From My Draft Pile

Monday, September 14, 2009 8 Comments A+ a-

I found this in my draft pile, and decided now was good as time as any to share.

This subject has been heavy on my heart since, well, as long as I've been a mother really. It is a subject that is dear to my heart, and one that I feel needs to be addressed from time to time. It is a subject as old as time, and one that affects all of us as mothers, or even parents. Please hear my heart on this.

From the moment I saw two pink lines when I was pregnant with Devyn, I was inundated with parental/mothering advice. Do this, read this, don't do that, etc. etc. It was overwhelming to say the least. I read Baby Wise and Dr. Sears, I read 'What to Expect When You're Expecting' and The Sleep Whisperer, I listened to all sorts of unsolicited suggestions, and eventually started taking everything with a grain of salt. Everything was all well-intentioned, even if misguided at times.

We soon had a clear idea of how exactly we would parent, what we would and would not tolerate, a great base of what wonderful parents we would be. And then Devyn was born.

Our great plan flew out the window, and we found ourselves doing things we swore we'd never do.

I don't write much about my parenting style on here. I'm sure you get a good idea from pictures or stories I share, but there's a reason I'm hesitant to share my parenting style with you all. And here's the reason why. Our way is not the right way, nor is it the wrong way. It is just our way!

My only advice to new, expecting moms is summed up in one or two sentences. "Go with your gut! It won't steer you wrong." There are so many debates out there. Breast-feeding vs. bottle-feeding; working mom vs. stay-at-home-mom; cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers; feeding on a schedule vs. feeding on demand; co-sleeping vs. crib sleeping; Attachment Parenting vs. Baby Wise; to vaccinate or not. And it doesn't end when they're babies, the debates continue on to include spanking vs. time-outs; home-schooling vs. public schooling; TV vs. No TV rules; etc. It can become mind-numbing, not to mention feelings of inferiority or superiority.

Guess what? There is no right way; there is just your way.

You may make one decision regarding your child, only to find out that you're not at peace with it. It's ok to change your mind. You may love the idea of Attachment Parenting, but when it comes time to practice it, you just can't do it. It doesn't feel right. That's ok! Change your style. Picks pieces from this theory, pieces from that theory, mish-mash everything until you find something you're comfortable with. There is no golden rule to parenting, its every parent trying to do their best by their children.

Ladies, this is where my heart begs to be heard, we all struggle with raising these beautiful blessings God gave us. We question our decisions every day! We wonder if we're going to cause irreparable harm to our children in how we choose to parent them. This is hard work! But we have enough on our plate, without adding to another mother's portion. We have enough doubt in our abilities to parent, without having another question/judge our decisions too. Where is the grace for each other, when we've been given grace we don't deserve from a much higher authority?

I hope that I never come across as having all the answers, because I don't. I'm just doing the best that I can, with the tools I've been given, to raise loving, humble, Christ-following children.

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I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

8 comments

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7:56 AM delete

AMEN!! This is a subject I've been wanting to write about, too, but haven't. I totally agree. What we choose for our own families is right for us and not for everyone else! I struggle every day with whether or not I'm doing the right thing for my kids. Thanks for posting this.

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Dee
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8:54 AM delete

Super post...and so true. :)

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9:33 AM delete

I think this is a really important realization for all women to come to. Obviously there are some foundations that have been set by our faith, such as raising our children with the awarness of their need for Jesus, etc., but I totally agree with you. Being pregnant, I have received a TON of advice. Although I have appreciated the majority of it, unsolicited or not, some women in particular I have avoided telling that I am pregnant for this very reason. They believe their way is the only way of parenting and that they are the best parents in the world. And, I very much disagree with their style. I feel frustrated by those women who have found out and have taken it upon themselves to tell me in everyway how to be a mom. There is no grace in this, no understanding, no love. They simply feel the need to put on display a fake image of who they are as parents.

Well, I hope my rant did not offend anyone but it is something I have been reflecting on for some time.

It is nice to know that there are other woman who feel this way/understand me.

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CPT Mom
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4:20 PM delete

All I know is I knew a lot more before I had kids.
Since having children, I have discovered I don't actually know anything...

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Melody
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5:55 PM delete

*nods in agreement*

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Stacey
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6:49 PM delete

yes, yes, yes!!!!! you hit the nail on the head with this one, my dear!


I am sure I have a post about this topic someplace in the archives - I will look for it and send you the link!

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Christine
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9:54 PM delete

I also thought I knew all the answers only to discover how little I knew after Ellie was actually born. Great post!

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Sarah
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1:55 PM delete

Such great insight friend! The Word of God, that's our authority, nothing else. We ought to measure every "theory" against it as we seek out His best for us. And thank goodness for His grace and guidance as we bumble along the way! And thank goodness for TRUE friends, who love us enough to always see the best in us, and who also have the courage to challenge us and hold us accountable. I have a post brewing about schooling choices...when/if I find time that is:).

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