Advice From the Person Least Likely to Be a Mom

 

I’ve never been a kid person. When Michael and I first got married (and for many years after that) I would walk by the baby isle at Wal-Mart and inwardly cringe at all of the baby stuff. I didn’t hate babies, I just had no idea what I would do with one of my own. Kids were something for later… waaaaay later.

And then something happened and now I was living in “later.” It was time to think about having a baby. When we talked about having children, we always jumped ahead in our thinking to when they would be cool. Like when they were 9 or 10 years old. When they would be able to read and play guitar and have a conversation. We didn’t really focus on what it would be like to have an infant– largely because we had absolutely no idea.

For instance, did you know that new moms can become slightly irrational about their little ones? I do not usually consider myself to be the irrational type, but within 12 hours of bringing J home, I became obsessed with the temperature in his room. He was born on July 1, but I was convinced we were keeping it too cold in the house. I bought two thermometers for his room because I needed to know at all times what the temperature and humidity level was. I needed two so that I could make sure they were accurate.

I didn’t realize how much this child would change me. I knew he would change a lot of things about my life– sleeping, to name a big one– but I didn’t realize how much he would change me. I didn’t know how much I would miss him while he spent an afternoon at Grammy’s. I didn’t know how much I would love making him giggle hysterically by yelling “Boo!” at him. I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be to listen to him cry in his crib. I had no idea how much my heart would leap when he placed his hands on either side of my face, looked me straight in the eyes, and leaned in super fast for a kiss (which turned into more of a head butt.)

I had no idea about anything baby-related and I didn’t really try to fix that. I read a few books when I was pregnant about how to swaddle a baby and help him sleep through the night, but that was it. In my mind, there was a good reason for not reading tons of books about becoming a parent. I didn’t want to obsess over every decision I made. I didn’t want to read books that would contradict each other and leave me frustrated and confused. I didn’t want to read about all the things I should be doing and create more and more metrics to judge myself by. I’ve been down that road before and it never ends up where I think it will. It took a really long time, but I’ve mostly embraced the idea of grace. The idea that I am going to make mistakes but there is grace for me.

I didn’t dive into all the books that I might have read. Instead, I turned to a few dear friends who probably did read all those books and I said, “Help me please!” I have learned a ton from them and I am grateful for their patience with me. I know they think I’m a bit strange with all my [basic] questions, but I would rather ask someone I love (and who loves me!) what they tried and how it worked, than try and sort through what books are going to be helpful and what books are going to make me hate myself.

So, this next part is going to be pretty ironic. Because I am now going to share two parenting books with you that I have read, and really loved. I am not against books. I love books! I’m just trying to be more discerning about what I read and whose advice I take. These two books are ones that have really stuck with me and I find myself thinking about throughout the day. Especially in those “melt-down” moments.

::

Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic- I’d heard several friends reference this book and had read some things that Rachel wrote on her blog, so I thought I would give it a shot. Plus, it was only $6 on the Kindle so I figured I could risk it. This is a short, incredibly funny, and encouraging book for moms with young children. Rachel has 5 kids that are all little and she has somehow managed to keep her sanity. This is probably a book I will read several times a year for a while.

“This is not a tender reminiscence from someone who had children so long ago that she only remembers the sweet parts. I do not have a foggy, precious perspective on mothering little ones. My children do not sit on monogrammed picnic blankets in coordinated outfits while I bring them nutritious snacks on a silver tray. You are more likely to find me putting an end to them pulling each other around at breakneck speeds on a tablecloth tied to a jump rope, or seriously counseling someone who has part of a toilet paper tube taped to their nose.”

Give them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson- The authors do a fantastic job of showing us how to bring the Gospel into our parenting. What I think about the Gospel is the most important thing about me. So to have a book that demonstrates how the Gospel dispenses grace into every aspect of parenting is incredibly refreshing. There’s good theology in this book, but there are also good, practical discussions on how to raise your children to love, adore, and be captured by the Gospel.

“Every way we try to make our kids “good” is simply an extension of Old Testament Law– a set of standards that is not only unable to save our children, but also powerless to change them. No, rules are not the answer. What they need is GRACE. We must tell our kids of the grace-giving God who freely adopts rebels and transforms them into loving sons and daughters. If this is not the message your children hear, if you are just telling them to “be good,” then the gospel needs to transform your parenting too.”

::

Pin It!

Friday Roundup 1.20.12

{I had this post all ready to go for Friday, but between busyness and a stomach bug overtaking our house, I am just now posting it. So just ignore all the references to Friday!}

Happy Friday! I hope you are hanging in there this week! I’ve been holding on to the following links for a while, so I hope you enjoy them.

 

Confidence with Time from Ungrind. Sarah writes about the tendency we have to be fueled by our insecurities. So much about this article resonated with me, including her encouragement to set our hearts on things above.

“I sat down on the couch and confessed that I too lived in a false reality driven by insecurities when I was her age. Even in my thirties, I still have to fight those insecurities now. All too often I replay things I said in conversation, over-analyzing and torturing myself. There are some days where I pick and prod at my body, comparing and critiquing to no productive end. Though I wish I could completely put to rest my personal insecurities, I’m glad to say that these torturous thought processes have faded.”

Grace for the Good Girl from A Deeper Story. I cannot wait to read this book! Emily Freeman writes about her journey from a Good Girl who didn’t really have a “deep, dark story” to her understanding that we all need grace.

“I thought I had to be whole, to be right, to hold myself together in order to be loved. I never thought that for you. Your story of loss, heartbreak, scandal and homelessness may have intimidated me, but I knew it was okay for you to have them. But not me. If my story sounded like your story, I would not be okay. And I spent a lot of life making sure my story never sounded like your story.”

Don’t Carpe Diem from Momastery. Glennon is halirious– I don’t drink coffee when I read her blog anymore because I will spit it out all over my keyboard. I really loved this post from her- I’ve struggled with the idea that I should love every, single moment of baby raising. And I just don’t. I love my child more than I ever thought possible, but he’s not going to have a baby book to cherish when he’s all grown up. And it’s my fault. I struggle with feeling like I’m not doing this whole parenting thing right, but then I remind myself that success in parenting isn’t about baby books or making handmade clothing.

“Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy every second, etc, etc, etc. I know that this message is right and good. But as 2011 closes, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn’t work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life – while I’m raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I’m not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I’m doing something wrong.”

So there you go– some things to get you thinking. Have a great, restful weekend, friends!

Should’ve Known Better

I should’ve seen this one coming. I was busy taking photos and, since it’s impossible for me to think about what my crazy toddler might do next while also trying to nail focus, white balance, and compose something vaguely interesting, I was not paying attention.

He’s so cute, though, don’t you think? A little boy playing in a flower pot full of dirt (and dead flowers.)

I bet you can see what’s coming. You probably have a clue as to what little boys do best.

As I watched it roll off the porch, I didn’t even try to catch it. I was holding my camera, so I was much better suited to take a picture. Maybe Michael can fix it?

We don’t call him “Jeremiah the Destroyer” for nothing. And he lives up to this moniker every single day.

Pin It!