I have been thinking lately. I know, that is always dangerous when I start a blog like that. Either what I am about to say will be really awesome and amazing, or it will be rambly, babbly, and not make a whole lot of sense. Judging by the fact my awful congestion kept me up most the night, and I have yet to finish my coffee this morning, I am betting it will be the latter. I have that picture in my kitchen by the way. HEH. It is a vintage tin sign hanging over our bar. HAHA
I believe that after three children, this last one whom has colic (which seems to be getting better, some rough days, but thankfully not as bad as it used to be!) I have come to a profound conclusion.
Parenting books do nothing but make you worry, feel anxious, feel like a failure or a bad mom, and make you think your baby should be doing what the book says, since you are, after all, following what the book says and the books claims with almost self righteous certainty:
“If you do these 100 simple steps, your baby will be the happiest baby on the block, street, in fact, the whole neighborhood! They will sleep through the night a solid 12 hours by the time they are one month old. They will never cry. They will talk by 4 months and read by 6 months… and they will never ever disobey!”
I don’t know about you, but I am beginning to believe alot of what is in parenting books is a crock of mumbo jumbo that someone happened to score big on and they are sitting in their 10,000 square foot mansions sipping expensive tea, eating expensive imported crumpets, twirling their mustache while laughing at pulling off the biggest hoax in history.
You see. Babies are NOT robots.
Sure, there may be some good crumbs of information in parenting books, but for the most part parenting books do NOT take into account how the baby is wired. It does not take into account that all babies are different, they have different temperaments, different needs, different sizes, different strengths and weakness… Most of the time they forget to take into account that…
Babies are HUMAN.
Babies are not jello that we can fit into any mold we want. Oh that flower shape looks nice, come on baby, I don’t care if you are in the shape of a butterfly, I like this flower better, come on now, PUUUUUUSH, come on, PLEASE?!
Babies are not jello, but as moms our days should be (well and if I am honest, my stomach looks a bit like jello too, and not even name brand jello, more like the off brand)
What do I mean by that mamma’s? Our babies need a little “wiggle room”. We need to have some wiggle room in what we expect from them. We need to have a little wiggle room in our “schedule” (That word is in quotations, because I have learned that schedules are overrated. Have some structure and a ROUTINE, but sometimes schedules only make us more anxious). Do we eat, breath, pee, poop, sleep or talk at the SAME. EXACT. TIME. every day?
Then why do we expect our babies too? Why do books suggest that if you follow their rules for “infant management program” (Yes this is a REAL term, on the back of babywise. Kinda makes me puke in my mouth a little, to be honest) that our baby will eat, breath, sleep and poop at the same time every day and we will be happy and worry free!
Simon has taught me so much. Simon has taught me that the NUMBER. ONE. reason the baby phase is hard for me (see previous blog, I am not a baby person) is that my expectations are unrealistic. Am I perfect? No. I still get worked up too easily sometimes, but by the grace of God, I am getting better.
All of us are made in God’s image, but we are ALL made unique. If, as adults, we all handle things differently, do things differently, enjoy different things, are good/bad at different things, than what makes us think babies are any different?
God loves them. He sent his only son to die for them. They need a Savior. That Savior is Jesus. He loves them SOOOOOO much. He has amazing plans for their life. He made them special, and He loves them (in the words of Daniel Tiger) “just the way they are.”
So, this is why I think many of us mothers, especially control freaks prone to anxiety and worry, like myself, would be better off taking our parenting books and having a big bonfire in the backyard. Invite the neighbors. Roast hot dogs and marshmellows. Make some smores and all talk about how you plan to raise godly children for the Lord, NOT how many hours they sleep, how many words they say, how they walked at 7 months, blah blah blah. Why?
None of that matters.
The ONLY thing that matters is their hearts. THEIR HEARTS. We want to mold and grow hearts for the Lord. That is the ONLY “jello mold” that we need to worry about fitting our children into. Regardless of if they can talk in full paragraphs at a year, walk at 10 months, sleep through the night by 2 months… none of that matters. Their eternity matters. If they love the Lord and serve him matters. If they love like Jesus and serve those around them matters.
And all the information on how to do that can be found in ONE book. Can you guess which one?
I am not saying that you cannot find helpful information in books sometimes. I have some Christian books that help me understand what the Bible is teaching, so that I can better realize the importance of growing them in Christ… I am saying we need to be careful. We need to be careful not to get so focused on what they are doing RIGHT. NOW. that we forget what the ultimate goal is. I am saying we need to be careful that we don’t let the fact our babies cannot be squeezed into a mold or do what such and such book says by the time it says they should be able to do it control us and make us so earthly focused that we forget who GAVE us these children. That we forget WHOSE children they really are. We get so wrapped up and frustrated over things too often. We want control, when we forget we are not in control. We get mad when we can’t control rather than focus on the one who IS in control.
Our children are from the Lord. They are HIS handiwork. Our primary goal as parents should not be getting our children to be the best at such and such, or the earliest to do such and such. It should be to:
Make disciples for Christ.