****Congrats to Katherine on winning the books in this giveaway!!!***
This post is part of a series of guest posts answering the prompt: What the Baby Books Didn’t Tell You.
I cannot get over how much I love Jenni’s words today. There is SO much truth in them. And so much wisdom.
I hope they are as beautiful to you as they were to me when I read them.
When Jeanett first asked me to write this post I thought she was cray cray. ME? The girl who hasn’t blogged since…ahem December? And then I heard a small voice say, yes You. You have something to impart to other Moms. And then another voice began to argue with that voice. A back and forth discounting worth and wisdom. It’s a game I like to play. It’s called talk yourself out of anything that temps the boundaries of your comfort zone. I purposefully have yet to read the other contributions, because I knew I would lament about whether or not I measured up to these other Moms. Moms who I’ve journeyed with for years. Some knowingly some unknowingly. I’ve mourned with, prayed for, laughed til I cried, jumped with joy, all the while carrying them in my heart.
So as I pondered this concept Jeannett proposed, What The Baby Books Don’t Tell You, my first thought was oh no what in the world do I talk about…..I never read those books. You see, my husband and I were welcomed into parenthood by a beautiful baby boy as teenagers and unmarried. He 18 and I 20, were young and in love and barely able to manage a check book. Okay let’s be honest, we couldn’t do that, so why in the heck were we bringing another human being into this world? What I’ve learned over the last twelve years of mothering is His plan is greater no matter the decisions we make to muck it up. He is good, all the time, no matter what.
My story to Motherhood isn’t the one you see in said books, but it is no less an amazing journey of finding myself and seeing Jesus in the face of the two most amazing gifts I have been given. Like one’s journey to Christ, I think there is a great debate of whose story is grander. Is it the one of sin & redemption that leads to the foot of the cross or those who were raised to love Jesus as their self and never dipped a pinky in a life apart from Him…which is a better a story? Well they both are. My point in my muddled way of thinking is this. Whatever path brought you to this place of Motherhood is worthy. Oh so worthy. I want those ladies reading, that became Mommas as babies themselves, to know your story is worth telling.
For so many years I shrank back. Waited to be told how to Mother. At twenty I watched friends from afar loving their college days and experiencing the life I thought was in front of me. Knowing no other Mothers my age to confide in and do life with was hard. I’m sure those books never explained how teenage Moms were to find their place amongst the PTA crowd. So we, my boyfriend turned husband, dug into the word and learned to rely on the Father when we felt alone.
So I didn’t read the books. But I thought I’d share the major things that have stuck out to me during different seasons of motherhood.
Infant to Baby:
- Love them and give them your best and they will be just fine.
With not a thought to how we would care for a sweet new newborn and still pay the bills we had to forfeit the grand idea of me staying home. I was lucky enough to have my Mom watch Caleb for the first year as I returned to work. While I homeschool and stay home with them now, it wasn’t until they were 8 & 10 that I was first able to stay home. That being said let go of the comparison trap we put ourselves in and do what is best for your family. Breast feed or bottle feed, buy or make your baby food, use a pacifier or don’t, stay home or work whatever is best for you, pick that. I promise the thing they will remember is love.
- They are watching your every move, and I don’t mean following you to the potty. Every time you go. Okay I do mean that too.
Please tell me I’m not the only Mom that has this problem? Every single time I need to potty the world has come crashing down for one if not both of my children. In all seriousness, this was the age that I learned that the phrase ‘kids are like sponges’ is no joke. For what it’s worth this can be a blessing or a curse. I realized that what that meant was no amount of correction of their behavior in public would hide what happened inside my home. If I wanted my kids to love and know Jesus, then I had to make it a priority to love and know Him too. If I wanted my kids to prefer their friends and others, I had to make that a priority to instill that in my home. If I wanted them to respect authority and honor adults, again it started at home. I kind of miss this stage with it’s built in accountability to really watch what I say, how I react, etc. It’s a great stage, don’t miss it…what they say is true, it
totally zooms by.
