We have to give them everything for them to survive. And we love them for it.
    If kids popped out at age 17, would we adore them so much?
    When my kids are teenagers, I know I won’t hear “I love you, Mom” 15 times a day. I won’t get sloppy baby kisses. I won’t get to snuggle on the couch with them. I won’t get to be their whole world. I won’t get prevent them from being hurt or making dangerous choices.
    I remember when we were trying to decide when to have kids, thinking about the financial difficulties, and thinking, we are willing to sacrifice so much to have a kid that is going to hate us in 15 years.
    I plan to continue to enjoy my children, even as they change and our relationship changes. My children are 3 different ages and I really enjoy each of tehm
    Its been a hard road so far and I expect more challenges to come. I know I have more tears to shed for my children’s sakes, and more prayers begging for guidance. Because I know He loves tehm even more than I do, and He sees what I can’t see.

  5. I’m a little confused by seeing that Kristine got her comment edited. Between this and Kaimi’s short lived “Babes in Blogland post,” I may have to revise my theory that only us really evil people got our comments edited or deleted.

  6. Arturo Toscanini–

    If you will read the bracketed editor’s note, you will see that Kristine’s comment was deleted at her request. There wasn’t anything wrong with it from our point of view.

  7. The way it’s printed, there appears to me to be some ambiguity over which author (Katherine or Kristine) requested the deletion. But now that you’ve clarified it for me, I’ll have to retract my deduction. Apparently only us really evil people get our comments edited or deleted. (But then there’s still that “Babes in Blogland” post…)

  8. AT–

    It does say “comment writer,” not “post author”. I thought that would be sufficiently clear.

    As for your deduction, who says Kaimi isn’t really evil?

  9. Back to the post —

    I recall very strongly the feelings I experienced as a new parent, and how profoundly that new relationship between me and my daughter changed how I understood my relationships between my own parents, both earthly and heavenly.

    To answer the question, “How much of our parenting experience can be extrapolated to Heavenly Father’s parenting experience?” I think quite a lot. Being a parent is one of the great learning experiences that we can have in our time in mortality. It’s one of the best ways we can experience an element of the divine in our lives.

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