Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Thoughts On Parenting

Before Eli, I had this vision of what I thought parenting looked like.  Of course this picture was influenced largely from what was modeled in my home growing up.  Thus, I thought parenting meant staying home with three small children birthed EXACTLY two years apart.  I thought parenting meant home cooked meals, family dinners around the table, perfectly dressed children, and a well groomed home.  I thought parenting meant driving a mini van, living on a strict schedule, and weekends spent playing with cousins close in age.

Then I woke up...ha!  I realized that being a working mom was in my future for various reasons that really have nothing to do with this post.  I realized that not only do I not want three children, I want my (two) spaced out very far apart.  I realized that home-cooked meals would be replaced by one dish creations, and family dinners would boil down to a wrestling match between me and a toddler.  I realized that driving a mini van was not for images' sake, but was necessary for sanity.  I realized that I hate schedules and that my kid (s) won't have any cousins close in age to play with for several years.  

I also realized that I wouldn't take to this mothering thing like a duck to water.  For starters, I had the baby blues which really tarnished the whole first year.  I also found sleepless night's unbearable and the new responsibility overwhelming to put it lightly.  My world, my marriage, my physical image and my general sanity were shaken to the core.  

How could this be?  I was the one who would babysit all summer long.  I was experienced with newborns and had so many cousins that I was certain they were good practice.  Plus, my mom was a natural...why wasn't I?

In the midst of all this self doubt a beautiful thing happened.  I realized that I needed to give myself a break.  Yeah my mom seemed confident in the role, but let's be honest.  She probably had her own season of growing pains and was proficient at "faking it" by the time I was old enough to realize what was going on.  

As for the whole giving myself a break thing, why doesn't anyone tell you to do what is best for you? I mean there are always debates about natural birth v. non natural births, co-sleeping v. non co-sleeping, scheduling v. no scheduling, crying it out v. soothing, baby wearing v. independent play.  The list goes on and on.  And why?

I should have known from the start that mothering would not be as envisioned.  I mean, my very pregnancy was a surprise. Then there was the c-section.  Let me just go on the record as saying, I'm a c-section delivering, formula feeding, non scheduling, co-sleeping Momma...and you know what?  It works for me.

Yet still, I feel the need to tell you that I had an emergency c-section.  Bottle fed because of a surgery that prevented me from producing milk, have a strict routine rather than a schedule, and co-sleep only after I'm been summoned around 3 am.  Why do I need to justify myself to you?  Because momma's are just like middle school girls all grown up.  We're clickish, harsh, and sometimes down right rude.

I hate that.  I wish we could be open and honest when we say that we haven't a clue what were doing.  I wish that we could agree that motherhood is the most blessed, terrifying, humbling and wonderful role we've ever played.  

Until that happens, I have decided to give myself a break. What works for Eli may not work for baby #2, and that's ok too.   I have had to step back and ask myself, "Will this have an eternal effect on my child's spiritual journey?"  And I find that more often than not, the answer is no.

No, it doesn't matter that Eli isn't on a strict schedule.  He can still love Jesus.

No it doesn't matter that we aren't potty training.  Eli can still love Jesus.

No it doesn't matter that I crawl into bed with him at some point every night.  He can still love Jesus.

God gave me this child to parent, and when I stand before him one day I won't be held accountable for breastfeeding.  He won't ask me how I fared in the napping department.  He won't ask me about potty training.  His sole concern will be the impact I had on my child's soul. 

It's for that very reason I have learned that parenting is about admitting you have no clue about most things.  For me, parenting has humbled me before the Lord unlike any other time in my live.

It has forced me realize that "in his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." For that reason, I am completely surrendered to His will, and His guidance in this journey of parenthood. (Proverbs 16:9)

Being a Mommy has taught me that in the midst of daily chaos and insecurity, my God is my strength and my ever present help in trouble.  Therefore whether I'm facing another sleepless night, an extra fiery temper-tantrum or the exhaustion of this demanding role, He is there ready to steady me. (Psalm 73:9)

Motherhood has brought me to my knees on more than one occasion seeking wisdom from a God who tells me that he will give it to me generously if I ask. (James 1:5)

This whole parenting thing may not look exactly as I envisioned, but that's the beauty of it.  Because in midst of the brokenness, the chaos, the insecurity, and the mommy wars, there is a God who promises to be all we need.

If I teach my children nothing else, I want it to be that.  My sweet child, God is all you need. 

3 comments:

  1. I love your realness! I can relate too feeling overwhelmed at times with sleepless nights & temper tantrums. Jesus keeps holding & sustaining us. Be encouraged today, Morgan!

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  2. I love this post! I will have to definitely keep all of this in mind when Addy makes her debut because I can get wrapped up in all of the "I am supposed to do this and that" kind of thinking. Thanks for sharing!

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