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Parenting After Deconstruction

Welcome to Grace and Space, a weekly newsletter from the Deconstructing Mamas Podcast! GRACE for who you have been, are now and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be!

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Parenting is a journey laden with profound responsibilities, and for many, faith has traditionally played a central role in shaping the values and principles passed down to the next generation.

However, as we undergo the transformative process of deconstructing our faith, it gets super tricky. We are faced with a unique set of challenges and opportunities in redefining our approach to parenting. First, there's the whole Uncertainty Factor. Deconstructing our faith involves a courageous exploration of long-held beliefs, a critical examination of religious teachings, and a willingness to confront all the uncertainties that arise. We often find ourselves grappling with the challenge of navigating the intricacies of morality and purpose without the comfort of a predefined religious framework. It's one reason why it's so dang hard.

Second, there's a huge impact on Family Dynamics.

The effects of deconstructing our faith are palpable within the family unit. Spouses may find themselves reevaluating shared values, while children may witness a shift in the moral foundation that has long guided their family. Tensions may arise as differing perspectives emerge, challenging the status quo. This can be really rough, but this period of change also offers an opportunity for open communication, fostering an environment where diverse beliefs are acknowledged and respected.

The other huge piece is grandparents who still hold to belief systems and/or (we've seen it more recently), the grandparents are changing and their own children are still tied into a faith system that is toxic and harmful.

Don't underestimate the complicated feelings and nuances surrounding all of this. Family can be the hardest space of all while doing this thing we can "deconstruction."

Third, there's the constant Redefining Moral Guidance.

Traditionally, religious teachings provided a clear roadmap for moral development, emphasizing virtues, commandments, and divine consequences (yikes). In the absence of such a framework, parents who have deconstructed their faith often feel like they are not sure where to turn. What do we do now? is a huge question. It's actually one of the biggest reasons we have the podcast. The movement away from a perfectly planned trip from A to Z when it comes to (using an old prickly adage from the Bible) "training up a child in the way he should go" to a more nuanced approach that allows for compassionate curiosity, critical thinking and the ability to sit in the "I don't know" is probably one of the hardest and yet most healing path we've both taken so far. The scary "slippery slope that leads to destruction" actually becomes the "waterslide that leads to life." We both hold on to that idea for dear life. We hope you can too. Lastly, we are taking a beautiful Journey Toward Authenticity (something Lizz would die on a hill for). Deconstructing faith often propels us parents on a personal journey toward authenticity and self-discovery. Freed from the constraints of religious dogma, we have a wide-open lane to embrace a more fluid and individualistic approach to our beliefs, encouraging our kids (no matter what age and stage) to explore and question rather than conform. And how about this? This emphasis on authenticity can foster an environment where our kids feel empowered to express their own thoughts and beliefs, fostering a sense of autonomy and the permission to be completely and fully themselves right along side of us. There's nothing better than that!


This Week on the Podcast:

“You aren't going to mess up your kids' theology." (Sarah Swartzendruber) The brilliant Sarah Swartzendruber is our guest this week on the podcast. Sarah is a mama, pastor, kid's faith curriculum creator (Zippee) and cohort leader for Parenting After Deconstruction.

Most of the parents who reach out to her know what they don't want to teach their kids, but they have no idea what they do want for their families. Sarah's passion is helping parents ind deconstruction create healthy spiritual practices for their kids that answer the question, "What now? How can we do this well?"

On this episode, we unpack the "tricky tightrope" of sorting through our own faith and spirituality while trying to raise our kids and Sarah works to empower us with the freedom to reimagine what parenting our kids with a healthy spirituality might look like. We also chat about where to start when it comes to what we pass along to our kids and you might be surprised, not surprised. We answer these three questions: 1. We said it in our intro, your quote, “You aren’t going to mess up your kids’ theology.” But what if we feel like we will and we are?

2. How do we unwind our own fears from how we interact with our children and their faith journey?

3. What are some ways that we can meet our kids in their curiosity about God, heaven, Jesus, etc. 

Sarah is brilliant, imaginative and funny, while at the same time, a kick-butt theologian who will help you to feel like you've got what it takes to walk this "tricky tightrope" in confidence and clarity, but mostly in compassion and curiosity. Don't miss out! You can find the Sarah in these spaces: Instagram: @parentingafterdeconstruction



Latest News:

Join our private PATREON group. For as little as $3/month, you will get lots of extras from Lizz and Esther, including deeper discussions about topics on the podcast, first dibs on knowing about future exciting projects and perhaps some special deals exclusive to those projects and our NEW QUARTERLY ZOOM DISCUSSION GROUP where we dive lots deeper into the things we need to sort out with parenting and deconstructing.

We love our podcast!

We love our guests!

We love our amazing assistant, Julie!

We love helping you walk the tricky tightrope of parenting and deconstructing at the same time!

We do NOT love asking for help (or money) in order to keep it going!

But we also don't love feeling alone in this!

Head to this LINK to join us! You won't regret it! And plus, the reality is that you will help us keep the lights on over here at Deconstructing Mamas. We really really want to! Thank you in advance!


Resource Alerts:

Deconstructing your faith beliefs can be isolating and lonely. Often, this is an individualized process that occurs differently from your partner, family, or friends. Trying to figure out how to parent during this shift can feel nearly impossible. With your newfound theology, how can you talk to your kids about the story of Adam and Eve while navigating the sexist undertones of Genesis 2? How do you take current events and put them into age-appropriate context for your child? How can you reconcile with your own trauma or spiritual abuse while finding positive ways to incorporate spiritual practices with your child?

In this class we will:

*Examine Kathy Escobar's model of deconstruction and locate where you are in your own journey

*Talk about theories around brain development and age-appropriate conversations for kids

*Develop a discussion-based cohort to support you in this transition and direct you to other resources that are available as a reminder you're not alone on this journey

The Spring Cohort launches Thursday, March 28th 2024 on Zoom from 7:30 PST.

Class dates:

  • March 28

  • April 4

  • April 18

  • April 25

Please note: there will be no class on April 11th

Cost: $99 or what you can afford based on a sliding pay-scale (contact me for more information).

This class will be discussion-based. Please download and print the pdf for the class and make sure that you have solid internet connections so that you can participate in the discussion as we find it an important part of the class. After the class, you will have access to a private Facebook group to continue conversations from your cohort.


Look what we have for you!!  We've spent the last few months gathering our favorite kids' books and putting them all in one place for you!! Adult books coming soon! CLICK RIGHT HERE!


Can't wait until Tuesday and need just a little snippet from our podcast episode that's coming up on Tuesday, March 12.


One last thing. We want to remind you that we are so glad you are here. We wouldn't be the same without you. You will always find GRACE for where you've been and who you are now, and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be.

Carry on, our new-found friends. Welcome to the twisty-windy, full -of-adventure faith path that's laid out before us all. Love,

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