Oh, and by the way, I have never heard of anyone saying they would have felt more loved or been more successful in life had they not had cereal for dinner…often, went to bed at 5…because Mommy needed you to, or watched Blues Clues for a few hours…daily. Just saying, no experience can back this opinion or anything.
Toddler to Elementary years:
- It’s okay to change your mind.
I got really hung up on making a decision and sticking to it. I thought if I made a rule and changed it my kids would see me as inconsistent. And somewhere in there I bought into the lie that being strict automatically bred obedient kids. I have a child (who shall remain nameless) who was willful as the day is long. And I mean that literally, willful all. day. long. My husband and I would butt heads constantly on how to shepherd this child’s heart. I finally (be it a work in progress to this day) submitted to my husband and started this crazy fad called pick your battles. Astonishingly enough the days I let her figure it out she would rise to the occasion and not only obey, but learn a lesson. Opps I said she, didn’t I?
- It’s okay to do some (okay most) of the things you said you wouldn’t do. Including, *gasp* the things your Mother told you.
The day I belted out an ultimatum that sounded just like my Momma to the kids is the day I truly had a break through. The kids thought I was the mayor of crazytown, stopping mid discipline to crumple into a mess of laughter and tears. It was too funny not to share that I called my Mom and apologized and thanked her in one conversation. My Mom pretty much raised her 5 younger siblings and then decided that was fun and raised eight kids of her own. Why in my infinite wisdom did I not see her as the wealth of knowledge as it applies to child rearing before? Because my favorite sin is pride, that’s why. I can tell you my story of Motherhood is in most ways completely different from my Mother, but just like the sprinkles of a cupcake make the cupcake it is the sprinkles of my Momma’s wisdom throughout my life that make me a darn good Mom.
Elementary to Preteen….this is what I’m learning, because I surely don’t have a Preteen. Unh uh, sure don’t. My kids aren’t allowed to grow anymore.
- Model the spouse you want them to have and be.
I know that seems like a crazy scary thought, but one of the things I’ve learned too is that the longer I take to instill something in my children the longer I let the world to get a hold of their heart. I want to model a loving relationship that imparts the things we value in one another and in our marriage. I never want to question that they will look for things of the world in their spouse because I was too selfish to fight for those things in my marriage. So in a lot of ways being a Mom has certainly made me a better wife.
- Let the Father be the parent you strive to emulate.
More times than not we have being faced with judgement about the choices we have made for our children: how we have chosen to raise them, discipline them, educate them, how we worship, etc. While there is certainly a place in the body of believers to offer wisdom and correction for the sake of spurring one another on in our walk, I have learned to weigh that with a healthy dose of discernment. That long winded remark simply stated is this, when you are challenged in parenthood and a shred of doubt lingers, pray. Not every well meaning comment is for you. Neither are the snide remarks under girded with misplaced scripture or theology. A very dear friend recently told me that God will honor your faith. Sometimes, we think we hear Him clear as day in a direction to parent our littles only to do an about face with a bruised ego & tear stained cheeks. He will not forsake you, He is good, all the time, no matter what. Trust that when you make a decision to parent your children under the authority of the Father it will not be an easy road, but it doesn’t make it any less worth it. I am very passionate about remembering that I get one shot at parenting my littles and I’m prepared to fall flat on my face time & time again if in the end they run fast into the embrace of Jesus and maneuver life’s curves with the cross as their compass.
With that, I want you to know I’m still muddling through. Learning as I go along, and no matter how hard the journey may seem every single moment is precious and every single moment is worth it. And as Rachel has reminded me time and again…You are a Mom, and you’re kind of a big deal.
And because you’re a big deal…and because Jenni is so SPOT ON when she says that our kids are watching us every. single. moment…let’s teach them to love others. Even people they will never meet. People they will never hear a “Thank You” from. But people created in His image just as you are.
(Oh Ryan. How we love you. Pic from here…and more. Go check it out.)
Let’s not forget our fundraiser to help build a well and provide clean drinking water for mothers miles away.
Don’t assume everyone else will do it.
Don’t put it off another week.
It takes but a minute. Honest engine.
Jenni would love to encourage you with two books that were precious words to her Momma heart. We pray they bring the same comfort to you.