My baby is officially sleeping through the night, in his own bed, in his own room. This sleeping through the night milestone came with a whole lot of work. As I think back over the last year, I’m kind of amazed that I survived. But that’s the thing about moms, when things get tough, we just get stronger.
It feels like the last six months of parenting have been some of the toughest I’ve experienced so far. Of course, I could probably think that for most periods of this parenthood journey and I’m sure there are much harder days ahead. There are always new obstacles and challenges, new experiences and things to learn.
It’s so hard to know if you’re doing any of it “right”. It’s easy to blame yourself when things don’t go the way you plan. It’s probably easier to blame your husband, or your kid’s teacher, or even your kid when you stumble into difficult times.
I think I might be starting to see that assigning blame and fault usually isn’t a necessary step in finding a solution. We don’t always have to figure out what went wrong in order to make things right. Sometimes it’s best to stop looking backwards and just step forward.
Sure, I think it’s valid to think about our circumstances and reflect on opportunities for improvement. But I think that so often we get stuck in the worry and the struggle to do everything perfectly. We are constantly looking backwards at our failures instead of looking into the eyes of our present.
We all have days when we know that we’ve blown it. It is important to remember that there are 365 individual days in each year of our children’s lives. One bad day can certainly be overcome tomorrow, or even the next day.
You can stop stressing about all that you have done wrong with your kids. Because the only way to make any of it right, is by letting go of the worry and moving forward, today.
Instead of worrying about what you could have done to prevent your child from getting sick, what if you just kissed her sweaty forehead, hugged her a little tighter, and sent up a prayer to the Healer for help?
When your kids don’t seem to be responding to the latest “discipline solution” that you are trying, remember that the fact that you are trying so hard is a perfect sign of good parenting.
Sometimes we look around and it seems that all of our friend’s children are developing at a faster rate, sleeping better, eating better, behaving better, or any other “better” that we can compare in our children’s lives. Could we stop comparing and just start enjoying? Should it matter to me that your kid sleeps through the night at 3 months old? Might it be better for everyone if I just found a way to enjoy my child more, for who he is, what he does, and his own unique differences.
Our kids are a gift. We all know this. I think so often we stress ourselves out so much in trying to make sure that we don’t mess them up. I’m just wondering what might happen if we stop stressing out about it so much.
I think it might look like a few more walks to the park. Maybe some extra hugs at bedtime. Probably an extra dessert or two and definitely more laughter.
If I stop worrying about how to discipline my daughter and just stop to read her a book or play a new game with her, I might just find that discipline isn’t quite necessary as often as I think.
Sometimes we worry about how to teach our kids about God. We make sure that they pray before each meal, learn all of their Bibles stories, and are the first to be able to recite their memory verses at church each week. All fine things. But what if we considered that they might learn more by seeing us serve in our communities, by watching us pray with our friends, by hearing us speak verses of encouragement in our phone conversations?
I can’t think of a better way to be a great parent than to be present, in the good times, in the bad times, the moment after you’ve messed up times, and the times when you just want to give up. Be present. Forget about measuring up, getting it right, or keeping up with the neighbors. Just look your child in the eyes and know that God made you this child’s mother because you are the perfect and best candidate for the job. No one could possibly do better. The Creator of the Universe agrees.