I remember when I had a newborn and I had those friends that were just a few steps ahead of me. You know the ones that I'm talking about. The ones that have kids close enough in age to your new one that they actually still remember things. I'm not that mom now. The last baby at my house was six and a half years ago and I have no idea what I did or didn't do, so don't listen to a bit of my advice!
At the time when Cayden was born I found myself asking them a million questions every day. Why isn't he sleeping when I want him to? Why does he only want to feed on one side? When can I move him to his real bed and get him out of my room? When does the spit up stop? When should I do tummy time?
I needed to know everything and I really needed to know if I was doing it right. I trusted these moms and their parenting and whatever they told me I took as the golden book of parenting.
Now fast forward six years later and we bring home a four and a half-year old from Haiti and I do the same thing I did when I brought my newborn home. I found those friends that had brought kids home close enough to Amos that they still remembered what it was like to have a big kid join your family. I asked them a million questions. What will he eat? Will he want to sleep in our room? What if he doesn't want to sleep in our room? What if he doesn't want to sleep with his brothers? What do I do when he hits me? What about time out's, they okay? What do we do to discipline him? Do we even discipline him now?
They were gracious to me over and over again. In fact just the other day, 2 years and 2 months later I texted a friend to ask a question about dealing with a child that comes from hard places. She is in my shoes doing this daily as well.
I find it so comforting that when moms get together a lot of times we ask questions because we want to know if we are doing it right, or what works for them. I always wanted to know what works for you and maybe it will work for me. With my first baby I was very frustrated when things worked for girlfriends that didn't work for me. I thought I was doing something wrong. I must have been. It worked for them and not me.
Four kids later I don't always feel that way. Of course I ask for advice from others. Of course I want to hear what others have to say, but I also want to do what's best for my family and for my kids.
Tonight at dinner a mom was talking about how her child isn't sleeping all through the night, and I found myself telling her what I did when I had a baby. How I nursed on both sides, changed the diaper in between and actually got up and sat in the living room with the tv on. I literally watched hours of infomercials!
I found myself telling her what worked for me as if it was the golden rule. It isn't and never was. It just worked for me. As I was feeling as though I could have sounded as if I knew it all, I told her that no matter what works for her, I've never heard of a 5-year-old waking up every 2 hours to feed, and so for sure she'll eventually sleep all night.
Basically I was trying to say to her …. my way was not the best way. It just worked for me. Do what works for you.
Moms do what works for you.
I remember reading Jen Hatmaker's book OUT OF THE SPIN CYCLE, which I highly recommend for all mothers, and her “ode to mothers” at the beginning of the book is hilarious and all so true. You will find yourself cracking up at things you have said or thought before! Hilarious. We're all in this together moms!
A (FAIRLY LAME) ODE TO MOTHERS
An ode to the marvelous woman called “Mother”
Though not one of us is exactly like another.
From the second we’re born to the minute we die
Our preferences are as limitless as stars in the sky.
We might have been perfectly gracious before
But childbirth entered us in the Mommy War.
Rather than letting everyone else be
We criticize parenting that isn’t exactly like . . . me.
So once and for all let me put this to rest
None of us owns the title of “best.”
Natural childbirth does not make you a hippy
Epidurals are not just for women who want to feel trippy.
In a bathtub with a doula or in a hospital bed
We all got a baby with limbs and a head.
Nursing is great if nothing goes wrong
But some nipples turn inward and refuse to play along.
This is a choice for each mom–it’s her route
So it’s just A + B and everyone else can C their way out.
Schedules and timers do not make you cruel
Feeding on demand does not make you a fool.
In the nursery with a monitor or in the family bed
Every chick gets to pick where her baby lays his head.
If I see one more mom roll her eyes at “organic . . .”
“Partially hydrogenated” throws some of us into panic.
But neither judge Sonic burgers and fries
Some of us just want to enjoy food before we die.
Preschool, home school, public, or Montessori
Listen, my friends, and I’ll tell you a story:
Two moms differed on favorite school trends
Their kids turned out pretty much the same. The end.
If a girl gets the title of “mom” accidentally
The worst thing we can do is treat her judgmentally.
How about some love, some help, some advice?
She needs our love and we shouldn’t think twice.
Discipline through various methods will prevail
Look, we’re all just trying to keep our kids out of jail.
These things are just preferences, not right or wrong
What matters more is teaching our kids to get along–
To love and to share, to speak gently and kind,
To obey so that mom won’t go out of her mind.
Showing them Jesus is our common ground
Teaching them how he can always be found.
He’s present in public school and Waldorf (so trendy)
He’s over at Whole Foods but also at Wendy’s.
Jesus never cared about these sorts of things
It’s our hearts that he wants and the worship we bring.
It’s time for us moms to declare a truce
Regardless if we buy Capri Sun or 100 percent juice.
My way is not your way, and your way isn’t mine
But both of our kids will turn out just fine.
Rather than judging and looking down our noses
Let’s enjoy the common ground motherhood poses.
As believers, we all love the same good Lord
We all have children who tell us “I’m bored.”
We all need more sleep than these tiny five hours
Most of us struggle to find time for a shower.
We haven’t been to the bathroom alone in an age
Our mothers have all told us, “Relax, this is just a stage.”
We all love our babies so much we could die
We’d take a bullet for each one without batting an eye.
Though we are different, we’re in the same tribe
Motherhood requires a similar vibe–
Love and affection, sacrifice and grace
Laughter, which keeps the whole mechanism in place.
Though different, by the grace of God, I suspect:
ALL our children will rise up and call us … collect.
She looks well to how things go in her household. … Her children rise up and call her blessed. Proverbs 31:27—28
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! I’m a single mom waiting to adopt and needed to hear/read this today! I have incredibly supportive family and friends but I know part of my adoption/motherhood journey will be figuring out what works for me (as a single mom) and my little one (who didn’t ask for this journey but will be on the roller coaster ride anyway!). The best advice I’ve received is “ask for help.” My friends and family have told me this – already! – and it sort of gave me permission to ask them when I need help. In my heart, I knew I would need to ask for help, but the independent single momma-to-be in my head hadn’t gotten there yet. Extra bonus – my closest friends will just inform me when I need help if I’m too stubborn/exhausted/overwhelmed to ask…they’re great like that 🙂